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Procedură : 2017/2126(INI)
Stadiile documentului în şedinţă
Stadii ale documentului : A8-0328/2017

Texte depuse :

A8-0328/2017

Dezbateri :

PV 15/11/2017 - 20
CRE 15/11/2017 - 20

Voturi :

PV 16/11/2017 - 7.8
Explicaţii privind voturile

Texte adoptate :

P8_TA(2017)0449

Dezbateri
Miercuri, 15 noiembrie 2017 - Strasbourg Ediţie revizuită

20. Activitățile Ombudsmanului European în 2016 (dezbatere)
Înregistrare video a intervenţiilor
PV
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  El presidente. – El punto siguiente en el orden del día es el debate sobre el informe de Marlene Mizzi, en nombre de la Comisión de Peticiones, sobre el Informe anual relativo a las actividades del Defensor del Pueblo Europeo en 2016 (2017/2126(INI)).

Aprovecho para dar la bienvenida a la señora Emily O'Reilly, defensora del pueblo europea.

 
  
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  Marlene Mizzi, rapporteur. – Mr President, the importance of the role of the European Ombudsman in protecting citizens’ rights and strengthening citizens’ confidence and public trust in the European institutions cannot be emphasised enough. This is the only mechanism that holds the EU administration to account and investigates cases on behalf of our citizens. The European Ombudsman is the guardian of good administration, ensuring that the EU institutions function properly and do not encroach upon citizens’ rights.

In this regard, I would like to congratulate the Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, for her excellent work in improving the quality and accessibility of the Ombudsman’s services and for increasing the visibility and impact of the work of the European Ombudsman. Ms O’Reilly, has accomplished a lot since her election by this House as European Ombudsman, back in 2013. The quality of the Ombudsman’s Annual Report has been improved. Now the report is clearer and easy to read. Public administrations need to become more citizen-friendly, and I think that you have achieved this milestone with your Annual Report.

You have also improved the role of the Ombudsman’s strategic inquiries and initiatives by pursuing, on your own initiative, important topics in the public interest of the European citizens, such as the transparency of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. New working methods were introduced and case handling procedures were streamlined. This enables greater flexibility and efficiency of the Ombudsman services, aimed at deepening the dialogue between people and institutions. You have also maintained excellent cooperation and a positive engagement with the European Parliament and in particular with the Committee on Petitions.

And last, but certainly not least, you have made the Ombudsman services more visible. According to the Flash Eurobarometer survey of March 2016, 9 out of 10 EU citizens are familiar with their status as European citizens and their right to complain to the Ombudsman. I would also like to thank the shadow rapporteurs for their valuable input during all stages of preparing this report: our cooperation was very fruitful and I did my best to accommodate most of their contributions.

I think we all share the view that in such turbulent times, when the European Union is facing unprecedented challenges – such as the unemployment crisis, the migration crisis, Brexit – the role of the Ombudsman in bridging the gap between people and the EU institutions is crucial. Unfortunately, transparency, openness, access to information and documents, respect for the rights of citizens, and high ethical standards are still the top citizens’ concerns in the cases investigated by the European Ombudsman. The level of quality of our institutions needs to be reflected in the level of support from European citizens. Trust between citizens and the institutions is of paramount importance. We need to work on that if we are to get a mandate from our citizens to do what needs to be done to protect European citizens and Europe.

Achieving the highest possible level of transparency and access to documents must be the rule. Whenever there are any exceptions to this rule, they should always be weighed against the principles of democracy. I would just like to point out that 100% transparency will probably never be possible in the light of certain legal considerations. However, my report strives to have the highest possible level of transparency and access to documents, in particular when it comes to the EU’s economic and financial decision-making process, trade or trilogue negotiations, and even on the ongoing negotiations between the EU and the UK.

The report also notes maladministration with regard to the Code of Conduct of Commissioners. When it comes to ‘revolving door’ phenomenon of conflicts of interest, it is clear that the highest moral and ethical standards need to apply to all EU institutions. We need to secure respect, and this can only be done through absolute integrity and full independence from the private sector. We want to see a revision of the Code of Conduct of Commissioners. In view of this, it is also time to comply with the Ombudsman’s suggestions for improving the EU Transparency Register by making it a mandatory central transparency hub for all EU institutions and agencies.

In view of the emphasis on good governance, I also want to support the Award for Good Administration, which acknowledges best practices in the EU administration and which brings them to the attention of our citizens. Finally, I would like to say that I am very satisfied with the report of the Ombudsman and I wish her the best in her future work.

 
  
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  Emily O’Reilly, Ombudsman. – Mr President, I would like to thank Ms Mizzi and all the shadow rapporteurs for their work on this report and to thank them once again for their strong support, which I greatly value.

This is my fourth time of addressing the honourable Members in plenary. We draw inspiration, honourable Members, from your work as you reflect the concerns of the citizens that you represent and it is my role also to try to deal with similar concerns of citizens. I also very much welcome the presence again of First Vice—President Timmermans to this debate and I thank him for his support for my work.

As you know, a majority of the complaints that we receive are directed at the Commission, given its role and its high level of interaction with citizens. The Commission continues to engage positively with my office and, while no relationship is ever perfect, we both do our best to deal with challenging issues.

This report, however, shows that increasing attention is being paid by my office to the Council. Rising public awareness of its role and greater demands for transparency have prompted this additional scrutiny and perhaps in future years Parliament might consider inviting a Council representative also to attend this very valuable annual hearing.

Today’s draft report expresses support for my strategic inquiry into the transparency of the Council’s working parties and Coreper committees and a positive outcome would help, I hope, to dispel the perception that EU institutions are not transparent and therefore not sufficiently accountable.

Citizens are not always aware that the Council is not just a so—called ‘Brussels institution’. As the French President Macron said recently, ‘Brussels is us’ and greater Council transparency will, I believe, lessen the temptation to blame Brussels for decisions taken by Member State Ministers and Governments as citizens will see precisely where responsibility lies.

I fully appreciate how hard it can be to get consensus or a majority vote on some matters, but when Parliament and the Commission are clear on where they stand, it can be frustrating to citizens when the failure of the Council to reach a common approach, or even take a vote, means that some proposals remain stalled, sometimes indefinitely.

It is, for example, now over a year since the Commission made its proposal for an improved Transparency Register and Parliament agreed its negotiation mandate earlier this year. However, the Council is now delayed in agreeing its mandate to enter talks. I very much welcome the efforts of the Estonian Presidency to unblock the impasse and I very much hope that agreement can be reached before the elections in 2019.

Transparency in itself, of course, cannot deal with every Union problem, but it can throw light not just on the respective responsibilities of the EU institutions, but also dispel some of the false facts and fake news that increasingly impact on the way in which the EU is mediated, and I note and welcome First Vice—President Timmermans’ announcement this week of a public consultation on this matter.

Fake news is ultimately about influencing, with a view to undermining, the democratic process. Lobbying transparency can help to reassure citizens that when it comes to the influencing of the EU institutions, measures are in place to help to mitigate its more negative impacts.

Other transparency work by my office in 2016 included an exchange with Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem, encouraging moves to open up the work of that very important group. Obviously, as the Eurogroup is not officially an EU institution, my mandate is limited, but I did welcome the President’s initiative in attempting to further the transparency of its decision-making.

Many citizens were concerned about what they perceived as the lack of accountability of the troika and similar concerns are at times expressed about the Eurogroup and indeed about the Council. Greater accountability through transparency is an obvious way to help to rectify this citizen alienation.

I continue to raise awareness among my colleagues in the European Network of Ombudsmen about important EU issues. Last June, I hosted our annual Network Conference in Brussels at which we discussed open government, populism in Europe and, of course, Brexit. I wish to thank First Vice—President Timmermans for his keynote speech. It meant a lot to colleagues from all of your Member States to be able to have that direct engagement and I have rarely heard such lively post—seminar conversation. I would also like to thank Ms Cecilia Wikström and other MEPs for their support for these events and their much appreciated contributions to them.

This report today also recognises the work of my office in several other areas. These include the transparency of the Brexit talks, continued work with the ECB and the EIB, an ongoing inquiry vis—à-vis the Commissioners’ Code of Conduct, improvements to which the Commission has already proposed, a new Ombudsman’s guide for EU officials on dealing with lobbyists, our work on the EU whistle—blowing rules to protect EU staff, an inquiry into the Commission EU pilot programme for infringement, the ongoing work with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the European Citizens’ Initiative, which the Commission is now revising.

Let me also briefly mention some routine cases dealt with in 2016. There was a complaint from the Polish Research Institute, which undertook three EU co—financed projects. The Institute turned to us after the Commission decided to recover some costs related to the subcontracting of the work. However, following our inquiry and a document inspection, the Commission agreed to waive the recovery of around EUR 86 000.

A Spanish citizen complained about the lack of translation of Commission public consultations. The Commission agreed that public consultations relating to their work programme priorities will in future be in all EU languages. Another case in 2015 was when the European Chemicals Agency agreed to our proposal to require those seeking to register chemicals to show that they have tried to avoid animal testing. These are just three of the over 1 800 complaints we dealt with in 2016.

We have also been revising our internal working procedures and working methods. I wish to thank both the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Budgetary Control for recognition of this work. We will soon be launching a fast-track procedure for dealing with access to document complaints so that we can get answers for citizens within weeks instead of months or even, in some cases unfortunately, years.

Next year we plan to request a moderate budget increase to hire extra multilingual staff. This is due to the fact that we are experiencing a sizable increase in complaints this year. We believe we have implemented large efficiency reforms internally and now need that extra capacity to really improve again our service to citizens.

Finally, I wish to note again the high standards of the EU civil service. Indeed to recognise that work and to share best practice across the institutions, we launched in 2016 the Ombudsman Award for Good Administration, receiving over 90 nominations. The award ceremony was particularly memorable and I was struck by the great pride of the officials in their work and their joy in having it recognised at a time when so much of what they do is either unseen or criticised.

Thank you again to the rapporteur Ms Mizzi, the shadow rapporteurs, their staff and the secretariats for all the work on this year’s report, which I and my staff greatly appreciate. Thank you to the Members of Parliament who, through their active engagement with the office, helped make our positive work more effective.

 
  
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  Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission. – Mr President, first of all, I would like to thank Marlene Mizzi for a really excellent report which helps us improve the service we provide to our citizens. It also gives me the opportunity to join Marlene Mizzi in expressing my admiration for the work done by Ms O’Reilly as our ombudsman and the progress she has made with her office in 2016. She has helped us to prevent, identify and solve instances of maladministration by the EU institutions, and every citizen has a right to good administration. It is indeed a fact that the Commission is one of the main addressees of the Ombudsman’s inquiries and that we comply with her recommendations or suggestions whenever possible. Sometimes we disagree and explain why, but such cases remain limited. The overall compliance rate is very high at 82%.

Both the ombudsman and the report call for greater transparency. I am in full agreement on this. The EU institutions must meet the high transparency standards that citizens rightly expect. We live in a different society. We are no longer in a ‘trust me’ society. We are in a ‘show me’ society, and our citizens ask us to explain what we do in full transparency on a daily basis.

As you know, this Commission decided to apply the highest transparency standards upon itself. A key principle is that lobbyists can only meet Commissioners, their staff and Directors-General if they are in the Transparency Register. No registration means no meeting. But we need to go further. The register must become mandatory for lobbyists. This can only happen if that same principle is applied across the board in all three institutions – the Commission, Parliament and the Council. For example, a lobbyist who is not in the register should not be able to meet a Member of the European Parliament. Only then would registration become truly a sine qua non for lobbying the institutions. So I call on both the Council and this Parliament to commit to the same standards in the forthcoming interinstitutional agreement following the Commission’s proposal of September 2016.

As Ms O’Reilly has explained, we are still waiting for the Council to adopt its mandate, and it really is high time for us to be able to start negotiating about this. It would really be a shame if we did not finish this before the next European elections.

The report also touches upon access to documents and publication of information. Each year we proactively make public tens of thousands of new documents on our web pages, but we plan to go further, for example, by publishing an overview of each Commissioner’s mission expenses every two months.

I also fully agree that transparency in trade negotiations is essential to ensure public trust in the EU’s trade policy. This Commission took major steps right from the very beginning of its mandate. President Juncker announced, in the 2017 State of the Union speech, that the Commission would publish all its recommendations for negotiating directives for trade agreements. He added that the European Parliament, as well as national and regional parliaments, would be kept fully informed from day one of the negotiations.

Finally, let me stress that the Commission is making sure it abides by the highest standards of ethics and integrity, including by updating them when necessary. The draft new code of conduct increases transparency and sets higher standards for Commissioners, including on post-mandate activities. It incorporates several suggestions made by the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman. Without her, we would not have been able to reach where we are now.

Let me conclude by saying very clearly that this work is never finished. We will always have to improve our standards, improve the way we perform and apply the most forward-looking standards in the quality of administration we deliver for our citizens, and an integral part of that is a maximum level of transparency and accountability. I really want to thank Ms O’Reilly for helping us to reach that level.

 
  
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  Jarosław Wałęsa, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, first of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms O’Reilly for her efforts and for the fact that she and her staff are constantly good to cooperate with, but also for the excellent quality of her work. I would also like to thank the rapporteur for her work: she managed to prepare a very balanced, well-structured report that tackles all the areas of the important work carried out by the European Ombudsman.

I have been closely monitoring the activities of the European Ombudsman from the very beginning, and I greatly appreciated Ms O’Reilly’s work last year. I say to her: you managed to make the post more visible, and your communication strategies, your ideas have contributed to making this office more citizen—friendly, and I really thank you for that. You have proved to be a very efficient Ombudsman, which I also appreciate. You undertake many important initiatives which tackle the current policies of the European Union.

This annual report on the activities of the European Ombudsman serves not only as a summary and approval of the work of the European Ombudsman in a given year, but it is also a reminder to us and to all the European institutions to be more service-minded, to be more open-minded regarding our citizens. It is very important to encourage the European Commission in its efforts to facilitate access to documents and information, especially with regard to EU pilot procedures.

It is very important to provide as much transparency and communication to our citizens as possible, especially because many myths have been created, particularly regarding trade negotiations. However, we have to keep in mind that this transparency should never undermine the negotiating position of the European Union – there is a balance there. Ms O’Reilly, once again, thank you very much for your work, and good luck.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8))

 
  
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  Maria Grapini (S&D), Întrebare adresată conform procedurii „cartonaşului albastru”. – Stimate coleg, sunt total de acord cu ce ați spus dumneavoastră, însă aș vrea să vă întreb legat de ultima parte a discursului dumneavoastră: credeți că prea multe reguli - și mă refer acum la propunerea făcută de domnul comisar - legate de posibilitatea întâlnirii eurodeputaților cu cetățenii, cu asociațiile profesionale nu creează un obstacol în comunicare? În fond, ne întâlnim să discutăm și să ne informăm. Eu văd aceasta ca o îngrădire a comunicării între noi, cei aleși - nu e vorba de comisarii numiți, vorbesc de eurodeputați și de cetățeni și asociații profesionale.

 
  
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  Jarosław Wałęsa (PPE), blue-card answer. – You tackled a very important point, but I think Mr Timmermans said it best: this work will never end. We will try something at one point, if it works then will to try to improve it further. But if it does not work, then we will have to change to something else.

In our committee, the Committee on Petitions of this House, we are the closest to the people of European Union. As such, we are the best advocate to see how best to improve communication between us, the institutions of European Union and European citizens. So, yes, this is an ongoing process, and I believe that only together we can make it better.

 
  
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  Jeppe Kofod, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, first of all, I too would like to thank the Ombudsman Ms O’Reilly for her excellent work, and also our rapporteur in Parliament and First Vice—President Timmermans for his very important remarks on transparency. Let me just stick to that topic – transparency – because I think we live at a time when many citizens feel very alienated with regard to institutions, to politics, to governance. I think one of the most important issues here for regaining trust, including in our institutions and our democracy, is actually access to information – transparency, accountability – and therefore the work that the European Ombudsman is doing in this field is so important.

I am looking at the Council side now and I have to say that the Council and many of its working groups are keeping us in the dark. Many of us have had concrete experiences of this, for example the Code of Conduct Group for business taxation. They are supposed to phase out cross—border harmful corporate tax regimes in Europe. They work in secrecy. They work in unanimity; we do not know which countries are blocking or deluding this very important work to ensure fair corporate taxes in Europe. Things like that are alienating citizens and also cause the European Union to be blamed for not acting on very important societal issues.

Therefore I just want to say to the Ombudsman: full support for your work on transparency and we need to stand together to push the Council to open up and become democratically accountable to its citizens. We need to be much more blunt and they need to change their attitude, because if they do not do this, then mistrust of the European Union will continue.

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς, εξ ονόματος της ομάδας ECR. – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, επιτρέψτε μου καταρχάς να συγχαρώ την Ευρωπαία Διαμεσολαβήτρια, κ. O’Reilly, για το εξαιρετικό της έργο. Ο ρόλος του Ευρωπαίου Διαμεσολαβητή είναι καθοριστικός για τη διαφάνεια και τον έλεγχο της κακοδιοίκησης στο πλαίσιο της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Στην παρούσα φάση, είναι καθοριστικό να επεκταθεί ο έλεγχος αυτός και σε άλλα όργανα, όπως το Εurogroup, η Τρόικα και ο ESM.

Καταθέσαμε σχετικές τροπολογίες, οι οποίες όμως δυστυχώς απορρίφθηκαν από τις άλλες πολιτικές ομάδες. Σε σχέση με την Τρόικα, θα πρέπει να επισημανθεί ότι η Ευρωπαία Διαμεσολαβήτρια πρέπει να ερευνήσει τη σύγκρουση συμφερόντων στην Επιτροπή, ανάμεσα στον ρόλο της στην Τρόικα και στην ευθύνη της Επιτροπής ως θεματοφύλακα των Συνθηκών του ευρωπαϊκού κεκτημένου.

Το ίδιο ισχύει και για τη σύγκρουση συμφερόντων μεταξύ του τρέχοντος ρόλου της ΕΚΤ στην Τρόικα και της εντολής που έχει αναλάβει να ενεργεί ως ανεξάρτητη νομισματική αρχή. Επιπλέον, πρέπει να αναληφθεί έρευνα όσον αφορά την τήρηση, από την πλευρά της Τρόικας, του Χάρτη Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Επίσης, πρέπει να ενδυναμωθεί η λογοδοσία και η διαφάνεια σε ευρωπαϊκό επίπεδο, σε σχέση με το Εurogroup και τον ESM, που αναλαμβάνουν επώδυνες αποφάσεις και επιβάλλουν λιτότητα και βίαιη δημοσιονομική προσαρμογή, όπως έχει συμβεί με την Ελλάδα την τελευταία επταετία.

Τέλος, θα πρέπει να υπάρξει περαιτέρω έρευνα ουσίας σχετικά με το φαινόμενο της μεταπήδησης από τον δημόσιο στον ιδιωτικό τομέα, όπως στην περίπτωση του πρώην προέδρου της Επιτροπής, Manuel Barroso, ο οποίος ανέλαβε εκτελεστικός πρόεδρος της Goldman Sachs Ιnternational. Εύχομαι καλή επιτυχία στο έργο της κυρίας O’Reilly και γνωρίζει ότι συμπαραστεκόμαστε στον αγώνα της.

 
  
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  Javier Nart, en nombre del Grupo ALDE. – Señor presidente, es de ley felicitar a la señora O’Reilly por el magnífico trabajo que está haciendo como defensora del pueblo. No es cortesía, es reconocimiento sincero.

Hay algo que, en cualquier caso, me preocupa, que es el bajo número de personas que se dirigen a la defensora del pueblo para poder presentar sus quejas, comparativamente con lo que sucede en los Estados miembros, donde el número de quejas no se corresponde con que las instituciones en los Estados miembros sean peores que las de la Unión Europea sino, quizás, con una mayor y más fácil práctica. Yo creo que esto es un tema que deberíamos examinar.

Hay algo que es importante, yo creo que es fundamental: que exista una colaboración entre la defensora del pueblo de la Unión Europea y los de los diferentes Estados miembros. En el informe hay cuestiones que me parecen extraordinariamente relevantes, por ejemplo el tema de la transparencia. La transparencia debe ser la norma, no la excepción, y así se plantea. Pero la transparencia no debe estar unida con lo que yo llamaría la «candidez». No podemos ser tan cándidos que, en cuestiones como, por ejemplo, la negociación sobre el brexit, seamos de una transparencia de tal nivel que le estemos dando todos los argumentos a nuestra contraparte en la correspondiente negociación. Transparencia es una cosa, candidez es algo totalmente distinto. Seamos, por lo tanto, responsables de nuestros propios límites en la transparencia, que yo ciertamente reclamo.

Hay algo también importante, que es la clara y definida posición que existe respecto a los lobbies de todo tipo, desde el lobby del tabaco a los lobbies de la medicina. Todos sabemos que los lobbies están para tratar de influenciar a los diputados, pero tiene que haber unos límites, que es el código de conducta, que tiene que ser rigurosamente implementado.

Lo mismo vale para el código de conducta del presidente de la Comisión Europea cuando deja de serlo, o los propios comisarios o los asesores. La historia de las puertas giratorias tiene que acabar, y tiene que acabar de forma definitiva. Y si tiene que reformarse el código de conducta, refórmese, porque es un clamor ante ciertos escándalos por legales que sean, por legales que sean.

En cualquier caso, este es un informe que ha realizado usted, que no es complaciente. Es un informe sincero y es un informe que tiene audacia, y yo quiero, en ese sentido, reconocerle su trabajo y su función.

 
  
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  Σοφία Σακοράφα, εξ ονόματος της ομάδας GUE/NGL. – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, θέλω να συγχαρώ την κ. Διαμεσολαβήτρια για τη σαφή, αναλυτική και φιλική προς τον χρήστη έκθεσή της για το 2016, επισημαίνοντας παράλληλα την εποικοδομητική συνεργασία της με την Επιτροπή Αναφορών του Κοινοβουλίου.

Αναμφισβήτητα, όλα τα όργανα και οι οργανισμοί της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης πρέπει να συνεχίσουν να ανταποκρίνονται εντός των προθεσμιών και να βελτιώσουν τον βαθμό συμμόρφωσής τους με τις συστάσεις και τις αποφάσεις του Διαμεσολαβητή. Ειδικότερα, παροτρύνω τη Διαμεσολαβήτρια να εντείνει τις προσπάθειές της για πλήρη διαφάνεια και πρόσβαση σε πληροφορίες και έγγραφα που αφορούν συνολικά στις διαδικασίες EU Pilot, στους τριμερείς διαλόγους, στις εμπορικές συμφωνίες και το BREXIT και στις διαδικασίες λήψης αποφάσεων οικονομικού χαρακτήρα. Παράλληλα, την καλώ να εμμείνει στην πίεσή της για ένα υποχρεωτικό Μητρώο Διαφάνειας και για την αποτελεσματική προστασία των μαρτύρων δημοσίου συμφέροντος.

Τέλος, με αφορμή την επεισοδιακή αναγνώριση της ευρωπαϊκής πρωτοβουλίας «STOP TΤΙΡ», την καλώ να θωρακίσει με άμεση αναθεώρηση τον θεσμό της Ευρωπαϊκής Πρωτοβουλίας Πολιτών.

 
  
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  Igor Šoltes, v imenu skupine Verts/ALE. – Žal mi je, da je danes dvorana bolj prazna kot polna, ker gre za izjemno pomembno temo. Mislim, da so ta poročila, ki jih dobivamo v Parlamentu izjemno, izjemno pomembna in da je vloga varuha v tem svetu, v katerem živimo danes, še toliko bolj pomembna glede na vse izzive, na vse diskriminacije, ki se dogajajo in na vsa tveganja. Predvsem pa tudi predstavljajo na nek način to poročilo ogledalo delovanja evropskih inštitucij. Mnoge evropske inštitucije kot tudi v nekaterih primerih države si lahko ogledajo, kje tudi državljani Evropske unije vidijo obstaja največji deficit in s tem razkol med pričakovanji Evropejcev in po drugi strani seveda tudi evropskimi inštitucijami.

Opozoril bi na nekaj stvari, kar se mi zdi izjemno pomembno. Eno od stvari je transparentnost in pa tako imenovani demokratični deficit. Gre preprosto za to, ker demokracije ne moremo imeti in živeti, če nimamo ustrezne transparentnosti, če nimamo ustrezne preglednosti in tu je vloga varuha še toliko bolj pomembna. Zato seveda si zelo želim, da bi bila večja transparentnost upravljanja tudi pri trialogih, da bi bili javno dostopni dokumenti in stališča posameznih držav, ko se glasuje o posameznih perečih vprašanjih tudi na Svetu, ki bi jih pomagalo državljanom tudi razumeti izvor in zgodovino nekaterih odločitev in tako tudi razmisliti, kako pravzaprav so posamezne države reagirale pri pomembnih stvareh.

Pozivam seveda tudi varuhinjo človekovih pravic, naj nadaljuje s preiskavo o delovanju agencij Evropskih unij, s poudarkom na Agenciji za varnost hrane in Evropski agenciji za kemikalije glede Monsanta in možnih posledic v zvezi s trajnostjo in navzkrižjem interesa. Predvsem pa se mi zdi tudi pomembno glede lobiranja, tukaj registri morajo biti znani, tudi glede žvižgačev, tudi glede invalidov in mislim, da gre za mnoga vprašanja, s katerimi želimo seveda narediti tudi delovanje Evropske Komisije in evropskega ustroja bolj jasno.

Bi pa opozoril še na nekaj, in sicer na nek način na pomen evropske državljanske pobude kot neke bistvene oblike demokracije, ki jo imajo državljani na voljo. Zato mislim, da bi bilo potrebno razmisliti, kako seveda to pobudo narediti čim bolj operativno tudi zato seveda, da ne bi Komisija sama odločala o tem, katere pobude prizna katere ne in mislim, da na tem področju je še veliko prostora za izboljšave, če želimo Evropsko unijo in pa seveda evropske inštitucije res narediti demokratične in jih približati državljanom.

 
  
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  Eleonora Evi, a nome del gruppo EFDD. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, per l'Italia oggi è un giorno importante. È stata approvata la legge proposta dal Movimento 5 Stelle sul whistleblowing. Da oggi verrà data nuova linfa alla lotta contro la corruzione e verranno tutelati gli informatori e i testimoni di illeciti nel settore pubblico e privato.

A livello europeo è anche grazie al lavoro instancabile del Mediatore europeo, Emily O'Reilly, che voglio ringraziare, che questa lotta va avanti. E ringrazio anche la relatrice Mizzi. La sua relazione contiene una chiara raccomandazione sulla tutela degli informatori che svolgono un ruolo cruciale nel svelare i casi di cattiva amministrazione e si fa la precisa richiesta di introdurre una normativa sul whistleblowing a livello europeo.

Abbiamo di fronte un'ottima relazione. Tuttavia, voglio ribadire due concetti che ho voluto esprimere per mezzo di emendamenti che voteremo domani. Quando parliamo di accesso ai documenti e trasparenza, dobbiamo ricordarci che si tratta di principi basilari su cui costruire la casa delle istituzioni, una casa di vetro. Oggi però non è così, come dimostrano le denunce dei cittadini e le indagini del Mediatore, oggi la regola è l'opacità e la trasparenza è l'eccezione.

Dobbiamo ribaltare questa situazione e far diventare la piena e integrale trasparenza la regola del funzionamento delle istituzioni, dei processi decisionali nei triloghi, delle informazioni relative ai procedimenti di infrazione, dei negoziati commerciali e così via, e solo i dati sensibili e coperti da privacy devono essere oggetto di restrizione e tutela.

Infine, per quanto riguarda il registro per la trasparenza per monitorare le lobby, bene l'impegno a migliorarlo, richiesto dalla relazione, per renderlo obbligatorio e trasparente per le istituzioni e gli organismi dell'UE, ma non basta. Serve un atto legislativo, quindi un regolamento, affinché il registro sia legalmente vincolante non solo per le istituzioni, ma anche per i portatori di interesse. Questo, tra l'altro è esattamente la raccomandazione del Mediatore europeo. Domani votando a favore dei nostri emendamenti, possiamo farla riflettere pienamente nel testo della relazione.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE). – Herr Präsident, meine sehr verehrten Damen und Herren! Durch die gute Zusammenarbeit zwischen der Berichterstatterin und den anderen Fraktionen und unserem EVP-Berichterstatter Jarosław Wałęsa ist ein guter Bericht entstanden. An dieser Stelle auch noch mal ein Dankeschön an die Berichterstatterin und an die Schattenberichterstatter. Ich möchte mich auch in diesem Jahr bei unserer Bürgerbeauftragten, Frau O'Reilly, für die gute und vertrauensvolle Zusammenarbeit bedanken und sie zu ihrer guten Arbeit beglückwünschen.

Ich möchte aus Zeitgründen auf zwei Dinge eingehen, die mir wichtig sind. Das Erste: Sie haben das selber gesagt, Frau O'Reilly: Sie erarbeiten eine fast procedure. Wenn Sie da eine gute Lösung haben, sind wir auch selber daran interessiert. Mir als Mitglied des Petitionsausschusses dauert es manchmal auch zu lange, bis unsere Petenten eine Antwort bekommen. Wenn Sie hier den Stein der Weisen gefunden haben, bitte informieren Sie uns, dann können wir auch dort zusammenarbeiten.

Das nächste Problemfeld ist schon mehrfach genannt worden: Transparenz. Da wende ich mich noch einmal an meine Kolleginnen und Kollegen vom Petitionsausschuss: Hier müssen wir alle gemeinsam noch mal nacharbeiten, wie man so schön sagt: Alle hinsetzen ohne Schaum vorm Mund, ohne ideologische Vorurteile! Vielleicht würde es uns hier viel, viel einfacher fallen, wenn wir zunächst einmal die Grenzen formulieren, und dann könnten wir das große Feld der Transparenz gemeinsam beackern.

Wir werden morgen – das ist ein kleiner Mangel – auch im Abstimmungsverhalten auf dem Feld der Transparenz dann die Unterschiede feststellen. Aber noch mal mein Appell an alle: Bei der Transparenz haben wir alle noch mal Hausaufgaben zu erledigen. Aber ich habe auch in den Zwischentönen erkannt, auch von meiner Kollegin Evi, dass sie womöglich in die gleiche Richtung denkt. Transparenz ist wichtig und gut, aber es gibt auch Grenzen.

In dem Sinne freue ich mich auf die weitere gute Zusammenarbeit.

 
  
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  Michela Giuffrida (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, il Mediatore è una di quelle figure che, così come la nostra commissione, avvicinano davvero i cittadini alle istituzioni, facendo di queste non lontane e grigie realtà burocratiche, ma comunità di persone che lavorano per il benessere e per la protezione di ogni cittadino europeo.

Il Mediatore ci richiama al rispetto delle regole, è uno degli strumenti che consentano alle istituzioni dell'Unione di migliorare la qualità dei propri servizi. Uno degli elementi chiave della democrazia è proprio il principio della buona amministrazione sancito dalla Carta dei diritti dell'Unione europea.

Nel 2016 – mi piace ricordare questi dati riportati proprio dalla nostra commissione – oltre 15 700 cittadini sono stati assistiti dal Mediatore europeo, 12 000 persone hanno ottenuto consigli attraverso la guida interattiva presente sul sito web, oltre 1 200 i casi degli uffici del Mediatore che hanno provveduto ad inoltrare informazioni e segnalazioni che sono state trattate come denunce.

Numeri significativi come i temi trattati nelle iniziative strategiche che il Mediatore ha pubblicato. Facciamo qualche esempio: l'esigenza di una maggiore trasparenza in negoziati controversi, come ad esempio il TTIP, l'attuazione della Convenzione delle Nazioni Unite sui diritti delle persone con disabilità, la trasparenza del Fondo asilo, migrazione e integrazione.

Allora, io mi congratulo per questa relazione che dà atto di tutto questo al Mediatore e che ne riconosce il ruolo e l'alto valore, un ruolo che dobbiamo custodire.

 
  
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  Arne Gericke (ECR). – Herr Präsident, liebe Frau O´Reilly! „Ich möchte die EU-Institutionen dabei unterstützen, effektiver, transparenter und verantwortlicher zu werden, indem ich das Profil des Europäischen Bürgerbeauftragten strategisch verstärke.“ So haben Sie Ihr Ziel im Juni 2014 selbst formuliert.

Sie haben Ihre Arbeit sehr gut gemacht. Europa braucht Lautsprecher wie Sie, um die Stimme der Bürger zu verstärken. Sie werden aktiv bei unfairer Behandlung durch EU-Behörden, bei Problemen mit EU-Ausschreibungen und verspäteten Zahlungen, bei verweigertem Zugang zu EU-Dokumenten und ausbleibenden Antworten sowie bei angemessenen oder nicht veröffentlichten Lobbyaktivitäten.

Ich selbst habe hier im Haus schon mal den legislativen Fußabdruck für alle Europaabgeordneten gefordert und danke Ihnen auch deshalb für ihren Leitfaden im Umgang mit Lobbyisten. Er sollte auch bei jedem von uns auf dem Schreibtisch liegen.

Last but not least: Geben Sie mit Ihrem Sitz hier im Haus auch der europäischen Bürgerhauptstadt Straßburg ein Gesicht – ein Gesicht, das ich mir beim Europäischen Parlament am single seat Straßburg genauso wünschen würde.

 
  
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  Liadh Ní Riada (GUE/NGL). – A Uachtaráin, tugann oifig an Ombudsman Eorpaigh guth do ghnáthdhaoine agus molaim go hard í. Ach má táimid dáiríre mar gheall ar Eoraip Shóisialta a chur i gcrích, ba chóir dúinn an tOmbudsman Eorpach a fheiceáil mar dhroichead i dtreo na físe sin. Léiríonn na riachtanais ró-iomarcacha riaracháin a theastaíonn ó na gníomhaireachtaí Eorpacha an easpa cumarsáide, ceangail agus tuisceana atá ann idir maorlathas na hEorpa agus na Ballstáit, agus gnáthmhuintir na hEorpa.

Tá pobail agus comhlachtaí in Éirinn fós ag fulaingt de bharr easpa airgid agus de dheasca an riaracháin iomarcaigh seo - Leader mar shampla. In 2011, thug saoránach Éireannach a cás chuig an Ombudsman maidir le rochtain ar channabas míochaine dá hiníon. Agus cé go bhfuil sé lasmuigh d’imscrúdú an Ombudsmain, is ceist an-mhór rochtain ar chúram sláinte do shaoránaigh na hEorpa, go háirithe nuair atá cearta difriúla ag saoránaigh, ag brath ar an mBallstát ina bhfuil siad.

Tá cailín óg Éireannach, Ava Twomey, scartha óna clann faoi láthair agus ina cónaí san Ísiltír, áit ina bhfuil rochtain ar an gcannabas míochaine seo atá ag teastáil uaithi. Tá éagóir ollmhór á déanamh ar an gcailín seo agus ar a clann. Agus arís is gnáthshaoránaigh phobail agus comhlachtaí atá ag fulaingt.

Úsáidimis an tOmbudsman chun cabhrú réiteach na bhfadhbanna seo a aimsiú.

 
  
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  Margrete Auken (Verts/ALE). – Hr. formand! Tak til ombudsmanden for et fremragende arbejde. Det er rigtigt godt at høre den store støtte, der er til, at vi skal have det, som jeg tror er nøglen for EU til at få bekæmpet det såkaldte demokratiske underskud, nemlig åbenhed i Rådet. Sådan som det er nu, kan Rådet operere helt i lukkethed, og de nationale parlamenter aner ikke, hvad deres regeringer laver. Heller ikke den nationale presse kan følge med. Derfor bliver det fortsat oplevet som en fjern og utilgængelig institution, og det rammer os alle sammen. Derfor var det meget løfterigt at høre både fra dig, Emily O’Reilly, og fra Frans Timmermans, at dette nu skal være i centrum, og jeg håber, at vi kan holde tyskerne lidt på afstand. De er ret bange for åbenhed, har jeg lagt mærke til. Det er helt afgørende!

Forestil jer, at vi havde haft åbenhed omkring Paradise Papers, så man kunne høre, hvilke lande det er, der faktisk holder hånden over skatteunddragelse. Så havde vi kunnet skabe troværdighed om dette her. Det ville være en enorm gevinst for os alle sammen. Jeg synes, vi skal være meget konkrete, så man kan se, hvilken gevinst det vil være også i de nationale debatter. Hvis lukketheden i Rådet meget hurtigt bliver fortid - og jeg er meget optimistisk efter at have hørt jer i dag - så vil det give en alletiders chance for reel demokratisk deltagelse i den fælles beslutningsproces. Lad mig til slut blot nævne to ting meget kort: Vi skal have statutten ændret, så ombudsmanden har adgang til selv at undersøge opfyldelsen af 1049, og så skal vi have hele konceptet med god forvaltning rigtigt ind i lovgivningen og ikke bare som bløde formuleringer. Vi skal have åbenhed fastsat ved lov, også med hensyn til interessekonflikter.

 
  
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  Edouard Martin (S&D). – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Médiatrice, avant de vous interpeller sur un sujet grave, je veux, moi aussi, vous féliciter pour l’excellence de votre travail et vous en remercier.

Lors de la dernière session, ici, nous avons voté une résolution extrêmement importante sur les moyens que se donnera le Parlement européen pour mieux lutter contre le harcèlement sexuel. J’imagine que vous avez assisté comme nous, atterrée, à ce scandale qui secoue l’ensemble de la société concernant les faits de harcèlement et d’agression sexuelle.

Malheureusement, je le dis et je vais répéter, je ne dis pas que ce Parlement est bourré de harceleurs et bourré de harcelés, mais néanmoins ce phénomène existe et, malgré le vote de cette résolution de qualité, je sens déjà les freins et les résistances en interne, y compris de la part de l’administration. Nous avons précisément besoin, ici, de cette excellence et de cette objectivité qui est la vôtre.

Par conséquent, pourriez-vous nous aider à faire ce travail d’étude, d’enquête, d’analyse et de prospective, non pas pour juger le Parlement européen, mais surtout pour nous aider à nous améliorer, pour nous aider à être meilleurs? Nous avons déjà, il est vrai, le mérite d’avoir un comité anti-harcèlement, mais je trouve qu’il n’est pas approprié au harcèlement sexuel.

Par conséquent, nous avons besoin de votre regard et – je vous interpelle – j’aimerais que vous puissiez aussi nous aider à faire ce travail.

Dans les prochains jours, je me permettrai de vous envoyer un courriel pour vous donner quelques éléments d’analyse et je me tiendrai évidemment à votre disposition si vous le jugez utile. Mais, de grâce, faites-nous aussi part de cette excellence et de ce travail remarquable que vous faites pour que nous soyons, demain, encore meilleurs.

 
  
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  Rory Palmer (S&D). – Mr President, let me add my thanks to the Ombudsman and her officials for their work in this past year. I want to raise the ‘B’ word at this point in the debate, and I hope colleagues will forgive me, because that process – whatever views we take on it, and I deeply regret the course that history appears to be taking – must carry public confidence and legitimacy. Fundamental to securing that public confidence and legitimacy will be transparency and the ability of citizens in the UK and other Member States to have access to the right information to shape their views as this process unfolds. That will, of course, happen through democratic institutions like this Parliament and, indeed, in the House of Commons in the UK.

Democratic legitimacy in the Brexit process did not end on 23 June last year. In many ways, that has to be the start of democratic legitimacy and scrutiny of what is happening. So, without further delay, the UK Government should publish the sector impact statements on Brexit. I also ask the Ombudsman in this coming year to give particular focus to ensuring that the highest levels of transparency are secured throughout the Brexit process in order to give citizens in all our Member States the right to make their own judgments about what is happening.

I specifically ask the Ombudsman to consider releasing specific resources in her good offices to support that and to make sure that the highest levels – I stress the highest levels – of transparency and democratic legitimacy are heard and realised all the way through what will be a difficult and challenging process for all of us.

 
  
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  Andrejs Mamikins (S&D). – Mr President, I would like to focus on a very important aspect of the European Ombudsman’s work, which many of my colleagues have already mentioned, namely the so—called revolving door phenomenon. This refers to a situation in which an industry sends its people to a government position in order to gain political support for their private firms and, in the other direction, in which industry hires people from an EU institution in order to gain access to officials and federal legislation, as well as to get inside information on what is going on in EU institutions.

The Transparency International report ‘Access All Areas’ finds that 15 out of 27 Commissioners who completed their mandates in 2014 entered employment with organisations on the EU lobby register at the end of their 18—month cooling—off period. The bright example is, of course, José Manuel Barroso, who was President of the Commission until 2014 and who became Chairman of Goldman Sachs International for the bank’s UK and European operations.

I think the Ombudsman should pay more attention to the revolving door phenomenon in the European Union. The Ombudsman should insist on the creation of an independent ethics body which would decide which professional activities are subject to a conflict of interests and continue her work to ensure publication of the names of all EU officials involved in revolving door cases.

 
  
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  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D. – Panie Przewodniczący! Pani Rzecznik! Panie Przewodniczący Timmermans! Niech mi będzie wolno najpierw pogratulować pani sprawozdawczyni, pani Marlene Mizzi jej sprawozdania, choć muszę przyznać, że pracy nie miała aż tak bardzo skomplikowanej, dlatego że materia sama się broniła. Sposób funkcjonowania i to, co pani rzecznik mogła złożyć, to jest przedmiot dobrego sprawozdania. Chciałbym tutaj przyznać, iż jestem być może nielicznym na tej sali, który odnotowuje wieloletnią współpracę z panią rzecznik. Spotykaliśmy się wcześniej jeszcze z kolegium kwestorów Parlamentu Europejskiego i wtedy rozstrzygaliśmy nawet sprawy, o których przed chwilą tu pan poseł Martin mówił, czyli chociażby kwestię molestowania (powstał specjalny komitet rozpatrujący skargi dotyczące molestowania w Parlamencie Europejskim). Natomiast pani rzecznik zawsze prezentowała po pierwsze takie podejście: mamy służyć obywatelom, czyli odpowiadać na potrzeby ludzi, żeby się tu znalazło, to czego ludzie potrzebują. Pamiętajmy, że pojęcie przezroczystości czy transparentności ewoluuje. Inaczej pięć lat temu to rozumieliśmy, trochę inaczej teraz, więc tutaj doceniam to, że pani rzecznik zawsze była zorientowana na bieżące potrzeby. Trzy obszary, o których pani powiedziała, tj. niedostatki współpracy, czyli Rada Europejska, trojka i fake news. To są obszary, na których – myślę – powinniśmy skoncentrować naszą współpracę i tu będziemy wdzięczni za kontakt, aby razem zrealizować skuteczne przedsięwzięcie.

 
  
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  Julie Ward (S&D). – Mr President, the European institutions are complex, intertwined organisations that can – to many citizens – seem impenetrable and faceless. As a result, we are often misunderstood by those we aim to serve. Now with the chaotic Brexit negotiations, the rights of so many UK and EU citizens are in the balance. The continued drive of the European Ombudsman towards better transparency, communication and working practice in response to citizens’ concerns about the institutions and bodies of the European Union is particularly crucial during difficult times such as these.

Our European organisations must be continually shaped by the feedback of our citizens, and there must be more opportunities for young people and children to participate meaningfully in our institutional workings and to offer up opinions about the decisions that will affect them. In that respect, I would like to recommend the work of the children’s ombudsman in Poland, whom I recently met and who is certainly following best practice in his department and across the country.

I am particularly pleased that you, the Ombudsman here in Europe, have been making inquiries into complaints by persons with disabilities. It is gratifying to hear the work that they have been carrying out as an independent mechanism to protect and implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities so that everybody may access, engage and question the institutions in order to make our practices align better with our principles.

 
  
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  Caterina Chinnici (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, signor Vicepresidente Timmermans, io desidero ringraziare innanzitutto l'onorevole Mizzi per l'ottima relazione che affronta i punti fondamentali dell'attività svolta del Mediatore europeo, signora O'Reilly, che pure ringrazio per la presentazione del rapporto annuale 2016.

Nel rapporto viene posto l'accento sui diversi aspetti dell'attività della pubblica amministrazione, sottolineando come l'operato delle istituzioni pubbliche debba essere sempre improntato ad alti standard di correttezza e trasparenza nei processi decisionali e questo nell'interesse dei cittadini.

La collaborazione del Mediatore con il Parlamento è stata ed è di fondamentale importanza per accrescere anche la trasparenza del nostro stesso lavoro. I progressi realizzati, attraverso le raccomandazioni del Mediatore, da parte delle istituzioni europee hanno una particolare valenza anche perché costituiscono un segnale importante in termini di prevenzione e rispetto a situazioni di cattiva amministrazione.

Occorre quindi proseguire secondo la linea tracciata dal Mediatore, il cui lavoro è indispensabile non solo per rendere giustizia ai cittadini che lamentano casi di cattiva amministrazione, ma anche e soprattutto per restituire a tutti i cittadini la giusta fiducia nelle istituzioni europee.

 
  
 

Intervenciones con arreglo al procedimiento de solicitud incidental de uso de la palabra («catch the eye»)

 
  
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  Κωνσταντίνα Κούνεβα (GUE/NGL). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, η έκθεση ζητεί διαφάνεια. Η έλλειψή της χαρακτηρίζει πολλούς θεσμούς της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Ακόμη και το Ευρωκοινοβούλιο είναι στην τέταρτη θέση των θεσμικών οργάνων που ερευνώνται και, ναι, σε μερικές περιπτώσεις η έλλειψη διαφάνειας είναι σκόπιμη.

Ακόμα κι εμείς οι ευρωβουλευτές και οι συνεργάτες μας πέφτουμε θύματα της γραφειοκρατίας. Ρωτάμε καμιά φορά τις υπηρεσίες στο Ευρωκοινοβούλιο: είναι νόμιμα αυτά που μας ζητάτε; Ποιος κανονισμός το λέει; Μπορούμε να τον διαβάσουμε και εμείς; Τον ερμηνεύετε σωστά; Και η απάντηση είναι: το λέμε εμείς και αυτό αρκεί. Και έτσι, η γραφειοκρατία της υπηρεσίας του Ευρωκοινοβουλίου αποκτά εξουσία μεγαλύτερη από αυτήν που έχει το μόνο εκλεγμένο όργανο της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης.

 
  
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  Ελευθέριος Συναδινός (NI). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, η κ. O’ Reilly, εκ της θέσεως του Ευρωπαίου Διαμεσολαβητή, ακολουθεί με τις παρεμβάσεις της τις αρχές του μέτρου και της αναλογικότητας πλήρως και αποκλειστικά κατ’ εφαρμογή των αρμοδιοτήτων που της έχουν αποδοθεί. Όμως, η εφαρμογή αρκετών συστάσεων εκκρεμεί, η υιοθέτηση του κώδικα ορθής διοικητικής συμπεριφοράς είναι ελλιπής, το Μητρώο Διαφάνειας δεν είναι πρακτικά δεσμευτικό, οι συναντήσεις δημόσιου ενδιαφέροντος του προέδρου της Ευρωπαϊκής Κεντρικής Τράπεζας δεν δημοσιοποιούνται και χαρακτηριστικά αδιαφάνειας εντοπίζονται στις διαπραγματεύσεις και τη διαδικασία λήψης αποφάσεων της Ένωσης στο σύνολό της.

Προφανώς, η αδιαφάνεια, η έλλειψη δεοντολογίας και η μη ικανοποιητική διαχείριση των συγκρούσεων συμφερόντων είναι εγγενής και συστημική στα θεσμικά όργανα της Ένωσης. Δυστυχώς, η αποφασιστικότητα, η εγρήγορση και η εμπειρία της δεν επαρκούν ως μόνα εχέγγυα για την πλήρη διερεύνηση των υποθέσεων και την προστασία των ευρωπαίων πολιτών από τις περιπτώσεις κακοδιοίκησης.

 
  
 

(Fin de las intervenciones con arreglo al procedimiento de solicitud incidental de uso de la palabra («catch the eye»))

 
  
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  Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission. – Mr President, let me repeat what I said earlier, I have to say the Spanish translation of ombudsman is the one that appeals most to me ‘defensor del pueblo’, which is a very nice expression of this function.

I want to conclude by expressing once again my gratitude to Ms O’Reilly for her constructive approach and the consistently good cooperation between the Commission, the Ombudsman and her office.

The Commission has also greatly appreciated the launch in 2016 by the Ombudsman of an award for good administration. This ‘name-and-congratulate’ exercise is very rewarding for all those EU officials who are doing their utmost to serve citizens and the general EU interest.

I reiterate my call for delivering real change on lobbying transparency in all three institutions. Citizens have the right to know who is trying to influence the legislative process. So we need a mandatory transparency register, not just a voluntary one. We should not miss the opportunity to deliver this before the next European elections.

Let me be very clear about some apparent misunderstandings. The onus will not be on MEPs. The onus will be on the lobbyists to register, not on the MEPs they see. This will in no way limit the possibilities of MEPs to see their voters. We are talking about people who represent specific interests in lobbying when we are making legislation.

This could perhaps take away some of the worries that I have registered, because transparency and trust are essential in public institutions, certainly at the European level where the distance with our citizens is too big. But also, more generally, society needs more transparency and trust in public institutions.

Strengthening the protection of whistle-blowers is an essential aspect of this.

Following the public consultation, the Commission continues to assess the scope for further EU action and we will finalise this work in the first part of 2018.

Once again, a big thank-you to Ms O’Reilly.

 
  
  

Puhetta johti HEIDI HAUTALA
varapuhemies

 
  
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  Emily O’Reilly, Ombudsman. – Madam President, I would like to thank the honourable Members for all of their comments and observations, but most of all for their support for the work that I do. We are a very small office with just 80 people, but we have a big mandate and I rely on Parliament, as a big institution, to support me. It is wonderfully gratifying to get the support from right across the Chamber and I deeply appreciate it. I thank Ms Mizzi again for the report that she has done, which has also received such support among colleagues.

A number of very interesting issues have been raised which we will follow up in the days and weeks ahead. Just briefly, as we have gone round Parliament today and over this week, a lot of us have seen some of the big billboards in relation to harassment, reminding people about appropriate workplace behaviour and this is something that I have been discussing with my colleagues. We have obviously taken complaints in the past and can continue to take complaints in relation to this, but we have had very few over the years. I think it needs a deeper conversation in relation to that and I am very happy to be part of that.

On Brexit, in relation to transparency, we started working on this particular issue as soon as the referendum was over. Obviously it is not for me or any of us to tell Member States what to do in relation to the release of important documents vis—à-vis citizens, and perhaps particularly those in the UK, but what I have done is to have discussions with the Member State Ombudsmen and Information Commissioners, including the UK Information Commissioner, to remind them that if they cannot get records from their own Member State, there is always the possibility of seeking to get them from an EU institution that may also hold them.

There has obviously been a lot of talk about revolving doors. We have been very busy with that over the last number of years. In relation to the Commission and the Code of Conduct, we have conducted an investigation into that and we are expecting a response from the Commission in relation to that, though I do acknowledge the proposals that have already been made by the Commission in relation to that.

A number of people mentioned limits to transparency. Yes, of course, when I talk about transparency, I am not talking about transparency at any cost. We are always talking about the appropriate release of documents in the public interest and that has to be the guiding value.

Somebody said that my office, the office of the European Ombudsman, is a mirror for the functioning of the EU and I think that is a wonderful way of describing it. In fact it describes Parliament as well because what we all do is show back to the institutions the actual impact of the laws and the regulations that are passed here.

So thank you very much indeed for your support and your comments, which I will follow up on and thank you, again, Ms Mizzi.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Marlene Mizzi, rapporteur. – Madam President, I would like to thank everyone for their contributions to this debate, and in particular the shadows and to the European Commission as well as my assistant Desislava Dimitrova and the secretariat of the Committee on Petitions (PETI). It is safe to say that we have a very positive attitude for this year’s Report on the Activities of the European Ombudsman and that we all appreciate the important work done by Ms O’Reilly and her team.

The PETI Committee supports you and your work, Ms O’Reilly, and I am sure that the European Parliament and the Ombudsman will continue to work very closely towards the successful implementation of the Ombudsman’s recommendations emanating from this year’s annual report.

We are on the right path, and that should be the conclusion of this journey. But let’s not fool ourselves. The EU has still to strive to achieve the highest level of accountability and transparency.

Maintaining citizens’ trust in the EU institutions, especially at a time of a great scepticism regarding the Union project, must be our ultimate goal. We can start building this trust by guaranteeing citizens the right to the highest standards of public administration.

We all have an obligation to represent European citizens in everything we do. We need to commit to improving the way in which the EU administration works, placing citizens at its heart, making sure that we work more transparently, that we are more accountable and that we react immediately when the highest standards are not met.

Regulation (EC) No 1049/200 needs to be revised so that we can facilitate the Ombudsman’s work in scrutinising the granting of access to documents by Parliament, the Council and the Commission. We also need to ensure that the European administration follows up on, and implements, the recommendations of the European Ombudsman within a reasonable time frame.

I say to Ms O’Reilly that I look forward to working closely with you, and I am sure that you will maintain your strong dedication to improving the quality of the European administration in answering enquiries and complaints from European citizens. It is in all our interests to make sure that your work is a success story.

 
  
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  Puhemies. – Keskustelu on päättynyt.

Äänestys toimitetaan huomenna.

Kirjalliset lausumat (työjärjestyksen 162 artikla)

 
  
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  Pál Csáky (PPE), írásban. – A témát felkaroló szakbizottság, a Petíciós Bizottság (PETI) alelnökeként üdvözlöm az európai ombudsman tavalyi tevékenységéről szóló jelentését. Fontosnak tartom, hogy az ombudsman munkájának összefoglalása egyszerűen elérhető, érthető nyelven fogalmazódott meg, és az ombudsman hivatala minden hivatalos uniós nyelven közétette.

Elmondható, hogy eredményes évet zárt tavaly az ombudsman, és ennek az uniós polgárok, de mi, parlamenti képviselők is részesei lehetünk. A hatékonyságot tükrözi, hogy az ombudsmani vizsgálatokat követően kiadott határozatok és ajánlások végrehajtási aránya magas szintet ért el. A PETI bizottságban nyomon követjük az ombudsman munkáját és eszmecserét folytatunk a közös témákat illetően, ezzel járulunk hozzá az aktuálisan felmerülő intézményi működési kérdések megoldásához.

A parlamenti jelentés ismételten megállapítja, hogy az előrelépések ellenére marad javítani való az ombudsman hatáskörébe tartozó témák terén. Itt emelném ki az Európai Bizottság és a Petíciós Bizottság közötti együttműködés továbbfejlesztésének szükségességét, beleértve azon EU Pilot és kötelezettségszegési eljárásokról szóló tájékoztatást, amelyek petíciókból indultak ki. Számomra különösen fontos az európai polgári kezdeményezés felülvizsgálata, egyetértek a parlamenti előadóval, hogy ez egy olyan kulcsfontosságú eljárás, amelynek eredményessége és ezen uniós polgári jog teljes érvényesülése csak úgy biztosítható, ha a Bizottság figyelembe veszi az érintettek, és ezen belül a Parlament javaslatait is.

 
  
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  Rosa Estaràs Ferragut (PPE), por escrito. – Me sumo al compromiso que desde el inicio de la legislatura lleva mostrando la defensora del Pueblo en su defensa de los derechos de las personas con discapacidad. En este sentido cabe destacar el refuerzo de este compromiso durante 2016 con la puesta en marcha de una iniciativa estratégica para la aplicación de la Convención de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad. Animo a que siga trabajando activamente tanto en la aplicación de la Convención como de la Estrategia Europea sobre Discapacidad. Felicito a la defensora por la puesta en marcha de la iniciativa en el marco de la Convención, sobre la accesibilidad de los sitios web y herramientas en línea gestionada por la Comisión para una mejora del acceso de las personas con discapacidad a la administración pública de la UE. Es importante que la defensora no cese en su empeño de seguir investigando las denuncias presentadas por personas con discapacidad. La defensora del Pueblo Europeo debe proteger los derechos de las personas con discapacidad y garantizar que la administración de la Unión sea consciente de sus responsabilidades con respecto a estos derechos.

 
  
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  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D), na piśmie. – W 2016 r. urząd Europejskiego Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich pomógł ponad 15 797 obywatelom, z czego 12 646 spraw rozstrzygnięto poprzez udzielenie porady za pośrednictwem interaktywnego przewodnika, który znajduje się na stronie Rzecznika, a pozostałe 1880 wniosków jako skargi i 1271 jako wnioski o informacje, na które odpowiedzi udzieliły służby Europejskiego Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich. Zostało wszczętych 245 dochodzeń, w tym 235 na podstawie skarg, a 10 z inicjatywy własnej, zamkniętych zostało 291 dochodzeń (278 na podstawie skarg, a 13 z inicjatywy własnej). Cieszy mnie znaczny spadek liczby dochodzeń dotyczących instytucji europejskich, które były prowadzone przez Europejskiego Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich w 2016 r. (245 w 2016 r. w porównaniu z 261 w 2015 r.). Życząc kolejnych sukcesów Pani Rzecznik Emily O’Reilly, mam nadzieję, że instytucja Europejskiego Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich nie ustanie w usprawnianiu swych działań na rzecz gwarancji pełnego korzystania przez obywateli UE z przysługujących im praw oraz że instytucje i agencje unijne będą dalej pracować na rzecz udoskonalenia szybkiego reagowania na krytyczne uwagi Rzecznika oraz poprawią swoje wskaźniki zgodności z jego zaleceniami.

 
Aviz juridic - Politica de confidențialitate