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Parliamentary questions
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3 March 2015
Question for written answer E-003479-15
to the Commission
Rule 130
Agnes Jongerius (S&D)

 Subject:  Abuses at the European Patent Office in The Hague
 Answer in writing 

After staff at the European Patent Office (EPO) in The Hague had brought an action before a court, complaining that they had not been involved, or had any say, in employment matters at the EPO and that their right to strike had been restricted by the management, the court ruled that, as a European organisation, the EPO could not fall outside the legal order created by the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights, which the EU too is required to comply with. On 17 February 2015, the EPO rejected this judgment.

1. As the Commission has transferred certain powers to the EPO, does the Commission agree that the EPO is required to comply with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights as a minimum requirement in all its activities, including in its cooperation with the EU and in relations with its staff and trade unions?

2. Can the Commission confirm that it has expressed concern about the conduct of the EPO’s management and asked them to resume the social dialogue in line with the standards and values of the EU?

3. What steps will the Commission take if the EPO does not abide by the court’s ruling and continues to insist that it is not bound by European law?

Original language of question: NL 
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