Rising number of complaints signals greater awareness — EU Ombudsman
“Rather than indicating a worsening of standards, the rise is due to higher awareness of the ombudsman’s role,’’ O’Reilly said in her annual report.
Nonetheless, she highlighted three probes into lacking transparency in EU decision-making by member states.
O’Reilly accused the European Commission of “maladministration” in relation to a risk assessment on the impact of pesticides on bees, a touchy subject for many as bee stocks decline.
According to the Ombudsman, a French civil society group was denied a request for public access to documents relating to scientific guidelines on pesticides, whose implementation is being blocked by some member states.
“This is entirely their decision, but when they make it, European citizens have a right to know the position their own government took,’’ O’Reilly said.
She also flagged a new inquiry into the handling of documents for the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, noting that details of when technical committees meet and what they discuss are not made public.
“The financial crisis showed the impact of Eurogroup decisions on the lives of millions.
“I want to give citizens a visible thread to follow when EU decisions are made by their national ministers, and on what basis,’’ O’Reilly said.
According to the Ombudsman, the third issue relates to annual decisions on fishing quotas, in which ministers take “important decisions for the sustainability of fishing stocks” behind closed doors.