BETA


2008/2072(INI) Special report from the European Ombudsman to the European Parliament following the draft recommendation to the Council of the European Union in complaint 1487/2005/GG

Progress: Procedure completed

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead PETI WIELAND Rainer (icon: PPE-DE PPE-DE)
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
RoP 052-p4, RoP 220-p2

Events

2008/11/20
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2008/11/20
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted, by 509 votes to 2 with 10 abstentions, a resolution on the Special Report by the European Ombudsman following the draft recommendations to the Council of the European Union in relation to complaint 1487/2005/GG.

The own-initiative report had been tabled for consideration in plenary by Rainer WIELAND (EPP-ED, DE) on behalf of the Committee on Petitions.

Background : in 2004, the complainant (an association for the defence of the German language wrote to the Dutch and the Luxembourg governments in order to ask them to offer the internet presentations they were to provide when holding the Presidency not only in English and French, but also in German. The complainant pointed out that more EU citizens had German as their mother-tongue than any other language and that, after the accession of the new Member States, German ranked second if one added together the number of EU citizens speaking a language as their mother-tongue or as a foreign language.

In his investigating of the complaint the Ombudsman pointed out, among other things, that it is essential that documents directed to persons outside the Community institutions should be available in as many languages as possible and that one of the most important means of providing information to the public in modern times is the internet. Given that the Presidency is part of the Council, the same standards should in principle apply to any public websites maintained by the Presidency.

The Ombudsman's conclusion was that the Council's failure to consider the substance of the complainant's request that the websites of the Presidency should also be offered in German, constitutes maladministration .

Position of the European Parliament : Parliament gave its full support to the Ombudsman's conclusions which included:

the Council, like every EU institution, is, in the first instance, itself responsible for the websites of its presidency and the languages used thereon; the practices followed in the Council cannot be pursued in a way which is completely isolated from uniform implementation by the institutions and their formations; the information on these websites should, ideally, be made available in good time in all official languages of the Community; if the number of languages is to be limited, the choice of the languages to be used must be based on criteria of objectivity, reasonableness, transparency and manageability; the Council's refusal to address the substance of the complainant's request constitutes an instance of maladministration.

MEPs consider, furthermore, that transparency and informing the public are objectives which should be given the highest priority by the EU and its institutions and that access to information for as many citizens as possible is an important prerequisite for, and a basic element of, the general principle of democratic legitimacy.

Parliament notes with regret that the Council, unlike other institutions, such as the Commission and Parliament, which have significantly improved the number of languages available in their communication with citizens, has so far completely avoided addressing in a substantive way the question of the language options of the websites of its presidencies. It therefore invites the Council to conduct a comprehensive review of the question of expanding the language options of the websites of its presidencies, (irrespective of the question of responsibility or authority for these websites), so as to ensure that the entire population of the European Union has easy and direct access to information on its activities. It calls on the Council to inform Parliament of the results of its deliberations.

A change in approach for future presidencies: supporting the Ombudsman's recommendation, Members welcome the fact that the current French Council Presidency publishes its official website in the most widely spoken languages of the European Union (English, German, French, Italian and Spanish). Parliament stresses that any reduction of the language options which may prove necessary must be undertaken on the basis of objective and sufficiently justified criteria. Parliament also calls on all future Council presidencies, in the hope that they will make their websites available in as many languages as possible and, in the event of a restriction on the number of languages, to use the most widely spoken official languages according to an order of priority.

Lastly, Parliament supports the recommendation of the Ombudsman to the Council that it examine the complainant's request that the websites of the Council presidencies be also made available in German.

Documents
2008/11/20
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2008/10/14
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Documents
2008/10/14
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Documents
2008/10/06
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The Committee on Petitions adopted unanimously the own-initiative report drafted by Rainer WIELAND (EPP-ED, DE) approving the Special Report by the European Ombudsman following the draft recommendations to the Council of the European Union in relation to complaint 1487/2005/GG.

Background : in 2004, the complainant (an association for the defence of the German language wrote to the Dutch and the Luxembourg governments in order to ask them to offer the internet presentations they were to provide when holding the Presidency not only in English and French, but also in German. The complainant pointed out that more EU citizens had German as their mother-tongue than any other language and that, after the accession of the new Member States, German ranked second if one added together the number of EU citizens speaking a language as their mother-tongue or as a foreign language.

In his investigating of the complaint the Ombudsman pointed out, among other things, that it is essential that documents directed to persons outside the Community institutions should be available in as many languages as possible. and that one of the most important means of providing information to the public in modern times is the internet. Given that the Presidency is part of the Council, the same standards should in principle apply to any public websites maintained by the Presidency.

The Ombudsman's conclusion was that the Council's failure to consider the substance of the complainant's request that the websites of the Presidency should also be offered in German, constitutes maladministration.

Position of the Committee on Petitions : Members gave their full support to the Ombudsman's conclusions which included:

the Council, like every EU institution, is, in the first instance, itself responsible for the websites of its presidency and the languages used thereon; the practices followed in the Council cannot be pursued in a way which is completely isolated from uniform implementation by the institutions and their formations; the information on these websites should, ideally, be made available in good time in all official languages of the Community; if the number of languages is to be limited, the choice of the languages to be used must be based on criteria of objectivity, reasonableness, transparency and manageability; the Council's refusal to address the substance of the complainant's request constitutes an instance of maladministration.

Members consider, furthermore, that transparency and informing the public are objectives which should be given the highest priority by the EU and its institutions and that access to information for as many citizens as possible is an important prerequisite for, and a basic element of, the general principle of democratic legitimacy.

Members note with regret that the Council, unlike other institutions, such as the Commission and Parliament, which have significantly improved the number of languages available in their communication with citizens, has so far completely avoided addressing in a substantive way the question of the language options of the websites of its presidencies

They therefore invite the Council to conduct a comprehensive review of the question of expanding the language options of the websites of its presidencies, (irrespective of the question of responsibility or authority for these websites), so as to ensure that the entire population of the European Union has easy and direct access to information on its activities. They call on the Council to inform Parliament of the results of its deliberations.

A change in approach for future presidencies: supporting the Ombudsman's recommendation, Members welcome the fact that the current French Council Presidency publishes its official website in the most widely spoken languages of the European Union (English, German, French, Italian and Spanish).

Members also stress that any reduction of the language options which may prove necessary must be undertaken on the basis of objective and sufficiently justified criteria, that it must be announced publicly and that only the language of the incumbent presidency may have priority until the end of such presidency.

Lastly, Members call on all future Council presidencies, in the hope that they will make their websites available in as many languages as possible and, in the event of a restriction on the number of languages, to use the most widely spoken official languages according to an order of priority.

2008/09/18
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2008/09/01
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2008/04/01
   EP - WIELAND Rainer (PPE-DE) appointed as rapporteur in PETI
2008/03/13
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading

Documents

Votes

Rapport Wieland A6-0395/2008 - résolution

2008/11/20 Outcome: +: 509, 0: 10, -: 2
DE FR PL IT GB ES NL RO PT HU BE SE AT CZ EL BG DK FI SK IE LV SI EE LT CY LU MT
Total
69
56
42
40
48
35
20
18
17
16
15
14
14
16
14
12
11
11
9
8
6
6
6
5
5
5
3
icon: PPE-DE PPE-DE
204

Finland PPE-DE

2

Latvia PPE-DE

2

Slovenia PPE-DE

3

Estonia PPE-DE

For (1)

1

Cyprus PPE-DE

2

Luxembourg PPE-DE

3

Malta PPE-DE

2
icon: PSE PSE
137

Czechia PSE

2

Slovakia PSE

1

Ireland PSE

1

Slovenia PSE

For (1)

1

Estonia PSE

3

Luxembourg PSE

Abstain (1)

1

Malta PSE

1
icon: ALDE ALDE
67

Hungary ALDE

1

Sweden ALDE

2

Austria ALDE

1

Bulgaria ALDE

2

Latvia ALDE

1

Slovenia ALDE

2

Estonia ALDE

2

Cyprus ALDE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1
icon: UEN UEN
30

Denmark UEN

For (1)

1

Ireland UEN

2

Lithuania UEN

2
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
29

Italy Verts/ALE

1

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

3

Spain Verts/ALE

2

Romania Verts/ALE

1

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Sweden Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Austria Verts/ALE

1

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Finland Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
24

France GUE/NGL

2

United Kingdom GUE/NGL

1

Netherlands GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Portugal GUE/NGL

2

Sweden GUE/NGL

1

Greece GUE/NGL

2

Denmark GUE/NGL

1

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2
icon: NI NI
17

Italy NI

For (1)

1

United Kingdom NI

Against (1)

4

Belgium NI

For (1)

1

Austria NI

1

Bulgaria NI

2

Slovakia NI

Abstain (1)

1
icon: IND/DEM IND/DEM
13

France IND/DEM

Abstain (1)

1

United Kingdom IND/DEM

3

Netherlands IND/DEM

2

Sweden IND/DEM

2

Czechia IND/DEM

Against (1)

1

Greece IND/DEM

1
AmendmentsDossier
19 2008/2072(INI)
2008/09/18 PETI 19 amendments...
source: PE-412.239

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

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New
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activities
  • date: 2008-03-13T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: True committee: PETI date: 2008-04-01T00:00:00 committee_full: Petitions rapporteur: group: PPE-DE name: WIELAND Rainer
  • date: 2008-10-06T00:00:00 body: EP committees: body: EP responsible: True committee: PETI date: 2008-04-01T00:00:00 committee_full: Petitions rapporteur: group: PPE-DE name: WIELAND Rainer type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
  • date: 2008-10-14T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2008-395&language=EN type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading title: A6-0395/2008 body: EP type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • date: 2008-11-20T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=16198&l=en type: Results of vote in Parliament title: Results of vote in Parliament url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2008-555 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T6-0555/2008 body: EP type: Results of vote in Parliament
commission
  • body: EC dg: Secretariat-General commissioner: WALLSTRÖM Margot
committees/0
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Petitions
committee
PETI
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2008-04-01T00:00:00
rapporteur
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committees/0
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True
committee
PETI
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2008-04-01T00:00:00
committee_full
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docs
  • date: 2008-09-01T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE412.043 title: PE412.043 type: Committee draft report body: EP
  • date: 2008-09-18T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE412.239 title: PE412.239 type: Amendments tabled in committee body: EP
  • date: 2008-10-14T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2008-395&language=EN title: A6-0395/2008 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading body: EP
events
  • date: 2008-03-13T00:00:00 type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2008-10-06T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading body: EP summary: The Committee on Petitions adopted unanimously the own-initiative report drafted by Rainer WIELAND (EPP-ED, DE) approving the Special Report by the European Ombudsman following the draft recommendations to the Council of the European Union in relation to complaint 1487/2005/GG. Background : in 2004, the complainant (an association for the defence of the German language wrote to the Dutch and the Luxembourg governments in order to ask them to offer the internet presentations they were to provide when holding the Presidency not only in English and French, but also in German. The complainant pointed out that more EU citizens had German as their mother-tongue than any other language and that, after the accession of the new Member States, German ranked second if one added together the number of EU citizens speaking a language as their mother-tongue or as a foreign language. In his investigating of the complaint the Ombudsman pointed out, among other things, that it is essential that documents directed to persons outside the Community institutions should be available in as many languages as possible. and that one of the most important means of providing information to the public in modern times is the internet. Given that the Presidency is part of the Council, the same standards should in principle apply to any public websites maintained by the Presidency. The Ombudsman's conclusion was that the Council's failure to consider the substance of the complainant's request that the websites of the Presidency should also be offered in German, constitutes maladministration. Position of the Committee on Petitions : Members gave their full support to the Ombudsman's conclusions which included: the Council, like every EU institution, is, in the first instance, itself responsible for the websites of its presidency and the languages used thereon; the practices followed in the Council cannot be pursued in a way which is completely isolated from uniform implementation by the institutions and their formations; the information on these websites should, ideally, be made available in good time in all official languages of the Community; if the number of languages is to be limited, the choice of the languages to be used must be based on criteria of objectivity, reasonableness, transparency and manageability; the Council's refusal to address the substance of the complainant's request constitutes an instance of maladministration. Members consider, furthermore, that transparency and informing the public are objectives which should be given the highest priority by the EU and its institutions and that access to information for as many citizens as possible is an important prerequisite for, and a basic element of, the general principle of democratic legitimacy. Members note with regret that the Council, unlike other institutions, such as the Commission and Parliament, which have significantly improved the number of languages available in their communication with citizens, has so far completely avoided addressing in a substantive way the question of the language options of the websites of its presidencies They therefore invite the Council to conduct a comprehensive review of the question of expanding the language options of the websites of its presidencies, (irrespective of the question of responsibility or authority for these websites), so as to ensure that the entire population of the European Union has easy and direct access to information on its activities. They call on the Council to inform Parliament of the results of its deliberations. A change in approach for future presidencies: supporting the Ombudsman's recommendation, Members welcome the fact that the current French Council Presidency publishes its official website in the most widely spoken languages of the European Union (English, German, French, Italian and Spanish). Members also stress that any reduction of the language options which may prove necessary must be undertaken on the basis of objective and sufficiently justified criteria, that it must be announced publicly and that only the language of the incumbent presidency may have priority until the end of such presidency. Lastly, Members call on all future Council presidencies, in the hope that they will make their websites available in as many languages as possible and, in the event of a restriction on the number of languages, to use the most widely spoken official languages according to an order of priority.
  • date: 2008-10-14T00:00:00 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2008-395&language=EN title: A6-0395/2008
  • date: 2008-11-20T00:00:00 type: Results of vote in Parliament body: EP docs: url: https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=16198&l=en title: Results of vote in Parliament
  • date: 2008-11-20T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2008-555 title: T6-0555/2008 summary: The European Parliament adopted, by 509 votes to 2 with 10 abstentions, a resolution on the Special Report by the European Ombudsman following the draft recommendations to the Council of the European Union in relation to complaint 1487/2005/GG. The own-initiative report had been tabled for consideration in plenary by Rainer WIELAND (EPP-ED, DE) on behalf of the Committee on Petitions. Background : in 2004, the complainant (an association for the defence of the German language wrote to the Dutch and the Luxembourg governments in order to ask them to offer the internet presentations they were to provide when holding the Presidency not only in English and French, but also in German. The complainant pointed out that more EU citizens had German as their mother-tongue than any other language and that, after the accession of the new Member States, German ranked second if one added together the number of EU citizens speaking a language as their mother-tongue or as a foreign language. In his investigating of the complaint the Ombudsman pointed out, among other things, that it is essential that documents directed to persons outside the Community institutions should be available in as many languages as possible and that one of the most important means of providing information to the public in modern times is the internet. Given that the Presidency is part of the Council, the same standards should in principle apply to any public websites maintained by the Presidency. The Ombudsman's conclusion was that the Council's failure to consider the substance of the complainant's request that the websites of the Presidency should also be offered in German, constitutes maladministration . Position of the European Parliament : Parliament gave its full support to the Ombudsman's conclusions which included: the Council, like every EU institution, is, in the first instance, itself responsible for the websites of its presidency and the languages used thereon; the practices followed in the Council cannot be pursued in a way which is completely isolated from uniform implementation by the institutions and their formations; the information on these websites should, ideally, be made available in good time in all official languages of the Community; if the number of languages is to be limited, the choice of the languages to be used must be based on criteria of objectivity, reasonableness, transparency and manageability; the Council's refusal to address the substance of the complainant's request constitutes an instance of maladministration. MEPs consider, furthermore, that transparency and informing the public are objectives which should be given the highest priority by the EU and its institutions and that access to information for as many citizens as possible is an important prerequisite for, and a basic element of, the general principle of democratic legitimacy. Parliament notes with regret that the Council, unlike other institutions, such as the Commission and Parliament, which have significantly improved the number of languages available in their communication with citizens, has so far completely avoided addressing in a substantive way the question of the language options of the websites of its presidencies. It therefore invites the Council to conduct a comprehensive review of the question of expanding the language options of the websites of its presidencies, (irrespective of the question of responsibility or authority for these websites), so as to ensure that the entire population of the European Union has easy and direct access to information on its activities. It calls on the Council to inform Parliament of the results of its deliberations. A change in approach for future presidencies: supporting the Ombudsman's recommendation, Members welcome the fact that the current French Council Presidency publishes its official website in the most widely spoken languages of the European Union (English, German, French, Italian and Spanish). Parliament stresses that any reduction of the language options which may prove necessary must be undertaken on the basis of objective and sufficiently justified criteria. Parliament also calls on all future Council presidencies, in the hope that they will make their websites available in as many languages as possible and, in the event of a restriction on the number of languages, to use the most widely spoken official languages according to an order of priority. Lastly, Parliament supports the recommendation of the Ombudsman to the Council that it examine the complainant's request that the websites of the Council presidencies be also made available in German.
  • date: 2008-11-20T00:00:00 type: End of procedure in Parliament body: EP
links
other
  • body: EC dg: url: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/secretariat_general/index_en.htm title: Secretariat-General commissioner: WALLSTRÖM Margot
procedure/dossier_of_the_committee
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PETI/6/60407
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procedure/legal_basis/1
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procedure/legal_basis/1
Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament EP 220-p2
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  • 1.10 Fundamental rights in the EU, Charter
  • 1.20 Citizen's rights
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activities
  • date: 2008-03-13T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: True committee: PETI date: 2008-04-01T00:00:00 committee_full: Petitions rapporteur: group: PPE-DE name: WIELAND Rainer
  • date: 2008-10-06T00:00:00 body: EP committees: body: EP responsible: True committee: PETI date: 2008-04-01T00:00:00 committee_full: Petitions rapporteur: group: PPE-DE name: WIELAND Rainer type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
  • date: 2008-10-14T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2008-395&language=EN type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading title: A6-0395/2008 body: EP type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • date: 2008-11-20T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=16198&l=en type: Results of vote in Parliament title: Results of vote in Parliament url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2008-555 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T6-0555/2008 body: EP type: Results of vote in Parliament
committees
  • body: EP responsible: True committee: PETI date: 2008-04-01T00:00:00 committee_full: Petitions rapporteur: group: PPE-DE name: WIELAND Rainer
links
other
  • body: EC dg: url: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/secretariat_general/index_en.htm title: Secretariat General commissioner: WALLSTRÖM Margot
procedure
dossier_of_the_committee
PETI/6/60407
reference
2008/2072(INI)
title
Special report from the European Ombudsman to the European Parliament following the draft recommendation to the Council of the European Union in complaint 1487/2005/GG
legal_basis
stage_reached
Procedure completed
subtype
Initiative
type
INI - Own-initiative procedure
subject