[lg policy] EU Ombudsmann criticises the language policy of public consultations

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 3 15:31:43 UTC 2011

The Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations
Dec 2, 2011
EU Ombudsmann criticises the language policy of public consultations

		The European Ombudsman P. Nikiforos Diamandouros criticises the fact
that many public consultation documents are only available in English
therefore many European citizens cannot exercise their right to
participate in the EU's decision-making process. FEMA has criticised
this situation one year ago in the course of the public consultation
on Periodical Technical Inspections

In its press release the Ombudsman informs that he follows a complaint
from a Spanish lawyer who reported a variety of cases in which public
consultations had only been published in English, French and German
and in some cases in English exclusively. In the view of the Ombudsman
"European citizens cannot be expected to participate in a consultation
which they are unable to understand."

According to the Ombudsman, multilingualism is essential for citizens
to exercise their right to participate in the democratic life of the
EU, which is guaranteed by the Lisbon Treaty. He concluded that the
Commission's restrictive language policy constitutes maladministration
and called on the institution to publish its public consultation
documents in all 23 EU languages or to provide translations upon
request. The Commission must submit a detailed opinion on the
recommendation by 29 February 2012.

In September 2010 FEMA criticised the Commission for publishing the
public consultation on periodical technical inspections in English
only. With the help of its member organisations FEMA translated the
public consultation into Dutch, French and Norwegian - all countries
where riders do not have to have their motorcycles inspected
regularly. As a result hundreds of riders participated in the
consultation - in their native language. Rumours say that the
Commission is struggling with translations back to English till this

Click here to access the Ombudsman's press release (No. 18/2011). It
is available in all EU languages


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