|Author (Person)||Shelley, John|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.10, 8.3.01, p7|
THE European Ombudsman has attacked Commissioners for having a "high-handed attitude" over their refusal to give him the right to call them as witnesses in cases of suspected mismanagement.
Watchdog Jacob Söderman says the effort to prevent him from demanding that Commissioners come before him during investigations shows the EU executive is not willing to apply proper standards of openness.
"If such a high-handed attitude prevails how will it be possible to encourage good relations between the European Commission and citizens?" he said. Söderman's comments came as he spoke to MEPs this week about proposals to extend his powers.
The meeting comes a month after Vice-President Loyola de Palacio appeared before the assembly's constitutional affairs committee, telling Euro MPs that by allowing Söderman to call Commissioners the post of Ombudsman would gain political powers that would go far beyond its original mandate.
Söderman dismissed that claim this week, saying he has always differentiated between administrative and political issues and refused to probe the latter when requested by citizens. He also renewed his call for access to internal documents and for Commission officials to be released from their obligation to protect the institution when interrogated.
But Spanish centre-right MEP José Maria
Gil-Robles Gil-Delgado questioned the need for the changes, when in practice, the EU executive had always cooperated with the watchdog.
"The Ombudsman has said that so far he has had no really important problem in obtaining statements from the Commissioners when they are necessary," he said. "I don't quite see why we now need to begin a battle when it would seem there is no urgent need for this."
The European Ombudsman has attacked Commissioners for having a 'high-handed attitude' over their refusal to give him the right to call them as witnesses in cases of suspected mismanagement.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|