|Author (Person)||Shelley, John|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.25, 21.6.01, p8|
THE EU citizen's watchdog is to investigate claims that the Commission's recruitment procedures are racist.
The probe by Ombudsman Jacob Söderman, sparked by a complaint by a Dutch citizen, will focus on under-representation of ethnic minorities in the European Commission.
In a statement to the watchdog, Sears Appalsamy argues: "There are more than 30 million people of ethnic-minority origin living in the European Union, yet there is hardly anyone [representative of these races and cultures] employed in the structure of the European Union. "
The complainant compares the EU unfavourably with the US, where "ethnic minorities are involved in all facets of government structure".
Söderman has asked the Commission to provide statistics, before the end of October, on the proportion of its officials who are from ethnic minorities compared with the number of those living in the Union as a whole.
Ian Harden, head of the Ombudsman's legal department, says any finding that such groups are under-represented is unlikely to be enough on its own to substantiate a claim of racism.
Rather Söderman would have to go on to investigate whether the shortfall was because of racism, he said.
The investigation is unusual because it is inspired by a complaint from a citizen concerned with a general issue and not from somebody who has directly been the victim of bad management. "Citizens do have the right to complain about alleged maladministration even if it has not personally affected them," explained Harden.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights, proclaimed by EU leaders in December, recognises that everyone has the right to work and that racial discrimination is prohibited.
The Ombudsman considers that a failure of a community institution to respect the Charter could constitute an instance of maladministration.
Any finding of racism could also mean the Commission falls foul of its own EU laws.
The EU citizens' watchdog is to investigate claims that the Commission's recruitment procedures are racist. The probe by Ombudsman Jacob Söderman, sparked by a complaint by a Dutch citizen, will focus on under-representation of ethnic minorities in the European Commission.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations, Values and Beliefs|