Thank god for Clive Bates .....

On 13 January, I made a complaint to the European Ombudsman about the European Commission sidestepping the treaty requirements for consultation, reasoned justification, impact assessment and scrutiny of legislative proposals when it comes to the 4,500 words of new legislation about e-cigarettes negotiated in secret in a process that has led to scientific, legal and procedural defects. This has led to further exchanges…

The short version

The Ombudsman says she will not investigate my complaint about the Commission avoiding consultation, impact assessment etc because it would intrude on the political work of the European Parliament. For unstated reasons, they don’t like to do that – hardly surprising as she is appointed by the Parliament, but not supported by the Ombudsman’s own rules of procedure. Needless to say I disagree and have written back to ask her to reconsider, arguing that (1) all of this was the responsibility of the Commission; (2) asking what’s so special about the European Parliament anyway? It is also governed by the treaties. The involvement of the European Parliament should not be cover for maladministration by the Commission; (3) this implies no-one is responsible or accountable – so it’s unsurprising that they cut corners.

She has however, required the Commission to write back to me, which it has now done. I have responded to the Commission pointing out its reply avoids the main points and asking it to: (1) justify the process followed for the directive and; (2) the credibility of the measures in the directive. The Ombudsman asked for observations on the Commission’s reply, and I have copied my new letter to the Ombudsman as my observations. I await a new response from the Commission.

It all adds to my sense that the EU has gone rogue, with inadequate accountability for sticking to the rules - see my Manchester University policy blog: Do we need a ‘new settlement’ with Europe – or just a better sausage factory?
Ombudsman says rogue process beyond her brief – I say ‘look again’ « The counterfactual