The parliament refused all journalists' requests for various reasons (no documents, excessive workload, and especially private data). The journalists introduced a legal action. The Court of Justice refused more or less all the author's requests, though they cited both his quality as a member of the institution, and later as a citizen. The author then made a complaint to the Ombudsman, and later a legal action about three decisions. In September 2018, the EU General Court approved totally the parliament's refusal, invoking essentially the protection of personal data (the concept is mentioned 43 times in a judgment of 140 points!). It considered that more or less all documents contained personal data. Consequently, for each document, the journalists had to produce a very concrete reason to disclose the personal data, with each time concrete evidence. The general need to control concrete expenses financed by the European taxpayer was never considered as a valid justification. In … [Read more...] about [Opinion] Are judges destroying transparency in EU institutions?
The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, on Wednesday called for more action to combat harassment in EU institutions "in line with the legitimate expectations of a post #MeToo society." In a review of 26 EU institutions and agencies, O'Reilly found they "generally have good anti-harassment policies." "But more can and must be done," she said, citing measures such as "awareness raising, workplace risk assessment, regular policy monitoring, mandatory training, swift procedures, and rehabilitation measures." “All workplaces can be affected by harassment," O'Reilly said. "What sets a good workplace apart is whether it has a culture of zero tolerance towards harassment and whether staff are informed about their rights and empowered to act." Like many workplaces in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, EU institutions faced accusations that they have not done enough to combat sexual and other forms of harassment. The ombudsman's report also calls for measures to … [Read more...] about Watchdog urges action to combat harassment in EU institutions
The damage caused by austerity-driven bailouts in Greece could raise the issue of legal liability of the EU institutions and possible compensation, according to Olivier de Shutter, a former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food. “The level of the damage could raise the EU liability but the problem is identifying those who have been affected directly by the austerity measures and who could take the case to the court,” he said. De Shutter said Article 340 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU “states very clearly that the damage caused as a result of the fault of the EU institutions is damage that should be compensated for”. “I know some people are thinking about this and I’ve been asked to provide advice on this possibility,” he added. De Shutter, who served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food from 2008 to 2014, commented on a report released on 20 November, which concluded that the austerity … [Read more...] about EU institutions are liable for Greek bailout damage, former UN official says
The future of new proposed rules on food transparency is unclear, as the European Parliament and the Commission disagree on the timeframe to move the discussion forward. The Commission wants to quickly adopt the new rules while the Parliament seems to need more time to discuss such a “complex” issue. In addition, the industry seems divided while consumer organisations insist on finalising the file under this legislative cycle. In an effort to provide more transparency in the decisions related to approvals in the agri-food chain, following the controversy surrounding the glyphosate debate, the Commission presented in April new proposals that grant EU citizens greater access to information submitted to the food safety body, EFSA. The denial of access to scientific studies used for the authorisation of products in the name of business confidentiality has triggered strong reactions from health advocates and policymakers, who accuse the chemical industry of lacking transparency. … [Read more...] about New food transparency rules risk falling victim to EU institution spat
A broad majority of EU lawmakers backed the resolution on Wednesday (13 June), which sets the European Parliament’s approach to a European cyber defence policy, an area where EU institutions have been moving to step up their work. The European Commission, Council and other EU offices should streamline and improve their cybersecurity and intelligence sharing work, the report said. The Parliament resolution described EU countries as vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks “due mainly to the fragmentation of European defence strategies and capabilities”. It was approved 476 votes in favour, 151 against, and 36 MEPs who abstained. The MEPs’ report is not legally binding—but its most controversial demand will spark fears that Brussels has set its sights on clamping down on foreign technology companies. Its most explosive line is buried at the end of the report, where the Parliament asks EU bodies “to perform a comprehensive review of software, IT and … [Read more...] about Parliament demands EU institutions ban Kaspersky Lab cybersecurity products