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WHY SIMPLIFY WHEN YOU CAN MULTIPLY? LOOKING CLOSER AT EUROPE’S COMPLAINTS HIGHWAY Kim Leonard Smouter Kim Leonard Smouter

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Presentation on theme: "WHY SIMPLIFY WHEN YOU CAN MULTIPLY? LOOKING CLOSER AT EUROPE’S COMPLAINTS HIGHWAY Kim Leonard Smouter Kim Leonard Smouter"— Presentation transcript:

1 WHY SIMPLIFY WHEN YOU CAN MULTIPLY? LOOKING CLOSER AT EUROPE’S COMPLAINTS HIGHWAY Kim Leonard Smouter Kim Leonard Smouter

2 EVA IS A EUROPEAN CITIZEN Eva is concerned about European employers’ dependency on unpaid internships. She thinks that this will have a bad impact on pensions, and she thinks in many countries that this in fact illegal. She wants Europe to do something about it.

3 A.B.C. MIDDLE OF NOWHERE A.B.C. is a local NGO located in Middle of Nowhere. They are upset about the recycling programme operating in their city. The quality is poor and they believe that it contradicts stated EU aims around the environment. They want the city to be taken to task by Europe

4 A quick resolution A clear answer to the complaint No passing the buck to “the relevant authority” An ability to track where their views go A clear channel of communication THEY HAVE A PROBLEM AND WHAT THEY WANT IS:

5 EUROPE DOESN’T QUITE WORK LIKE THAT…

6 YET EUROPE’S STATED AIM IS TO BETTER CONNECT WITH PEOPLE… AND WITH NON-PROFIT ORGANISATIONS EUROPE IS AWARE ITS AN UPHILL BATTLE

7 SO TO HELP, EUROPE’S CREATED A HIGHWAY

8 THERE ARE NOW 5 MAJOR EXITS 1.Access to documents 2.Direct complaints to: the Commission 3.Direct complaints to: the Ombudsman 4.Direct complaints to: the European Parliament 5.European Citizens Initiative

9 BEFORE WE MOVE ON… REALITY CHECK

10 EUROPE IS A COMPLEX MACHINE

11 DIVERSITY IS ITS STRENGTH DIVERSITY IN EUROPE IS A “DOUBLE-EDGED” SWORD DIVERSITY IS ITS WEAKNESS Different solutions Different approaches Innovation Different solutions Different approaches Innovation Overly complex Slow to adapt Duplication of efforts Overly complex Slow to adapt Duplication of efforts

12 NOT ONLY IS IT COMPLEX, IT’S NOT JOINED UP

13 WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MENTION? These form the backdrop to the “down-sides” of the exits… It’s why there are 5 exists instead of one… It’s why procedures take time…. And why despite the fact that it is good they exist, there is still room for improvement In short… WHY SIMPLIFY, WHEN YOU CAN MULTIPLY?

14 A CLOSER LOOK AT THE 5 EXISTS

15 EXIT 1: BASIC ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS Bound to provide access to documents, All institutions are covered, No document is excluded – we can request internal documents, etc. EXCEPT: if they can be harmful to disclose, Court of Justice, ECB, etc Europe has 15 days to respond to a request for documents. There are appeal channels should document access be refused namely: the Court, or the Ombudsman

16 EXIT 2: DIRECT COMPLAINTS TO COMMISSION Alerting the watchdog of the Treaties: Process begins, as always, by filling out a form Accumulation of hard-evidence is key Need to have a clear idea of what directive is being infringed Average response time: within 15 days to a month, however a solution can take as long as 2 years to lead to concrete result. Whilst an individual process, it is clear that collective action has most impact. A complaint essentially can form the basis for an infringement procedure.

17 EXIT 3: DIRECT COMPLAINTS TO OMBUDSMAN Alerting the institutional watchdog Ombudsman is an appeals channel – the applicant must first complain to the institution directly addressed Maladministration only Applicant can complain using form accessible online Mediatory process, institutions have a few months to respond Institutions keen to be seen to support the ombudsman’s work,.

18 EXIT 4: THE PETITIONS COMMITTEE Putting it on the Parliamentary Agenda Process begins by filling out an online form Complaint has to do with EU field of activities Takes about 3 months to get a clear sense of whether the EP will examine the case Can lead to a request by the EP for the EC to investigate, Could be taken up in legislative work of the European Parliament

19 EXIT 5: THE NEW CITIZEN’S INITIATIVE All the previous exits do not allow citizens or CSOs to change the policy course Successful ECI’s would. Exit 5 will be opened on 1 st January m citizens is the target Citizen’s Committee of 7 citizens in 7 Member States is needed Within the existing scope of EU competence Registration prior to start with the European Commission Statements of support have to come in specified formats Different requirements in each Member State as regards proof of identity Impact? We will have to wait and see.

20 WHAT CAN BE IMPROVED Time it takes to process Remains a top-down inspired mechanism Improving the quality of the redress offered Things shouldn’t require a political strategy developed by an expert Why not a one-stop shop approach?

21 QUESTIONS…. COMMENTS? BRIGHT IDEAS?


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