28 March 2012
The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Demanders, told the European Parliament that the new Constitution for Europe should include a clear system of non-judicial remedies for citizens. He said that:
"The draft Constitution for Europe tells citizens what judicial remedies they can use to defend their rights under European Union law but does not mention the range of non-judicial remedies they have. Non-judicial remedies have the advantage of being free, flexible and fast when compared with going to court"
Full-text of Ombudsman press release: Press release (pdf)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch, editor, comments:
"The European Ombudsman highlights a glaring gap in peoples' rights in the EU. A host of new powers have been given to police, customs and immigration officials, a whole series of EU databases holding personal information on individuals are in place or are will be in the near future. Short of going to court, which few people can afford, there are no constitutional mechanisms for making complaints about the abuse of power or to question the data held.
The creation of a system of non-judicial remedies would not just be an avenue for complaint but would also begin to place restraints on the practices of officials and agencies acting under growing EU-wide operational procedures"
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