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31 October 2014
European Ombudsman launches public consultation in relation to the transparency of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations
On 29 July 2014, the European Ombudsman opened an own-initiative inquiry towards the European Commission concerning transparency and public participation in relation to the TTIP negotiations (OI/10/2014/RA). The present public consultation concerns that inquiry.
The outcome of the TTIP negotiations could have a significant impact on the lives of citizens. The aim of the Ombudsman's inquiry is to help ensure that the public can follow the progress of these talks and contribute to shaping their outcome.
Questions and proposals to the Commission
In line with suggestions made by the European Parliament, the Commission has made real efforts to enhance the transparency of the TTIP negotiating process and to promote public participation. Notwithstanding these efforts, some individuals and organisations have expressed dissatisfaction. Against this background, the Ombudsman asked the Commission to provide, by 31 October 2014, its views on certain questions and proposals that can be found in the letter opening this inquiry.
Invitation to submit contributions
This consultation gives everyone the opportunity to make known their views on the issues raised by the own-initiative inquiry. The Ombudsman will consider the contributions received before presenting a set of further suggestions that the Commission should take into account as the negotiations proceed. As the target end date for the Ombudsman's inquiry is 31 December 2014, the Ombudsman invites you to respond to the following questions by 31 October 2014:
1. Please give us your views on what concrete measures the Commission could take to make the TTIP negotiations more transparent. Where, specifically, do you see room for improvement? (We would ask you to be as concrete as possible in your replies and also to consider the feasibility of your suggestions, in light of the timeframe of the negotiations. It would be most helpful if you could prioritise your suggestions.)
2. Please provide examples of best practice that you have encountered in this area (for example, in particular Commission Directorates-General or other international organisations) that you believe could be applied throughout the Commission.
3. Please explain how, in your view, greater transparency might affect the outcome of the negotiations.
Please note that this public consultation does not relate to the substance of the negotiations. Nor is it intended to solve individual problems, such as specific refusals of access to documents. Such cases may be submitted to the Ombudsman as complaints.
How to contribute
It will be possible to take your comments into account if they are submitted by 31 October 2014.
By letter: European Ombudsman, 1 avenue du Président Robert Schuman, CS 30403, F - 67001 Strasbourg Cedex, France
By fax: +33 (0)3 88 17 90 62.
Please clearly indicate 'TTIP consultation' at the start of your contribution.
Contributions may be submitted in any of the 24 official languages of the EU.
As part of the inquiry procedure, the Ombudsman will forward to the Commission all the contributions received. The Ombudsman may also publish them online. Contributors who consider that their name should not be published and/or that their comments should not be made publicly available, should state so and explain the reasons why. In the latter case, contributors are invited to submit a non-confidential summary which will be forwarded to the Commission and may be published on the Ombudsman's website.
Should you require any further information, please contact Ms Rosita Agnew, Co-ordinator for own-initiative inquiries at the Ombudsman (tel: +32 2 284 25 42).