Access Info comments on European Ombudsman’s Public Service Principles for EU Civil Servants
Access Info Europe has contributed to the European Ombudsman’s public consultation on Public Service Principles for EU Civil Servants. Although not legally binding, these principles would serve as a guide to complement other existing control mechanisms such as internal Staff Regulations, and would define the spirit with which these instruments should be interpreted.
Access Info Europe welcomes the development by the European Ombudsman of the EU Public Service Principles which we believe are a good starting point for promoting an ethical and open civil service which acts with the best interests of the wider public at heart.
We believe that the principles should be strengthened through some additional language and concepts which are proposed. These emphasise the role of EU civil servants in today’s globalised world, the duty to consult with the public, the obligation to take into consideration human rights and environmental impacts, and the paramount need for transparency in the operation of the European Union administration.
We also believe that in places specific rules or mechanisms should either be included in the principles or referred to (for example systems for declarations of conflict of interest and whistleblower mechanisms). If these principles are directly linked to specific systems for promoting integrity, objectivity, and transparency, then they are likely to be far more effective.
We urge the European Ombudsman to promote the finalised principles through trainings and debates in order that they become part of the culture of the EU civil service.