Written by Tatjana Evas,
As a follow-up to the European Parliament resolution of 9 June 2016 calling for an open, efficient and independent European Union administration – 2016/2610(RSP), rapporteur: Heidi Hautala (Greens/EFA, Finland) – the Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) asked the European Parliamentary Research Service’s European Added Value Unit to carry out a public consultation. The aim of the consultation was to survey public opinion, first, on general perceptions and attitudes towards the EU administration; second, on personal experience in dealing with the EU institutions; and, third, on further action that the EU should take in the area of EU administrative law to address the shortcomings identified.
In response to the consultation, the Parliament received 166 fully completed online responses from 20 EU Member States. Incomplete responses were not taken into consideration for analysis but not for statistical purposes. Among the 166 completed responses, 155 contributions came from individuals and 11 from organisations.
The key findings of the public consultations are summarised in figure 1 below:
General perceptions of the EU administration were mixed: 52 % had a positive perception while 36 % had a negative perception of the functioning of the EU institutions. Professional interests, direct experience and media were three main sources of information underpinning the opinions formed by respondents regarding the EU administration. Perceived general awareness of what services the EU institutions provided for the public and companies was high: 73.5 % of respondents indicated that they knew what services were provided by the EU institutions. At the same time, only 45.8 % of all respondents indicated that they were familiar with their right to submit a petition to the European Parliament.
Experiences with the EU institutions were also mixed: 24 % of respondents had a negative experience, 30 % mixed and 46 % positive. The European Commission, European Parliament and EU agencies were the administrations with which respondents had had most direct contact. Access to documents (46 %); requests for general information (44 %) and EPSO competitions (31 %) were the top three reasons for respondents having had contact with the EU administration. The three main problems contributing to negative experiences included the length of the procedure (42 %), difficulty in finding information (37 %), and the quality of the reply received (30 %).
There was a high level of support from the respondents (76 %) for additional measures at EU level to reinforce EU administrative procedures. The two main reasons why respondents would like the EU to take action were: to improve efficiency (57 %), and to improve the transparency (50 %) of the EU administration. In response to the question on how the EU should best reinforce the functioning of the EU administration, 82 % of respondents were in favour of adopting a new law (52 % supported a new law setting out minimum standards, while 30 % supported a new law with full harmonisation). The proportion of respondents who supported the adoption of a non-binding code of conduct was low (7 %). While not in favour of a new law, 23% of respondents would prefer the EU to improve existing legislation; similarly, 23 % did not support a new law but would rather see measures focusing on technical ways to simplify public access to the EU administration.
Read the complete study on ‘EU law for an open independent and efficient European administration: Summary report of the public consultation‘.