By Martin Banks - 1st December 2010
The case constitutes a breach of the commission´s duty of sincere cooperation
A parliamentary committee has criticised the commission over its "uncooperative practices" towards the EU ombudsman.
The damning criticism follows the commission's refusal to disclose information concerning an exchange of letters with the German car manufacturer Porsche.
The original complainant, Friends of the Earth Europe, asked the commission to publish documents relating to meetings with car manufacturing companies on the topic of carbon dioxide emissions.
In a July 2010 ruling, the European ombudsman said the commission was guilty of maladministration and warned that its "uncooperative attitude risks eroding citizens' trust in the executive."
He then submitted a special recommendation to parliament, which was discussed in the petition committee.
A resolution just adopted by the committee says that by delaying its reply to the draft recommendation for 15 months and by failing to implement its undertaking to notify Porsche of its intention to disclose, the commission infringed its obligation to cooperate with the ombudsman "sincerely and in good faith."
It says the commission's attitude is "detrimental not only to inter-institutional dialogue, but also to the public image of the EU."
The resolution goes on to state that the case constitutes a breach of the commission's duty of "sincere cooperation."
It also wants the commission to give an undertaking that it will "respect the duty of sincere cooperation" with the Strasbourg-based ombudsman in the future.
"Should the commission fail to give such an undertaking and/or persist in its uncooperative practices towards ombudsman, parliament may sanction the commission," it warns.
"Such sanctions may include the placing of a portion of the commission's budget for administrative expenditure into reserve."
The report was voted by 10 in favour and none against.
In response, Paul de Clerck from Friends of the Earth Europe said, 'Parliament agrees that the commission is failing to be transparent about its interactions with industry.
"Friends of the Earth Europe has still not received the full Porsche letters and we are asking the parliament to use its budget right to force the commission to reveal the letters."