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European Economic Interest Grouping
128 Copnor Road - Portsmouth - Hampshire PO3 5AN - United Kingdom

Telephone & fax: +44 23 92 789 081 - email: info@eu-romani.org - website: http://www.eu-romani.org

28th May, 2003

The European Ombudsman


This Complaint is against the Commission of the European Union

Complaint - nature

Abuse of power, administrative irregularities

The persons at the Enlargement section of the European Commission, consisting of Commissioner Guenter Verheugen and the Commission Service staff, have either individually or collectively abused their power through administrative irregularities by knowingly taking arbitrary decisions to close negotiations on important topics of accession well before adequate adjustments have been taken to ensure compliance with EU law and regulations. They have absolutely no authority, individually or collectively, to do this.

Complaint – specific issue

Collusion in denial of public rights, Discrimination

The specific issue involves some 100,000 children in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia condemned to receive no education in contravention to national and EU laws and suffering segregation in contravention of national and EU laws. This enforced abuse has and is known to the European Commission for a considerable time. The details are described in the attached documents. The abuse is maintained by the very governments with which the European Commission has been “negotiating” i.e. central government educational ministries, central government financial authorities, local authorities and local education authorities.

The European Commission has not called public attention to these facts, has not initiated practical actions to stop this abuse and has knowingly permitted these facts to pass almost without mention and they have closed the relevant “chapters” which contain the provisions to protect these children.

Collusion in upholding discrimination is a charge levelled again the Commission because specifically, in November 1999, the Directorate of ADF wrote to Verhuegen informing him of this situation and requesting that he and the Commission act to curtail and stop this human rights abuse before the time of accession of these countries. He has patently failed to act in an appropriate manner either on a personal basis or in ensuring his staff at Enlargement act in an appropriate manner. His follow up has been off hand and irresponsible showing an abandonment of his duty of care to the public under his area of responsibility.

Disinformation, Fraud, Lack or refusal of information

The quality of the relevant sections of the Commission Progress reports covering this issue are a disgrace and represent disinformation or fraudulent representation. This is an insult to the European public and of course to the children involved. In practical administrative terms the European Parliament and the European Council have been misinformed as to the true scale and character of this ongoing human rights abuse levelled again these children.

As a result votes were undertaken on accession without the necessary information being available. This has resulted in flawed votes. If the votes are not flawed do we then have to assume the Members of the European Parliament wilfully agree with such human rights abuse? And, have the Council of Ministers likewise fully and willingly endorsed the human rights abuse involved.

Prejudicial prevarication, Unnecessary delay and Unfairness

Commissioner Verhuegen was informed in November 1999 of this horrific human rights abuse and has not acted to stop it. Indeed during the whole “negotiation process” and since Article 13 became law the numbers of children abused have steadily increased. This has represented a de facto prejudicial prevarication on the part of the European Commission resulting in increasing harm to these children.

Needless to say this has been accompanied by unnecessary delay and unfairness.

Characterization of maladministration involved

Unfortunately this is a complex and somewhat repulsive situation of cover-up and as a result, this Complaint combines all of the following specific components of maladministration:
  • Abuse of power
  • Administrative irregularities
  • Collusion in denial of public rights
  • Discrimination
  • Disinformation
  • Fraud
  • Lack or refusal of information
  • Prejudicial prevarication
  • Unecesssary delay
  • Unfairness
When reason for Complaint became evident

This became evident some 3 months ago when ECRE undertook a field survey in rural regions in Central Europe which discovered the abuse had rapidly increased and had not diminished. The implication of the Commission became evident as a result of a review of Progress reports some 3 weeks ago following the inexplicable European Parliamentary and European Council votes on Accession.

And the subsequent votes in favour of accession by European Council and European Parliament in spite of the fact that at least 3 accession countries maintain horrendous human rights abuse of children. It appears to be evident that because of lack of Commission transparency these votes were flawed.

Ending note

You will appreciate, when you review the documentation, that we have no reason to assume that anyone associated with the European Union Services will act in what we would consider to be an ethical fashion on this issue. This is because no action has been taken to date by the Commission, in spite of repetitive warnings and advice.

The recent administrative reforms at the Commission place emphasis on the need to demonstrate performance related to specific competencies, to maintain ethical conduct and, above all, to remain aware that bad or harmful discretionary decisions remain an individual responsibility, irrespective of any assumptions concerning procedural due process.

We reserve the right to send copies of this document to any other party. In accord with ACITS provisions a copy of this Complaint will be posted on our website for public viewing and a press release will be made after this email version has been sent. We will send you a hard copy of this Complaint.


They are in reverse chronological order.

PLEASE NOTE: reading the letter to President Romano Prodi first can provide a good setting of the issue since it sets out our current understanding of what has been happening.

There are Documents and each is accessible on the urls indicated

DOCUMENT 1 - Letter to President Romano Prodi asking for explanations on the lack of action by the Commission, questioning the actions of Enlargement services and the validity of the votes in Parliament and Council or Accession. Requesting action.

This can be accessed as html at: http://www.eu-romani.org/comm05.htm

DOCUMENT 2 - Petition to the European Parliament from ECRE dated 28 February 2003 sending ECRE report (see next document) and requesting a position on this issue. In spite of the importance of this issue no action has been taken by this Committee and the Parliament went ahead and voted on this issue.

This can be accessed as html at: http://www.eu-romani.org/ecpetss.htm

DOCUMENT 3 - This is a field report on the status of Special schools in Central Europe completed 26 February 2003 by ECRE. Demonstrates clearly that the European Commission never took any action on this issue as advised in 1999.

This can be accessed as html at: http://www.eu-romani.org/ec302ss.htm

DOCUMENTS 4 - 6 Three letters: 4. dated 30 November 1999 from Directorate of the ADF to Guenter Verhuegen advising him of the Special schools problem and the human rights abuse associated with this and advising him of the intent of the governments concerned.

5. dated 22 December 1999 from Guenter Verhuegen to ADF Directorate in response to letter of 30 November 1999.

6. dated 15 February 2000 disagreeing with some content, asking for information from Verhuegen as well as documents which were not sent as promised.

Comment: No documents nor any reply was every received from Verhuegen.

These can be accessed as html at: http://www.eu-romani.org/comms.htm

Expectations for the outcome of this Complaint to the Ombudsman

  • A full and independent review of the circumstances facing these children and specification of the non-negotiable acts to be taken to terminate this abuse, which currently remains in contravention of EU law, so as to conform to EU law before the accession of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.
  • Inform and then reassess European Parliamentary position.
  • Inform and then reassess Council position.
  • Assessment of performance of Commissioner Verhuegen and the relevant Commission Enlargement services.
The relevant parts of the Commission and services have been contacted but no satisfactory response and this can be seen in paper trail since 1999 as evident in the documents supplied:
  • Letter to Verhuegen in 1999 – non satisfactory or substantive repies or action.
  • Issue of report in February 2003 – also sent to Verhuegen – no substantive reply.
  • Parliamentary Petitions Committee, so far no reply on status nor substantive action (in the meantime EP voted to accept status of children).
  • Letter to President Prodi who has not replied. See docs list.
This Complaint does not concern work relationships with the Community institutions and bodies.

This Complaint has not been submitted to a court nor is it pending before a court.

This Complaint should be dealt with publicly.

This Complaint should not be passed on to another authority (European or national) if the European Ombudsman decides that he is not entitled to deal with it

For and on behalf of the
European Committee on Romani Emancipation
(signed Hector McNeill)
Member of ECRE Management Committee

Public Record at the Audit Commission on Multinational Finance Organizations
ECRE website communications section