Page last updated at 20:00 GMT, Monday, 11 June 2012 21:00 UK

Publish documents in all EU languages, say MEPs

MEPs have urged the European Commission to publish public consultation documents in all official languages of the EU, during a debate in the European Parliament on 11 June 2012.

Last December, the European ombudsman called on the Commission to make consultation documents available in all 23 languages, or provide translations upon request - following a complaint by a Spanish lawyer.

The ombudsman argued that European citizens cannot exercise their right to participate in the EU's decision-making process, if these documents are not available in every official language.

Opening the debate, Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht told the plenary the Commission did not have the resources to do this.

But MEPs across the political spectrum said this was not acceptable.

Polish centre-right MEP Roza Grafin von Thun Und Hohenstein told Mr de Gucht: "You can't put a price on EU commitment to EU affairs."

And Czech MEP Olga Sehnalova, representing the social democrats, argued that providing documents in all languages would improve transparency in the decision-making process.

The move was also supported by the liberals, who expressed the view that it would improve democracy.

Green MEP Ana Miranda said it was important for the EU to be "united in our linguistic diversity".

UK Independence Party MEP John Stuart Agnew said his party was happy to support the proposal, because it was vital for taxpayers to access the work of the Council and Commission.

The resolution was adopted by the parliament on 14 June 2012.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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