European Ombudsman Press Release (EO/02/21), 18 July 2002
The European Ombudsman, Jacob Söderman, today welcomed the news from the
European Commission that it has fulfilled the requirements of his draft recommendation
on the import of reindeer meat from Russia. This follows his inquiry into alleged
lack of impartiality in the procedures leading to the decisions to allow the
imports. The decisions are:
Commission Decision 2000/161/EC of 14 February 2000 amending Decision 97/217/EC establishing groups of third countries which are able to use the veterinary certification for imports of wild game meat, farmed game meat and rabbit meat from third countries (OJ L 51, 24.2.2000 pp 38-40) and
Commission Decision 2000/202/EC of 3 March 2000 amending Decision 97/467/EC on drawing up provisional lists of third country establishments from which the Member States authorise imports of rabbit meat and farmed game meat (OJ L 65, 14.3.2000 pp. 33-34).
The decisions in question were taken after an on-the-spot inspection carried out in Russia by the Commission's Food and Veterinary Office. The Ombudsman found that the inspection had not been carried out properly. He called on the Commission to carry out a new on-the-spot inspection and consider reviewing the decisions in light of its results.
The Commission confirmed to the Ombudsman that a follow-up mission had been carried out during which the necessary procedures for the performance of inspection missions were respected. Based on the findings of that mission and assurances subsequently received from the Russian authorities, the Commission considered that there was no need to amend the decisions in question.
The decisions in question resulted in one EU-based company gaining approval to process Russian game meat for export to the EU. The Ombudsman's inquiry revealed that the company and its Managing Director participated in the on-the-spot inspection by organising a luncheon, hotel and flight reservations, visas, temporary fax facilities, interpretation services and inspection cars.
The decision in this case can be found on the Internet at: