Hungary downgrades environmental ombudsman
When dr. Sándor Fülöp, the first ever Environmental Ombudsman of Hungary entered his new office and left the position of CEO of TAI Europe, many of us greeted him with an honest wish of success in May 2008. Not much later it turned out that he is practically almost the only one in the world who holds such a position. His competence included the following: Call the polluter to stop its activitiy Call the administrative body to act Issue a recommendation to an organ, body, institution or person Initiate a review process and suspension of an administrative decision Join an applicant in a court case Comment legislative drafts and suggest legislation Know and comment municipality plans Comment international treaty accession proposals Assist international treaty implementation reporting Monitor international treaty implementation Participate in formulating government standpoint in the EU Participate at public hearings Start a lawsuit against the polluter Ask for data from anyone Have access to any data Can enter company premises if irreversible environmental damage threatens From 1 January 2012, the entry into force of the New Constitution of Hungary, his role is downgraded to a mere deputy of the main ombudsman, retaining only the following competences: Inform regularly the Ombudsman on his experience regarding interests of future generations Call the attention of the Ombudsman for danger of illegality affecting a larger group of people Initiate an examination by the Ombudsman Participate in the examiniation by the Ombudsman Suggest to the Ombudsman to turn to the Constitutional Court We think that this is a significant loss not only for Hungary but for the rest of the world. A model institution to which many of us could refer to as a successful and operating solution is now lost. But the battle continues with others carrying on the message: http://www.futurejustice.org/.