Hungary downgrades environmental ombudsman
Jan 3, 2012
hungarian ombudsman before after.JPG
Hungary's environmental ombudsman loses most of its powers from 1 January 2012

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/.

4 Comments
Why did this happen
1:47pm - Jan 4, 2012

Thanks Csaba for this insightful article. Why did this happen? Did the ombudsman do his job too well?

For what else?
2:00pm - Jan 4, 2012

Hi Carole, Thank you for asking. Well, I cannot think about any other plausible reason than the one you mentioned. Do you remember the title of Al Gore’s movie: An Inconvenient Truth? Just connect the dots… dr. Csaba Kiss Director EMLA

Keep fighting
7:13am - Jan 12, 2012

Hungary gave an excellent example to the world, but environmental gains are always subject to drawbacks. I believe that environmental organizations should keep fighting to reverse this downgrade, maybe EMLA can organize a petition and we can support from all over. In the 0 Draft also the proposal of an Ombudsperson for future generations was downgraded to a simple promotor of sustainable development. I believe we should revers this.

Teresa Flores Asociacion Prodefensa de la Naturaleza / PRODENA Rafael Ballivian St. 1724, La Paz, Bolivia prodena@prodena.org, www.prodena.org

The downgrading of
10:27am - Oct 11, 2013

The downgrading of ombudsman is not a good sign as he should have enough powers to restrict the pollution of environment. I thinks the supreme authority in Hungary administration should take a note of it and give back the usual powers for the smooth functioning of the ombudsman. ms outlook mail

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