The attempt to dismantle the Legal Service

As soon as we have read certain press articles and questions raised by members of Parliament about an alleged desire to question the independence of our Legal Service, a real pride of our institution, and place it under the authority of the Secretary-General, we have asked the Commission to deny any political will to do so.

We have:

  • reminded that the Legal Service carries out a sanity check of our institution on a day-to-day basis;
  • recalled that any dismantling of the service responsible for ensuring compliance with the rule of law in the Commission since 1958 would further aggravate the crisis of trust between officials and the public vis-à-vis the institution;
  • underlined that the independence and excellence of our Legal Service represent a fundamental guarantee for European citizens entitled to be assured that all decisions adopted by our institution fully respect the legal framework in force.

The rather timid and very vague denials, so far pronounced, are far from being able to allay the fears.

R&D asks the Commission:

  •  to reassure the staff and the external observers by formally confirming, throughout the duration of its term of office, that it has no intention to:
    • modify the organizational chart of the Legal Service;
    • transfer it under the authority of the Secretary-General;
    • modify the structure, functioning and tasks of the Legal Service as it currently exists;
    • take any action that would undermine the independence of the Legal Service, or prevent the Legal Service from providing the College with frank, objective and complete legal advice;
    • prevent the Legal Service from submitting written observations on all preliminary questions before the Court of Justice.