Passed on to the EC
Responses from the EC
What next if the EC fails us?
The original plan was to gain sufficient signatures to persuade the European Commission to take action against Greece to force it to rescind the Greek laws ‘Government Gazette, A’ 84/13.04.2020‘ and ‘Government Gazette A 104 – 30.05.2020 article 61‘ which permit Aegean Airlines and other Greek travel businesses to refuse to offer refunds.
After a disgraceful 10-week period of failing to act following Greece’s CLEAR contravention of EC261/2004 on April 13, the European Commission finally started infringement proceedings against Greece on July 2. Greece has until September 2 to respond, by which time Aegean will have illegally held onto passengers’ money for almost 5 months!
One could be excused for thinking that there might have been a degree of complicity in the EC’s delay in acting.
Given the track record of the EC, we can expect it to delay further action when Greece prevaricates on September 2. That potential further delay is now the target of the petition.
My original intention was to deliver a printed petition to the EC president, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean. This I shall do a day or two before the EC’s September 2 deadline for Greece’s response.
In addition, I decided that, from August 10, I would send the President and the Commissioner for Transport and each of their team heads, a steady stream emails, one for each signature, at the rate of 20 or so emails each day. The purpose of this is, by September 2, they will hopefully have gained a feel for the strength of opinion this issue is generating and will act without further hesitation should Greece delay or prevaricate. The form of that email is shown below.
The software sending the emails sends each from a uniquely-generated email address so that any responses come back to our server before being passed on to signatories. In this way we can track the responses from the EC.
As of August 28, the EC has responded to a total of ZERO of the emails! On August 17, I opened a case with the Europe Direct Contact Centre asking it to investigate why there has been no response. You can read the text of that case below. By August 28, I had received no response so I sent a follow-up message.
What next if the EC fails us?
“So”, you might ask, “what do we do next if the EC fails us?”
Appropriately, we plan to employ a strategy learned from the Ancient Greeks. The wooden horse has already entered the gates of the European citadel and it’s packed full with 705 foot soldiers, each directly answerable to the voters of their respective EU states.
In the event that the European Commission fails in its duty to ensure that member states uphold EU law, I shall introduce a new page to the website. You will be able to enter your details and your country of residence and an email will be sent to each of the European Parliament members representing your country.
I’ve been unsuccessfully attempting to get a refund from Aegean Airlines for cancelled flights. I felt so strongly about the law passed by the Greek government which permitted the airline to withhold refunds, in contravention of EC261/2004, that I created a website to gather ‘signatures’ to persuade the EC to take swift action against Greece to rescind that law. The petition signature webpage can be seen at http://ec-petition.com.
Since last Monday, August 10, I’ve forwarded 148 emails from people who have ‘signed’ the petition. Because of my experience over the past weeks of receiving no response from emails I’ve sent to Adina Vălean, I sent these 148 emails to Ursula von der Leyen, Adina Vălean, Bjoern Seibert and Walter Goetz . The return address on the emails first comes to my system which forwards them to the original signatories.
My system has not yet received a single response to those 148 emails and I fear that one of two things is happening, either, 1) all four EC individuals do not see fit to respond to people who, in the main, are citizens of the European Union expressing a valid concern about the Greek government running roughshod over EU law, or, 2) your incoming mail servers are discarding the emails, which should NEVER happen for such an important EU body.
I plan to keep the petition live until September 2 2020, by which time I would expect something in excess of 500 signatories and, hence, 500 emails to have been sent.
These people DESERVE a response.
I would add that, even though, unfortunately, I am no longer an EU citizen, the majority of people signing the petition probably are. In any case, whatever the nationality of signatories, I would say that 100% have been affected by Greece’s rogue action and the European Commission’s sluggish response, and all fall within the scope of EC261/2004.
Further inaction by the EC will damage the reputation of EU law-making and the upholding thereof, both within the EU and internationally.
Will you please investigate and let me know exactly what is happening to these emails and why no response is being made.
Despite the Europe Direct Cantact Centre stating that they reply within 3 or 4 days, I had received no reply 11 days later on August 28. Nor had any of the 4 recipients of each email bothered to respond. I followed it up with the message below.
Re: Europe Direct Enquiry ????????????
I submitted the above enquiry on August 17 and, 11 days later, I have received no response.
I have an obligation to respond to the petition signatories about the EC response to their concerns and requirements.
It will be embarrassing for me, and bad for the credibility of the European Commission, for me to have to report that the EC has not seen fit to respond to their concerns, nor to a single one of the 1600+ emails sent to the EC on their behalf.
Please respond without any further delay.
Each of the emails sent to the EC, for each of the signatures received as in the side panel at the top of this page, was in the following format. For each signature, the emails were sent to:-
- Ursula von der Leyen <email@example.com> Commission President
- Adina Vălean <firstname.lastname@example.org> Commissioner for Transport
- Bjoern Seibert <Bjoern.SEIBERT@ec.europa.eu> Head of Ursula von der Leyen’s team
- Walter Goetz <email@example.com> Head of Adina Vălean’s team
— PETITION MESSAGE —
Please accept this message as my ‘signature’ in support of the petition to the European Commission requesting it to uphold and enforce EU law 261/2004.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IF ENTERED BY THE SIGNATORY
— Signed by NAME OF SIGNATORY —
— THE PETITION WORDING —
We, the undersigned, request and require the European Commission to uphold and enforce the terms of ‘European Commission Regulation (EC) No 261/2004‘ with regard to the Greek laws ‘Government Gazette, A’ 84/13.04.2020‘ and ‘Government Gazette A 104 – 30.05.2020 article 61‘ which attempt to override provisions of the higher European law.
In respect of Article 8 of ‘European Commission Regulation (EC) No 261/2004‘ i.e. the right to choose ‘reimbursement within seven days’, we require the following of the European Commission in order to ensure the rights of individual citizens are not subordinated by the interests of influential big business or governments with vested interests.
1. To take swift, firm and decisive action to force the Greek government to rescind those clauses of ‘Government Gazette, A’ 84/13.04.2020‘ and ‘Government Gazette A 104 – 30.05.2020 article 61‘ which are in conflict with ‘European Commission Regulation (EC) No 261/2004‘.
2. To take legal action against Aegean Airlines to force its adherence to the higher European law in respect of providing timely reimbursement for cancelled flights.
3. To censure the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority over its failure to carry out its duty as the appointed Greek ‘national authority’ charged with ensuring compliance with ‘European Commission Regulation (EC) No 261/2004‘.
This petition has been organised by Alan King (firstname.lastname@example.org) and can be viewed on the website at http://ec-petition.com