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Special Eurobarometer: Right to move and reside freely in the EU and right to good administration are the most important citizens' rights

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Press release no. 14/2011

07 July 2011

Eurobarometer surveys
Author: European Commission
Copyright: European Union

For 48% of European citizens, the right to move and reside freely in the European Union is the most important citizens' right. The second most important right is the right to good administration by the EU institutions (33%), followed by the right to lodge complaints with the European Ombudsman (32%). These are among the results of a Special Eurobarometer on citizens' rights and the performance of the EU administration, commissioned by the European Parliament and the Ombudsman and conducted by TNS Opinion & Social.

The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, commented: "The citizens' right to move and reside freely in the EU is clearly one of the main achievements of European integration. The European Network of Ombudsmen has a key role to play in ensuring that citizens can exercise this right in practice. I am also encouraged to see that citizens consider the right to good administration and the right to lodge complaints with the European Ombudsman as very important. These responses strengthen the Ombudsman's role as a crucial link between European citizens and the EU administration."

85% lack sufficient information about the Charter of Fundamental Rights

72% of the respondents stated that they do not feel well informed about the Charter of Fundamental Rights. A further 13% have never even heard of the Charter.

42% not satisfied with transparency in the EU administration

According to the survey, 42% of European citizens are not satisfied with the level of transparency in the EU administration, while only 9% are satisfied. Their satisfaction with the effectiveness (35% not satisfied) and service mindedness (33% not satisfied) of the EU institutions is also low. However, the survey shows that the better people are informed about the EU, the more highly they rate the performance of the EU administration.

52% of respondents say the Ombudsman should ensure that citizens know their rights and how to use them

Asked about the role of the European Ombudsman, a majority of respondents (52%) thinks that he should inform citizens about their rights and how to use them, while 34% attach importance to the Ombudsman's cooperation with ombudsmen at the national and regional levels in the EU Member States, through the European Network of Ombudsmen.

The Ombudsman will use the results of the survey to enhance the quality of his own services, as well as encourage the EU administration to improve its performance, by deepening its commitment to the principles of a culture of service to citizens. He will also encourage members of the European Network of Ombudsmen to spread information in the Member States about citizens' rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

For this Special Eurobarometer, TNS conducted face-to-face interviews with 27 000 citizens in the 27 EU Member States between February and March 2011.

The Ombudsman's synthesis of the Special Eurobarometer, the full Special Eurobarometer, and factsheets for each EU Member State are available at: http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/press/statistics.faces

QB1. How informed do you feel you are about the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU? QB2. Based on what you know and using a scale from 1 to 10, how would you judge the performance of the EU administration in each of the following areas? QB3. According to you, which of the following responsibilities of the European Ombudsman are the most important? QB5. From the following European citizens' rights, which are the most important to you personally?

The European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration in the EU institutions and bodies. Any EU citizen, resident, or an enterprise or association in a Member State, can lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman offers a fast, flexible, and free means of solving problems with the EU administration. For more information: www.ombudsman.europa.eu

For press inquiries: Ms Gundi Gadesmann, Deputy Head of the Communication Unit, tel.: +32 2 284 26 09, Twitter: @EUombudsman