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Areas of work

The European Ombudsman’s work covers a broad spectrum of issues. Her work is organised on the website under the following general categories:

Ensuring EU bodies guarantee the transparency of the EU’s decision-making process, including public access to documents and information, as well as the role of lobbying.

Making sure EU institutions account for and properly explain decisions, and reply to people seeking clarifications. Guaranteeing citizens’ rights to participate in the EU’s decision-making process, including language rights and accessibility, and the proper functioning of public consultations and the European Citizens’ Initiative.

Ensuring the highest ethical standards are maintained by EU officials in office and regarding subsequent jobs and ‘revolving doors’. Addressing conflicts of interest, as well as the role of advisors and experts. Protecting whistleblowers who seek to disclose wrongdoing.

Verifying that the EU’s institutions and bodies manage funding programmes and tenders for which they are responsible, and deal with funding partners and contractors in a fair and procedurally correct manner.

Ensuring that the EU’s institutions and bodies guarantee fundamental rights in their work, and fulfil their commitments under the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This includes data protection and the rights of people with disabilities.

Problems faced by individuals, businesses or organisations in their dealings with the EU’s institutions and bodies, including their right to be heard, to receive a timely reply, to good administration and to courteous public service. This also implies ensuring the institutions adopt a fair and balanced approach in how they use their discretion in handling cases.

Problems faced by existing and former staff members with the EU’s institutions and agencies, relating to working conditions and rights, as well as those seeking employment with the EU.

Top cases


Wednesday | 08 September 2021

Ombudsman welcomes ECDC’s transparency measures

Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has welcomed steps taken by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to improve the transparency of its work.

Following the Ombudsman’s suggestions, the ECDC put in place measures to make it easier for the public to follow the evolution of its scientific advice and to see the data underlying its scientific assessments. It also committed to more transparency around its exchanges with international partners, such as the World Health Organisation.


Thursday | 15 July 2021

European Defence Agency should have forbidden former Chief Executive from becoming strategic advisor at Airbus Defence

The Ombudsman’s own-initiative inquiry looked into the EDA’s decision to approve the former Chief Executive’s application to be head of public affairs of Airbus Spain and strategic advisor for Airbus Defence and Space. The former Chief Executive left the EDA in January 2020 and started at Airbus in August of the same year.


Friday | 09 July 2021

Ombudsman asks Commission how it ensures respect for human rights in international trade agreements

The Ombudsman has asked the Commission to provide details on how it ensures respect for human rights in the international trade agreements it signs.

The Ombudsman is asking for responses to a series of questions, including on whether there is a mechanism allowing civil society organisations to report human rights concerns, and how the Commission decides what action to take when it discovers a country has breached human rights standards.