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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

Case

Monday | 09 December 2019

Ombudsman welcomes new procedure for appointing European Commission Secretary-General

9 December 2019 - In line with what the European Ombudsman asked, the Commission is using a specific appointment procedure for the appointment of its new Secretary-General and has published a vacancy notice. The Ombudsman welcomes this development.

Ms O’Reilly said: "This represents a positive start for the new Commission under President von der Leyen on the issue of integrity."

Case

Monday | 02 December 2019

Eurogroup agrees to increased transparency

2 December 2019 - Euro area Member States have improved public access to decision making following a request by the Ombudsman to Eurogroup President Mário Centeno.

Under the changes, the draft agendas of the Eurogroup meetings will be published earlier in advance than previously and the letter summarising the meetings will be more detailed.

Also, the dates of the Euro Working Group meetings will be published and its website will provide more information about what the Working Group does.

Case

Tuesday | 26 November 2019

Ombudsman inquiry strengthens transparency and objectivity of EMA's assessment of new medicines

26 November 2019 - An Ombudsman inquiry into how the European Medicines Agency (EMA) engages with pharma companies before they apply for market access for their medicines has led to several measures to improve the transparency and objectivity of the process.

Working constructively with the Ombudsman, EMA has agreed to introduce a log of the scientific advice concerning medicines in the market approval process. This advice will be made public once the medicine is allowed to be sold in Europe. EMA has also said that, to the greatest extent possible, the experts that are prominently involved in advising pharmaceutical companies in the pre-market application phase will not be those that draft EMA's evaluation report for a new medicine.