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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 | 10 February 2020

Ombudsman welcomes Commission's commitment to take greater account of environment and human rights in reviewing export credit agencies

In response to a recommendation from the European Ombudsman, the European Commission has stated that it will seek more information about the projects being financed by export credit agencies (ECAs) - national bodies that give financial support to companies doing business in risky markets.

The Commission, which verifies whether the activities of the ECAs are in line with EU law, is looking for  more detail from Member States, notably on how ECA projects are assessed with regards to the environment, human rights and sustainable lending.

Case

Monday | 20 January 2020

Ombudsman investigates European Banking Authority's decision to approve move by its Executive Director to finance industry association

The European Ombudsman has opened an inquiry into the decision by the European Banking Authority (EBA) to approve its Executive Director's request to become CEO of an association representing the finance industry.

The inquiry is based on a complaint from the organisation Change Finance, which argued that the Executive Director's move to the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) will create conflicts of interest.

Case

Wednesday | 08 January 2020

Council should issue guidance on the sponsorship of Council Presidencies

European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has made a recommendation to the Council of the EU that it issue guidance to Member State governments concerning their use of sponsorship to fund the costs of holding the Council Presidency.

The Ombudsman noted that the Presidency is part of the Council, and that the public does not distinguish between the two.

She made the recommendation so as to mitigate the reputational risks to the EU.