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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

News

Thursday | 10 June 2021

Ombudsman makes suggestions to improve the transparency of environmental information about projects financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB)

The Ombudsman has set out preliminary findings to the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the context of three ongoing related inquiries into the transparency of environmental information about EIB-financed projects. The preliminary findings include suggestions to the EIB on a series of measures it could take to improve transparency.

Press release

Tuesday | 18 May 2021

Ombudsman launches broad inquiry into Commission handling of staff ‘revolving doors’ cases

European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has launched a wide-ranging inquiry into how the Commission handles so-called ‘revolving doors’ cases among its staff.

The inquiry is part of a reinforced monitoring of how the EU administration implements the ethics obligations on EU staff who move to the private sector.

Case

Monday | 19 April 2021

European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) accepts Ombudsman proposal to increase transparency of decision making

The complaint concerned the transparency of how the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), and in particular its 'Board of Supervisors', adopts draft regulatory technical standards (draft RTS). The complainant sought public access to details of the Board’s recent vote on a draft RTS on 'packaged retail investment products'. The EIOPA refused to make such information publicly available. The complainant is concerned about how the EIOPA dealt with his request, and the more general failure to make public information concerning votes and debates on draft RTSs.

In the context of the Ombudsman's inquiry, she sent her preliminary assessment to the EIOPA to seek its views. The Ombudsman considered that documents such as those at issue in the complaint should be considered as "legislative documents" and, in keeping with the EU's rules on public access to documents, the EIOPA should provide wider access to such documents. She considered that the EIOPA has not provided convincing arguments for invoking the exceptions under the EU's rules on public access to documents, to justify withholding access to the documents, and urged the EIOPA to grant access to the documents at issue in this complaint.

The EIOPA replied to the Ombudsman and indicated that it agrees that the draft standards at issue do relate to the legislative process. The EIOPA agreed to grant the complainant public access to the documents in question and to ensure that, in the future, its minutes on meetings of its Board of Supervisors contain appropriate information on members’ votes on legislative matters. The Ombudsman welcomed EIOPA’s reply and the steps taken, and closed the inquiry.