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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


Tuesday | 18 January 2022

Ombudsman asks Frontex to improve its accountability

The Ombudsman has asked Frontex to improve its accountability after conducting a strategic inquiry into how it complies with its fundamental rights obligations under its expanded mandate.

The inquiry examined the transparency of Frontex’s joint operations with national authorities at the EU’s borders, how it identifies fundamental rights concerns, and how it monitors the return of people seeking asylum.


Tuesday | 30 November 2021

Ombudsman launches new inquiry on transparency of Commission interactions with the tobacco industry

The Ombudsman has opened an own-initiative inquiry to assess how the Commission ensures transparency in its interactions with tobacco interest representatives.

The Commission has made some improvements since the Ombudsman’s previous inquiry: in addition to its department for health and food safety (DG SANTE), its department for taxation and customs (DG TAXUD) now also proactively publishes information about interactions with tobacco lobbyists.

However, for its other departments, the Commission does not proactively make public details on meetings that happen below the level of directors-general.


Tuesday | 19 October 2021

Ombudsman asks Commission for further clarifications in revolving door inquiry

The Ombudsman has asked the Commission for a meeting to discuss in detail how it takes decisions concerning applications by (former) staff to take up employment elsewhere, for example in the private sector.

The request is part of the Ombudsman’s broad inquiry, launched earlier in 2021, into how the Commission handles ‘revolving doors’.