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Call for papers - The European Ombudsman and the evolving EU ecosystem: new challenges and opportunities

Since the European Ombudsman’s establishment in the mid-1990s, the EU administration has significantly expanded in size and competences. Today, in the EU, more than 60 institutions, bodies, offices and agencies operate in various policy areas such as finance, migration, defence, climate change and health. More recently, the EU administration has faced the challenge of adapting to technological innovations, such as the digital transformation and artificial intelligence.

This call for papers invites proposals from early-stage researchers to present their work that can relate to a broad understanding of the evolving role of the European Ombudsman in the EU’s complex and rapidly changing institutional and supervisory environment. In particular, the call is aimed at doctoral and post-doctoral researchers working on evolving EU governance in different policy areas which might call for the Ombudsman’s engagement due to problems in the areas of transparency, impartiality, good administration or the absence of standard judicial avenues for accountability. It welcomes contributions that look to the future as well as beyond the institution of the Ombudsman to its role in the wider EU supervisory ecosystem.

Sucessful proposals may analyse and put in perspective the Ombudsman’s work to foster the transparency and independence of the EU administration, as well as its use of soft and own-initiative powers.

Central issues that may be explored in this last panel concern the way in which the Ombudsman manages its various roles in the EU context. These include:

  • The role of the European Ombudsman in overseeing and investigating an ever-expanding EU administration, in size and in competences, given its limited resources and the (changing) relationship with other authorities such as the European Data Protection Supervisor, the Court of Auditors, other overseers and the European Courts.
  • New avenues for the European Ombudsman to further contribute to an independent, transparent and accountable EU administration, including by intensifying the use of its soft and own-initiative powers and beyond.
  • Specific role and influences in particular policy fields, including migration law, criminal justice and digital technologies regulation.
  • The (future) role of the European Ombudsman in monitoring the use of AI by (EU) public authorities, especially with the proposal for an EU AI Act as well as its contribution to transparency in this context.
  • Comparative national perspectives on the European Ombudsman in Europe but also more globally. This could include the role of the national Ombudsman in relation to the European Ombudsman in terms of influence and contribution to public accountability of the EU administration.

We invite papers from doctoral and post-doctoral researchers relating to the above-identified central issues.

The panel is part of a broader two-day seminar on the Ombudsman that is organised at the EUI (jointly by the School of Transnational Governance and the Department of Law) and with the participation and contribution of the Ombudsman and her Office. This call for papers is seeking to include selected early-stage researchers working on areas that can relate to the Ombudsman’s (future) role in a wider evaluation of the role and functioning of the Ombudsman after three decades.

Practical Details

Seminar:

 17-18 November 2022, Department of Law/School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute.

Application:

Abstract submission deadline: 10 July 2022. Applicants are invited to submit an abstract of maximum 250-400 words to: deirdre.curtin@eui.eu.

Notification of accepted papers: 1 August 2022.

Submission of draft papers: two weeks before the seminar.

A selection of final papers may be published in an edited volume on the seminar.

Funding:

Travel/accommodation costs of the selected participants are covered by the budget.