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Strategy for the mandate

Strategy of the European Ombudsman - “Towards 2019”

The Ombudsman institution throughout the world is an icon of democracy and of the rule of law. It serves both as an independent check on the power of government and public administration and as a vehicle through which citizens can have their complaints heard and their rights vindicated by an independent, accessible and impartial office outside of the traditional courts system.

Its establishment in the European Union following the 1992 Maastricht Treaty was intended to deepen the democratic legitimacy of the EU institutions. It was also an acknowledgment of the growing reach of those institutions into the everyday lives of member state citizens with a consequent need to ensure that institutional power would not be used in an unfair, unjust or arbitrary manner.

The office of the European Ombudsman will shortly enter its third decade and I was honoured last year to be elected Ombudsman by the European Parliament following in the footsteps of Mr Jacob Söderman and Professor Nikiforos Diamandouros.

My predecessors helped to embed consciousness of the new institution into the mind-set of the EU administration. Through their skill and influence, and the support of a highly competent and dedicated staff, they brought about significant improvements in the efficiency, transparency and integrity of the public administration. They also secured redress for thousands of individuals, members of civil society and businesses, who had been poorly served by the institutions of the EU.

My role and ambition now is to bring the European Ombudsman on to the next level of influence, relevance, and effectiveness. The strategy outlined in these pages is intended to do that, covering the period until 2019, and is the result of many months of dialogue with my own staff but also with many representatives of civil society, of business, heads of EU institutions and with the European Parliament. It aims to utilise our resources in a highly strategic way by identifying those areas of EU public administration where we can be most effective.

Emily O'Reilly

November 2014