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The European Ombudsman was established by the Maastricht Treaty (1992). The first Ombudsman, Jacob Söderman, was elected by Parliament in 1995. He was succeeded in 2003 by Professor P. Nikiforos Diamandouros. The current Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, took office on 1 October 2013.

The historical documents listed below provide background information on the process that led to the creation and establishment of the European Ombudsman.

The list also includes the legal texts, which have governed the European Ombudsman's appointment, role and relations with the EU institutions at large and the European Parliament, in particular, since the office was established. Finally, it provides information on key milestone events that have marked the institution's lifetime so far.