Introduced in 2017, the award recognises actions by the EU public service that have a visible and positive impact on the lives of citizens, and aims to encourage the sharing of good ideas and practices.
In this third edition of the award, the overall winners were the Commission’s department for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (DG ECHO) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) for their efforts to repatriate EU citizens stranded abroad during the pandemic. Prizes were also awarded in four categories:
excellence in citizen-focused services delivery
excellence in communications
excellence in innovation/transformation
excellence in crisis management
All nominations were assessed by an independent advisory board, and the winners were chosen by the Ombudsman.
This year, a special award was also given to an action that went beyond all categories – a solidarity project set up by EU staff. Also, for the first time, the public could choose their favourite project via an online vote.
Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz,
Director of the Department of European and Comparative Law at the Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Gdańsk.
Former Croatian Ombudswoman and human rights expert
Honorary Director General of the European Data Protection Supervisor
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen opened the ceremony and shared her thoughts on the achievements by the EU administration in the past years.
The European Ombudsman Award for Good Administration 2021 honours the EU’s extraordinary efforts last year to help repatriate over a half million EU citizens stranded around the world due to the pandemic.
For the first time this year, all nominated projects were put up for a public vote. There were more than 6000 votes cast and Access2Markets - a free, multilingual, website that explains smaller businesses how they can export and import beyond the EU – has been the public's favourite.
The Ombudsman granted a Special Award to the 'EU Staff for Climate' collective for launching a solidarity fund, together with the King Baudouin Foundation, in response to the pandemic. 1200 EU employees contributed more than €500.000, supporting 26 projects in 9 EU countries.