Saturday

21st May 2022

Transparency complaints keep EU Ombudsman busy

  • The Ombudsman closed 86 inquiries last year that were about transparency, such as complaints about access to documents. (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

Almost a third of complaints in cases closed by the European Ombudsman in 2016 were about transparency the Ombudsman said in its annual report, published on Wednesday (24 May).

The Ombudsman closed 86 inquiries last year that were about transparency, such as complaints about access to documents. In 2015, transparency was the subject matter of 62 closed cases.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The share of transparency as a topic increased from 22.4 percent to 29.6 percent.

The EU institution on which the Ombudsman opened the most inquiries was the European Commission - 144, or 58.8 percent, compared to 145 or 55.6 percent the previous year.

European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly said at a press conference on Wednesday that the Commission topped the list “not because it is the worst performer in relation to administration”, but simply because of “the institutional role it plays in the EU”.

EU agencies, when treated as a group, were the second-largest source of inquiries opened: 32 cases, two more than in 2015.

The European Ombudsman has been receiving a fairly stable number of complaints that fall within its mandate, fluctuating between 698 and 930. The figure was 711 last year.

However, the Brussels-based organisation received far more complaints about issues it can do nothing about.

“The European Ombudsman receives many complaints on issues that do not fall within her mandate, mostly because they do not concern the work of an EU institution or body,” the report said.

“Sometimes complaints are based on the misconception that the Ombudsman is an appeals body over national ombudsmen.”

The annual report noted that 2016 saw a “record low” of complaints that fell outside of the Ombudsman's remit: 1,169. That figure had been as high as 2,768 a decade earlier.

The report said the decrease “was largely achieved through effective communication” about what the European Ombudsman does.

Brexit

The departure of the UK from the EU is expected to raise many questions and requests for inquiries.

The annual report noted that by the end of 2016 “the Ombudsman had received five complaints involving administrative issues related to Brexit, three of which concerned access to information”.

It also said that the European Network of Ombudsmen will be “setting up a common platform on how to deal with ‘Brexit complaints’ from EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa”.

Ombudsman probes secret Council lawmaking

Emily O'Reilly has launched an inquiry into whether the EU Council, where member states are represented, allows sufficient public scrutiny of the drafting of laws.

Ombudsman raps EU institutions on Catalonia

The EU Ombudsman's office says declarations by members of the EU institutions about the consequences of potential independence reflect no more than their "personal view".

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. UK to send 'hundreds' of migrants to Rwanda each year
  2. Norwegian knife attacks were domestic dispute
  3. Sweden hits back at Turkey's 'disinformation' in Nato bid
  4. Germany's Schröder gives up one of two Russia jobs
  5. G7 countries pledge €18bn in financial aid for Ukraine
  6. Italian unions strike in protest over military aid for Ukraine
  7. Russia cuts gas supply to Finland
  8. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. What Europe still needs to do to save its bees
  2. Remembering Falcone: How Italy almost became a narco-state
  3. Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK
  4. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  5. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  6. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  7. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  8. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us