Tuesday

5th Jul 2022

EU reappoints 'fearless' Irish ombudsman

  • Emily O'Reilly became known for going after top EU officials in her past five years in office (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

MEPs have tasked Irish woman Emilly O'Reilly to hold EU institutions' feet to the fire for another five years.

"I will help ensure the EU maintains the highest standards in administration, transparency, and ethics. Europeans expect and deserve nothing less," she said after her reappointment as European Ombudsman in a vote in Strasbourg on Wednesday (18 December).

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

"I will also be holding [European Commission] president [Ursula] von der Leyen to her commitments on ... transparency and ethics," O'Reilly said.

"I look forward to our first meeting," she added.

Another priority would be "tackling the lack of the transparency of EU law making by national governments in Brussels," she also said.

O'Reilly won by 320 votes out of 600 against an Estonian former judge called Julia Laffranque.

She also bulldozed out of the way a controversial Swedish candidate, industry lobbyist and former MEP Cecilia Wikström, in an earlier round of voting.

Her reappointment gives her a European Parliament mandate to keep up the kind of activism that she became well known for in the past five years.

The 62-year old former journalist took to task a top commission civil servant, a former commission president, and the head of the European Central Bank when they stepped out of line.

She also used her prerogative to launch "own initiative reports" into other "high-value issues".

"A champion for transparency, fairness, and accountability in our EU institutions. We were proud to support her today," the centre-left Socialist & Democrat group said on Wednesday.

"Delighted to see Emily O'Reilly appointed for a second term ... someone who operates without fear or favour," Ciarán Cuffe, an Irish Green MEP, also said.

Other candidates who fell by the wayside were Giuseppe Fortunato, an Italian ombudsman, and Nils Muižnieks, a Latvian former human rights inspector.

O'Reilly herself told EUobserver in a recent interview that her main targets, if reappointed, would be transparency in the EU Council and so-called 'revolving doors'.

The phrase refers to MEPs or EU officials, such as Wikström or former commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, who go to work for industry.

"I'm a practical woman, who likes to see results," she said.

Exclusive

Ombudsman backs EUobserver on MEP expenses

The European Parliament should have granted access to documents on a decision about how transparent MEPs should be in future with their office expenses, says EU Ombudsman.

Opinion

20 years of public access to EU documents: time for makeover?

One shortcoming is that this cornerstone of EU transparency comes from a radically different era, predating many modern communications tools, such as smartphones and instant messaging, and the emergence of 'Big Data'.

Opinion

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

News in Brief

  1. EU Commission told to step up fight against CAP fraud
  2. Ukraine needs €719bn to rebuild, says PM
  3. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991
  4. Pilots from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden strike
  5. Report: EU to sign hydrogen deal with Namibia
  6. Israel and Poland to mend relations
  7. Von der Leyen: EU to set up Ukraine reconstruction platform
  8. Three killed in Copenhagen shopping mall shooting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  2. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change
  3. The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark
  4. Report slams German opposition to new child sexual abuse rules
  5. Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds
  6. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying
  7. Ex-Frontex chief 'uninvited' from parliament committee
  8. Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us