Sunday

22nd Oct 2017

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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

Are MEPs too 'free' to be accountable?

The European Parliament is currently fine-tuning its negotiating position on the Commission's proposal from September 2016 for a mandatory transparency register. Sadly, so far it seems to prefer empty statements to bold action.

EU agencies defend research ahead of glyphosate vote

As the renewal of the weedkiller glyphosate is a hot potato on the EU agenda, with a vote in the Parliament on Thursday, the role of two closely-involved EU agencies has come under scrutiny.

Europeans more positive about EU, survey shows

On balance, 55 percent of British respondents said the UK had benefited from EU membership. Among all European respondents, 47 percent said their voice counted in the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  3. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  4. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  6. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  10. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  11. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  12. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks