The Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration, which means poor or failed administration. This occurs if an institution fails to act in accordance with the law, fails to respect the principles of good administration, or violates fundamental rights. Examples of problems the Ombudsman has dealt with are:
• Late payment
• Contractual disputes
• Problems with calls for tender
• Refusal of access to documents
• Unnecessary delay
• Violation of fundamental rights
The European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration in the institutions and bodies of the European Union (EU). The institutions include, among others, the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. The European Medicines Agency and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions are examples of Union bodies that he can investigate. Only the Court of Justice, the Court of First Instance, and the Civil Service Tribunal acting in their judicial role do not fall within his jurisdiction.
The Ombudsman usually conducts inquiries on the basis of complaints but can also launch inquiries on his own initiative.
If you are a citizen of a Member State of the Union or reside in a Member State, you can make a complaint to the European Ombudsman. Businesses, associations or other bodies with a registered office in the Union may also complain to the Ombudsman.
Complaints can be lodged by post, fax or e-mail. A complaint guide and form is available from the Ombudsman’s office and can be downloaded from the Ombudsman’s website.
The Ombudsman investigates cases of maladministration (poor or failed administration). Maladministration occurs if an institution fails to act in accordance with the law, fails to respect the principles of good administration, or violates human rights. Some examples are:
• administrative irregularities
• abuse of power
• failure to reply
• refusal of information
• unnecessary delay
The European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration in the institutions and bodies of the European Union. The Ombudsman is completely independent and impartial. The current Ombudsman is Mr P. Nikiforos Diamandouros who took office on 1 April 2003. The European Ombudsman is P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, former national ombudsman of Greece. He was elected by the European Parliament and has held office since 1 April 2003. The Parliament elected the first European Ombudsman in 1995.
The European Ombudsman
1, avenue du President Robert Schuman,
B.P. 403, F-67001 Strasbourg Cedex, France
Tel. + 33 (0) 3 88 17 23 13
Fax. + 33 (0) 3 88 17 90 62