Ombudsman's annual report 2010
Report on the Annual Report on the European Ombudsman’s activities in 2010
This non-legislative report, drafted by the Committee on Petitions, analyses and approves the European Ombudsman’s Annual report for 2010.
Mr Nikiforos Diamandouros is the European Ombudsman. The title means he is “empowered to receive complaints concerning instances of maladministration in the activities of European Union institutions" and maladministration is in this instance defined as occurring "when a public body fails to act in accordance with a rule or principle which is binding upon it". He also has the right to “to review the substance of the analyses and conclusions reached by the Commission when investigating infringement complaints”.
The institution of the European Ombudsman has fifteen years of experience and has dealt with in excess of 36,000 complaints. This, means, according to the author of the report, that the body is well experienced and has “a clear insight into trends in maladministration, systemic problems and structural weaknesses in the administrations of EU institutions”.
Out of the total 2,727 complaints processed by the Ombudsman in 2010, 744 (27%) were in his mandate. He was able to help 70% of the complainants by either transferring the complaint to the relevant body or opening an inquiry himself. Alternatively he would advise the complainant where to turn.
The Ombudsman achieved 179 friendly solutions in 2010. When this preferable outcome cannot be obtained then there are two main courses of action: a critical remark and a draft recommendation.
A critical remark is made “when it is no longer possible for the institution to eliminate the instance of maladministration, the maladministration has no general implications or no follow-up action by the Ombudsman is required”. It indicates that a complaint was justifiably made and that the institution was at fault, and it aims to steer the institution clear of the same errors in the future. In 2010 the Ombudsman made a reduction of 2 cases of critical remarks from 2009 (33 in total) and 11 from 2008, yet he feels there is still room for further improvement.
A draft recommendation is made when “it is possible for the institution concerned to eliminate an instance of maladministration or in cases where the maladministration is serious or has general implications. In the event of a draft recommendation the institution concerned is obliged under the Treaty to send a detailed opinion to the Ombudsman within three months”. If this fails to happen then the Ombudsman may draw up a special report for Parliament. This stage is used as a last resort. An example of this may be seen in the Commission’s failure to reply to a draft recommendation on access to CO2 reports for 15 months. This failure “constituted a breach of the Commission's duty of sincere co-operation with the Ombudsman”. A report was drafted by The Committee on Petitions based on the special report, and this was adopted by Parliament on 27 October 2010.
The objectives of the Ombudsman’s new strategy for his mandate for 2009-2014 are referred to in the Annual Report of 2010. These are, in brief:
- Improving services by analysing feedback, and strengthening contacts with EU institution and civil society;
- To provide a faster service;
- Improving administrative services,
- To provide more comprehensive information and communicating better with the public;
- Rethink the use of resources.
The Ombudsman institution intends to use this strategy which is ultimately “aimed at ensuring that EU citizens enjoy their rights fully and at enhancing the quality of the EU administration”.
The European Parliament voted to approve this report on the 27th October 2011.
To read the report click here
Or alternatively visit the website at www.europarl.europa.eu
Last Updated (Sunday, 30 October 2011 18:20)