The Council gives its consent to the revised statute of the Ombudsman to further guarantee its independence | EU Council Press

The Council has agreed to give its consent to the revised statute of the European Ombudsman, which will update the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman’s duties, replacing the current framework following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.

The aim of the Ombudsman is to help to uncover maladministration in the activities of the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, with the exception of the Court of Justice of the European Union acting in its judicial role.

Where appropriate, the Ombudsman can make recommendations, proposals for solutions and suggestions for improvement.

The European Ombudsman plays an important part in our EU institutional framework, notably to ensure the trust from our citizens by promoting good administration by our institutions. The new Statute allows the European Ombudsman to exercise his or her duties under a strong and clear mandate. Many of the provisions have been clarified, allowing the European Ombudsman to act in a renewed, reinvigorated manner, for the benefit of the citizens of Europe.

Ana Paula Zacarias – Secretary of State for European Affairs of Portugal

Main changes introduced by the new rules

  • Adaptation of the existing framework to the Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force in 2009.
  • Clarification on the access to EU information: The rules give the Ombudsman the right to demand access to classified EU information in the course of an inquiry. Member state authorities may also be asked to share information.
  • Definition of the conditions under which the Ombudsman can conduct own initiative inquiries, in particular in systemic or serious cases of maladministration by EU.
  • The European Ombudsman is elected by the European Parliament at the start of each legislative term. In future, candidates must not have been members of the European Parliament, the European Council, the European Commission or national government in the previous two years.

Background

On 12 February 2019, the European Parliament adopted a proposal for a draft Regulation on the performance of the Ombudsman’s duties, which was transmitted to the Council on 25 March.

Following informal consultations between Parliament and Council, on 9 June 2021 the Parliament endorsed a revised proposal. The new Regulation will repeal Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom.

Next steps

The Parliament will now adopt the new legal framework at its plenary of 23 June. Then the Regulation will enter into force on the first day of the month following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.