The European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration in the institutions and bodies of the European Union. If an institution fails to act in accordance with the law, fails to respect the principles of good administration or violates human rights, citizens of a Member State of the Union or those who reside in a Member State are entitled to lodge a complaint to the Ombudsman.
The European Ombudsman was established by the Maastricht Treaty in 1995. The current ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamandouros of Greece, took office on 1 April 2003. Each year the ombudsman receives about 3,000 to 4,000 complaints. 60–70% of these are related to the European Commission, 12% to Parliament and 10% to the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO): from dissatisfied applicants to the European Civil Service. The European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) accounts for 9%.
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The ombudsmen in the Network are independent and impartial persons, established by constitution or law, who deal with complaints against public authorities.
They try to achieve an appropriate outcome for each complaint. Having investigated a complaint and found it to be justified, an ombudsman may criticise what has taken place and state how, in his or her opinion, the case should have been properly handled. In many countries, the ombudsman may also propose remedies, which may include, for example, reviewing a decision, giving an apology, or providing financial compensation. Some ombudsmen may try to achieve a friendly solution to a complaint.
"The European Network of Ombudsmen brings together, on a voluntary basis, the national and regional ombudsmen and similar bodies of the Member States of the European Union, the national ombudsmen of the candidate countries and of Iceland and Norway, as well as the European Ombudsman and the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament. In Germany, committees on petitions at the national and regional level fulfil a similar role to ombudsmen. They are part of the Network."
Read the rest of the official statement here.