The European Ombudsman | EUNewsletter

EU institutions and bodies

While forming the European Union, its member-states partially gave away their national powers in order to establish a political community with a unified structure. There are currently seven official European institutions, which play different roles for the functioning and activities of the EU.

The European Ombudsman

EU Ombudsman
The European Ombudsman investigates complaints against EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. The Ombudsman responds to complaints from EU citizens, businesses and organisations, helping to uncover cases of 'maladministration' – where EU institutions, bodies, offices or agencies have broken the law, failed to respect the principles of sound administration or violated human rights. Examples include: Unfairness, discrimination, abuse of power, lack of or refusal to provide information, unnecessary delay incorrect procedures. The Ombudsman cannot investigate:
  • complaints against national, regional or local authorities within EU countries (government departments, state agencies and local councils), even when the complaints are about EU matters.
  • the activities of national courts or ombudsmen. The European Ombudsman is not an appeals body for decisions taken by these entities.
  • complaints against businesses or private individuals.
The Ombudsman is elected by the European Parliament for a renewable term of five years, which corresponds to Parliament's legislative term. The Ombudsman's office launches investigations after receiving a complaint or on its own initiative. It is completely independent and does not take orders from any government or organisation.