Seventy-two percent (72%) of respondents say they do not feel informed about the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Ombudsman, the other EU institutions, and the European Network of Ombudsmen clearly have a major role to play in informing citizens better about the Charter.
Almost half of the respondents consider the right to move and reside freely in the EU to be the most important citizens' right. The second most important citizens' right, according to the respondents, is the right to good administration, followed by the right to lodge complaints with the Ombudsman. This result is very encouraging for the Ombudsman's efforts to strengthen his visibility in order to help citizens make use of their right to good administration.
Satisfaction with the EU administration is generally low when it comes to its effectiveness, service-mindedness, and transparency. It is particularly worrying that the EU is felt to perform worst on transparency (42% say they are not satisfied with the level of transparency in the EU administration). As one third of the Ombudsman's inquiries concern lack of transparency, this result reinforces his determination to help the EU institutions become more open, effective, and citizen friendly.
A majority of respondents (52%) thinks that the Ombudsman’s most important function is to ensure that EU citizens know their rights and how to use them. 34% of respondents think that it is important for the European Ombudsman to work with ombudsmen in the different EU Member States, while seeking redress for complainants in cases of maladministration is regarded as important by only 27% of respondents. These results underline the importance of the Ombudsman's communication policy vis-à-vis European citizens and the need for close cooperation within the European Network of Ombudsmen. However, the European Ombudsman also has to reinforce his information policy as regards his main task of dealing with complaints, especially towards potential complainants such as companies, NGOs, associations, organisations, and others.
Roughly half of respondents would like to know more about what the Ombudsman does. This result underlines the importance of the Ombudsman's efforts to inform the broader public about his services. It also stresses the need for targeted information to those citizens, companies, and other stakeholders who might actually need the services of the Ombudsman at some point in the future.
The European Parliament regularly commissions surveys on public opinion in the Member States.
This is a means of keeping Parliament in touch with people's perceptions and expectations of its work and that of the European Union generally. The surveys are also extremely useful at the preparation, decision-making and evaluation stages of parliamentary business.
Readers will find them a source of information not only about attitudes in the EU to climate change or the current economic situation but also about how people see - and what they expect from - European elections, the European Parliament and European integration in general.