Emily O’Reilly re-elected European Ombudsman
Emily O'Reilly has been re-elected as EU Ombudsman, securing 320 votes in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The Irishwoman,preceded by Paraskevas Nikiforos Diamandouros and Jacob Söderman, first took office in 2013 becoming the first female European Ombudsman.
Emily O'Reilly, a former journalist, was one of five candidates who were considered including Giuseppe Fortunato (Italy), Julia Laffranque (Estonia),Cecilia Wikström (Sweden) and Nils Muižnieks’ (Latvia).
After three rounds of voting, Ombudsman O'Reilly secured a second term, with 320 MEPs casting their vote for her in a secret ballot. This compared to 280 votes cast for Julia Laffranque of Estonia.
During the Petitions Committee public hearing on 3 December, Emily O’Reilly pledged to continue working to make the EU administration a role model for the whole of the EU, by putting citizens and their rights at the centre of its actions.
“What the EU administration needs is to re-earn the trust of its citizens. I believe that this trust can be earned through increasing the institutions' accountability and transparency. Only when you are allowed to see how a decision is taken, can you start to understand why it was taken and only then can you start to trust”, she told MEPs on 3 December.
The European Ombudsman is an independent and impartial body, established in 1995, to hold the EU’s institutions and agencies (excluding the Court of Justice) to account and to promote the principles of good administration. The watchdog’s office exercises ‘soft powers’ by dealing with complaints from people and legal entities, concerning maladministration in EU institutions, but also proactively looks into broader systemic issues, such as transparency and service-oriented behaviour.