The unprecedented challenges facing the EU compel all institutions to ensure the highest level of transparency and accountability in their work, say MEPs.
The Petitions Committee report on EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly’s work in 2016 was passed by 19 votes to 1, with 1 abstention. It supports the Ombudsman’s commitment to improve EU lobbying transparency, and advocates making the EU Transparency Register a mandatory openness hub for all EU institutions and agencies.
MEPs also praise her determination to respond promptly to the needs of EU citizens, and state that it must be the rule for EU institutions to uphold the highest level of transparency and access to documents.
Following the same pattern as in previous years, transparency-related issues also topped the Ombudsman's list of 245 inquiries opened in 2016. MEPs welcome her strategic inquiries into the Commission’s expert groups and how the institution assesses its special advisers to determine conflicts of interest.
They also support the Ombudsman’s role in shaping a transparency policy for clinical trials carried out by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and call for greater openness in the EU’s economic and financial decision-making process, in particular when it comes to supervision performed by the European Central Bank.
The unprecedented challenges facing the EU today, such as unemployment, the migration crisis and Brexit, compel all EU agencies, bodies, offices and agencies to work harder to ensure the highest levels of social justice, transparency and accountability, says the text. MEPs reiterate the importance of openness on the part of all EU institutions in the Brexit negotiations between the EU and the British government, and call on the Ombudsman to monitor the process.
They finally want the European Commission to guarantee full transparency regarding the jobs that former Commissioners take once they leave office.
The report is scheduled for a plenary vote during Parliament’s November session in Strasbourg.
“I congratulate the Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, for her excellent work in improving the quality and accessibility of the Ombudsman’s services. This year’s Parliament report aims to make the Ombudsman services more visible, efficient and to have a greater impact in deepening the dialogue with European citizens. In such turbulent times, when the EU is facing unprecedented challenges, the role of the Ombudsman is crucial in bridging the gap between people and the EU institutions”, said rapporteur Marlene Mizzi (S&D, MT).
The European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration in the institutions and bodies of the European Union. Emily O'Reilly (Ireland) was re-elected European Ombudsman by the Parliament at its plenary Strasbourg session on 16 December 2014.