At the beginning of each parliamentary term, the procedure for electing the European Ombudsman has to be set in motion. A call for candidates will therefore be published in the C series of the Official Journal of the European Union on 30 August 2019.
The European Ombudsman is chosen from among persons who are Union citizens, have full civil and political rights, offer every guarantee of independence, and meet the conditions required for the exercise of the highest judicial office in their country or have the acknowledged competence and experience to undertake the duties of the Ombudsman.
The responsibilities of the European Ombudsman are considerable. It is by means of the European Ombudsman that European citizens are able to gain redress when an instance of maladministration occurs in an institution, a body, an office or an agency of the European Union. Each year the Ombudsman submits a report to Parliament on the outcome of his/her enquiries.
To be accepted in the selection process, a candidate must have the support of at least 40 MEPs from at least two EU Member States. Those declared admissible have to present their priorities in a hearing to be held by the Committee on Petitions. The European Parliament elects the new Ombudsman by secret ballot.
For the election procedure to be transparent, candidates' curriculum vitae as well as their cover letters will be redacted and published on the European Parliament website in compliance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data.
The timetable for the selection process is as follows:
- 30 August 2019: publication of the call for nomination in the Official Journal;
- 30 September 2019: closing date for applications;
- 23 October 2019: President's announcement in plenary of the admissible candidates;
- 3 December 2019: public hearings of candidates by the Committee on Petitions;
- 17 December 2019: vote in plenary.