Yesterday, the European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros, addressed the media about his time in office as the citizen’s advocate of good administration. Diamandouros will retire on 1 October 2013.
Diamandouros, 70, of Greek nationality, stated that during his time in office, he “has witnessed the slow erosion of a dominating culture of secrecy among the EU civil services”, that is, however, by no means complete yet.
In particular, Diamandouros, a former professor in the field of public administration, noted the vast impact of Regulation 1049/2001, which had enterred into force some time before he took up the office of Ombudsman. This Regulation governing public access to documents, he argued, set in motion “a revolution that is still in the process of being internalised”.
During his time in office, Diamandouros oversaw the growth of his organisation to 66 staff. Over a period of ten years, the European Ombudsman’s office investigated over 30,000 complaints filed by individuals, and opened almost 3,500 own-initiative inquiries into alleged maladministration – signs of a highly active citizen’s advocate.
The office of European Ombudsman is handed out by the European Parliament’s appointment for five-year terms. Diamandouros started in 2003 and was elected twice (in 2005 and 2010). The EP will decide on his successor in July. EP President Martin Schultz will announce an approved list of candidates in June.
See also the article in the EUObserver.com.