Human rights: What is the European Ombudsman for?

4 August 2010 - The European Disability Movement met the European Ombudsman to make sure rights of persons with disabilities will be better protected in Europe. Since 1995, the Ombudsman has to investigate complaints about the administration of the EU institutions. How does that work? Can he really improve the life of persons with disabilities in Europe?

What is the Ombudsman’s job?

Did you ever notice or experience maladministration on the grounds of discrimination, administrative irregularities, unfairness, abuse of power, failure to reply, refusal of information or unnecessary delay?

Your European citizenship gives you the right to ask the European Ombudsman to investigate EU institution. Each year he receives about 4,000 complaints.

The European Ombudsman cannot investigate complaints against national, regional or local administrations in the Member States, even when the complaints are about EU matters. Many of these complaints could be addressed to national or regional ombudsmen or committees on petitions in national or regional parliaments. Contact details for all national and regional ombudsmen and committees on petitions in the EU are available on the European Ombudsman's website:

As he stated, he “very often deals with alleged breaches of civil rights, socio economic rights, as well as discrimination and equality issues, protection of people with disabilities, children, and prisoners”.

How can he support the disability movement?

In order to monitor how the rights of persons with disabilities could be better protected at the European level, EDF President, Yannis Vardakastannis met the Euro Ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamandouros, earlier this year. EDF addressed Mr. Diamandouros with recommendations for its future strategy.

Therefore, the disability movement asked him to focus on:

EDF hopes that the Ombudsman’s Office will take these few suggestions onboard in future strategy.

Read more about the previous EDF - Ombudsman cooperation:


Source: EDF