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Tomorrow is Emily O'Reilly's first day as European Ombudsman

O’Reilly said today that she will focus on bridging the cap between citizens and EU institutions.

Image: Irish Jesuits via Flickr

EMILY O’REILLY WILL start her work as European Ombudsman tomorrow, stepping down as Irish Ombudsman after ten years.

Commenting on her new role today, O’Reilly said Europe is not only facing an “economic crisis but also a crisis of political legitimacy”.

“Negativity and division are rising across Europe, the trust of citizens in European institutions is declining, and many feel their voice simply does not count,” she said. “This makes 2014 a crucial year for Europe and the future of the European Union. One of my proactive roles as Ombudsman is to highlight citizens’ concerns and help bridge the wide gap between them and the EU institutions.”

Each year, the European Ombudsman receives around 2,500 complaints from citizens, businesses, NGOs, universities, municipalities and other entities. More than 450 investigations are launched annually with many of these based on complaints about lack of transparency in the EU institutions, including refusal of access to documents or information.

Other cases concern problems with EU programmes or projects, discrimination, or conflicts of interest in the EU administration.

Any EU citizen, resident, enterprise or association in a Member State can lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman.

Read: Next stop Strasbourg: Emily O’Reilly wins vote to become new EU Ombudsman>

Read: Want to be the next Ombudsman? Search to replace Emily O’Reilly begins>

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