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Ireland's EU ombudsman decribes the "art" of dealing with EU bureaucracy

This comes on the first anniversary of Emily O’Reilly’s time in the position.

Irish EU Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly
Irish EU Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall

IRELAND’S EMILY O’REILLY is set to celebrate her first anniversary of being appointed the European Ombudsman.

In her position O’Reilly has the responsibility of dealing with complaints that are brought forward about EU institutions by citizens, NGOs, associations and companies.

Speaking about her first year in the position, O’Reilly described the difficulties faced in dealing with bureaucracy: ”You have to be able to persuade, coax and cajole sometimes reluctant institutions to change long-standing mind-sets or to be more open in their decision making. This is where being an ombudsman can seem more like an art than a science.”

The position places O’Reilly at the interface between EU bureaucracy and public demand. 

Another area identified as difficult after a year in office was the transparency of EU institutions. On this O’Reilly said, “there is still a lot to do in the transparency field in terms of giving citizens the information they need.”

On Friday O’Reilly opened up a public consultation process over a new trade deal that is set to come into place between the US and EU. It is thought that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could provide a boost of over €100 billion to the European economy.

The Ombudsman’s office is currently involved in the TTIP to “enhance the transparency” of the deal. It is thought that the negotiation could have a “significant impact on the lives of citizens”.

Speaking earlier this year at the Women’s Executive Network’s Ireland’s Most Powerful Women: Top 25 event in Dublin O’Reilly hit out at the pressure on women to place prioritise raising children over professional development.

The EU Ombudsman is appointed by the European Parliament. O’Reilly previously served as a national ombudsman for a decade between 2003 and 2013. O’Reilly’s time in the position will last until the end of the year. 

Complaints about EU bodies can be lodged through the ombudsman’s office here. 

Read: Joan Burton: ‘We’re the strongest growing economy in Europe at this point’

Also: Ireland needs to send a new judge to the European Court of Human Rights

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