Promoting Democracy through the Work of the EU Ombudsman





The  EU  is  in  an  economic,  social  and  political  crisis,  and  there  are  vital  expectations  to  enhance  and  restore  trust,  openness  and  transparency.  The  EU  bodies  which  bring  the  EU  and  its  citizens  closer  to  each  other  gain  even  more  importance.  This  paper  will  demonstrate  that  alternative  dispute-resolution forums, like the office of the EU Ombudsman, have a multidirectional function. It was established to strengthen the fundamental rights of citizens and to enhance a more citizen--friendly EU administration. The analysis highlights the forum’s importance in changing horizontal relations  between  different  stakeholders  into  vertical  during  its  procedure,  for  instance  between  EU institutions and EU citizens. The presentation of research explores these relations by analysing complaint cases and the EU Ombudsman-related cases of the CJEU. The paper argues that the right to complain to the EU Ombudsman, who is a direct link between EU institutions and EU citizens, and the potential of changing the above-mentioned functions, can strengthen the trust of Member States’ citizens and help them identify as European citizens. The cornerstone of this argument are the relations between the EU citizens, institutions and the Ombudsman.