Europos Sąjungos ombudsmeno institucija.
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The European Ombudsman was established by the Maastricht Treaty to deal with complaints about maladministration by the institutions and bodies of the European Community. First ombudsman was elected the first European Ombudsman in 1995. Office deals with grievances from citizens, companies, organisations and public authorities. Each dispute settled, each letter answered, each bill paid, each document released, each administrative reform made as a result of the Ombudsman’s inquiries has meant one more satisfied citizen. Be it shorter deadlines for payment, wider access to documents or fairer procedures, the last seven years have seen positive changes in the way that the Community’s administration is run. This improvement brings us closer to realising the fundamental right of every European citizen to good administration, as laid down in the Nice Charter. This guide highlights the Ombudsman’s efforts in recent years to solve citizens’ problems with the Community’s administration. The European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration by the institutions and bodies of the European Community. Maladministration occurs when a public body fails to act in accordance with a rule or principle, which is binding upon it. Any citizen of a Member State of the European Union or are living in a Member State, can complain to the Ombudsman. Businesses, associations or other bodies with a registered office in the Union can also complain. If an institution fails to do something it should have done, if it does it in the wrong way or if it does something it should not have done, there may be reason to complain to the Ombudsman. Some of the most common problems he deals with are unnecessary delay, refusal of information, discrimination and abuse of power. A complaint must be made within two years of the date when you got to know the facts on which your complaint is based and you must already have contacted the institution or body. The European Ombudsman examines complaints against the Community institutions and bodies. He cannot investigate complaints against national, regional or local authorities, even when the complaints are about Community law. The Ombudsman investigates complaints against: • The European Commission, • The Council of the European Union, • The European Parliament, • The Court of Auditors, • The Court of Justice (except in its judicial role), • The European Economic and Social Committee, • The Committee of the Regions, • The European Central Bank, • The European Investment Bank, • Europol, • Any other Community Body. When the Ombudsman tells the relevant institution about a complaint he has received, it can take steps to resolve the problem. This is called settled by the institution. If maladministration is found and the case is not settled during the inquiry, the Ombudsman tries to find a friendly solution to satisfy you. If this fails, he can make a draft recommendation to the institution, calling on it to take the necessary steps to put the maladministration right. If the institution does not accept his recommendation, he can make a special report to the European Parliament. If a friendly solution is not possible and the maladministration cannot be put right, the Ombudsman can address a critical remark to the institution. If the European Ombudsman is not able to investigate the complaint – for example, if it concerns national, regional or local administrations in the Member States – he will do his best to advise you of another body that could help. This may be a national or regional ombudsman or committee on petitions. To set a good example of public service, the Ombudsman deals with complaints as quickly as possible. He aims to: 1. acknowledge the receipt of complaints within one week, 2. decide whether to open an inquiry within one month, 3. close inquiries within one year. Complaints can be written to the Ombudsman in any of the Treaty languages of the Union, setting out clearly the complainant, institution or body of the European Community and the grounds for complaint. Since the post was established in 1995, the Ombudsman has dealt with over 10 000 complaints. The matters raised have ranged from tax provisions to project funding and from competition law to sex discrimination. The problems that arise most frequently concern late payment, contractual disputes, arbitrary discrimination and lack of information. The following section gives an overview of the results the Ombudsman has achieved in his key areas of activity. The European Union has firmly committed itself to respecting fundamental rights. In December 2000, the Presidents of the Union’s three main institutions – the Commission, the Parliament and the Council – proclaimed the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in Nice. This makes it clear for citizens what fundamental rights the EU institutions and bodies should respect. The Ombudsman has been active in ensuring that the charter is taken seriously by the institutions that proclaimed it. Constantly reminding them of the promises they made to European citizens, he applies pressure so that the institutions prove in practice that they respect the charter in their daily work.
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