Last week the European Parliament voted with an overwhelming majority 501 to 28, with 72 abstentions, Marlene Mizzi’ s Report on the annual activities of the European Ombudsman.
The Vice-President of the Commission Frans Timmermans and the European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly both highly praised the excellent report and work of Marlene Mizzi at an extensive debate the day before the vote. ‘’I would like to thank Marlene Mizzi for a really excellent report which helps us improve the service we provide to our citizens,’’ said the Commissioner Timmermans.
Members of the Parliament from different political groups agreed that this Report has a real added value, and is of strategic importance for the strengthening the work of the European Ombudsman and the EU administration.
MEP Marlene Mizzi said that ‘’the European Ombudsman is the guardian of good administration ensuring that the EU institutions function properly and do not encroach upon citizens’ rights. Maintaining citizen’s trust in the EU institutions – especially at a time of a general scepticism of the Union project – must be our ultimate goal. We can start building this trust by guaranteeing citizens the right of good administration at the highest standards. We all have an obligation to represent European citizens in everything we do.”
The report of MEP Marlene Mizzi provides valuable recommendations on improving transparency, openness, access to information and documents, respect for the rights of citizens and high ethical standards in the EU institutions. All those areas are still listed as the top citizens’ concerns in the cases investigated by the European Ombudsman.
“We need to commit to improve the way in which the EU administration works, placing citizens at its heart. We need to make sure that we work more transparently, that we are more accountable and that we react immediately when the highest standards are not met. We are on the right path and that is what should be the conclusion of this journey. But let’s also not fool ourselves. The EU has still yet to strive to achieve the highest level of accountability and transparency,” said MEP Mizzi.
The Report also notes the maladministration with regard to the Code of Conduct for Commissioners. “When it comes to ‘revolving door’phenomenon or conflicts of interest, it is clear that the highest moral and ethical standards need to apply to all EU institutions. We need to secure respect, and this can only be done through absolute integrity and full independence from the private sector. We want to see a revision of the Code of Conduct of Commissioners,” said Marlene Mizzi.
MEP Mizzi’s Report also calls for a European legislation on the protection of whistle-blowers, which should set out appropriate channels and procedures for reporting all forms of maladministration. Last but not least, the Report calls on the Ombudsman to further help in the fight against sexual harassment and abuse in the EU institutions.