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Inaugural Jean Monnet Lecture: EU accountability: an Ombudsman perspective

Venue: Online

Ms Emily O’Reilly, European Ombudsman will give the inaugural Jean Monnet lecture.

Under the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht) that created this institution, the European Ombudsman was ‘empowered to receive complaints from any citizen of the Union or any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State concerning instances of maladministration in the activities of the Community institutions or bodies, with the exception of the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance acting in their judicial role.’  During its nearly three-decade history , the institution has played a major but often unnoticed role in shaping the evolving institutional architecture of the European Union.  The European Ombudsman has made major efforts to protect the EU from many of the problems encountered by many advanced liberal democracies, most notably by

·       improving transparency in EU decision making, including in terms of law making in the Council of Ministers (i.e. the EU institution where national governments shape EU legislation), decision making in the Eurogroup (where finance ministers of the member states of the Eurozone make consequential decisions), trade negotiations between the EU and non-EU countries as well as how EU governments decide on annual fishing quotas;

·       promoting higher ethical standards in EU administration (e.g. via tighter ethics rules for European Commissioners, improved enforcement of rules regarding 'revolving doors', and guidelines for EU civil servants on how to interact with lobbyists;

·       fostering participatory democracy and respect for fundamental rights at EU level.


Ms Emily O’Reilly – first elected by the European Parliament in 2013 and re-elected in 2014 and 2019 – has been instrumental (despite robust opposition, often coming from the governments of the member states of the EU) in this process and this is why she has been invited to give the inaugural Jean Monnet lecture under the auspices of Birkbeck’s Jean Monnet Chair in Parliamentary Democracy and European Integration. 

With the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union

This event will be held online.  Access is free of charge but registration is required. 

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