Accountability in the EU
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Accountability in the EU

The Role of the European Ombudsman

Edited by Herwig C.H. Hofmann and Jacques Ziller

In the first interdisciplinary work focused on the European Ombudsman, expert observers of EU institutional affairs provide a thorough evaluation of the Ombudsman and its constitutional role, powers, activities and future potential. The book addresses the Ombudsman’s impact on accountability in the EU’s executive branch and offers new suggestions for the further development of the practice of ‘ombuds review’.
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Chapter 2: The European Ombudsman: a resilient institution in a turbulent, evolving administrative order

Jarle Trondal and Anchrit Wille

Abstract

One relatively unstudied development in the European Union’s evolving multilayered administrative system is the development of the ombudsman as a core institution of governance. At the national level, nearly all EU Member States have introduced an ombudsman. At the supranational level, there has been a European Ombudsman (EO) since 1995. This chapter sheds light on the strategies with which the EO proves itself able to build its capacity and adjust its institution successfully to the changing politico-administrative context. Drawing on an analysis of documents and a secondary analysis of existing empirical data, this chapter examines the institutional development of the EO over the past two decades. This chapter describes, first, the turbulent expansion of the European Union’s administrative system in terms of both administrative and accountability institutions. It then focuses on the EO’s development as an institutional ombudsman by examining three elements of its accountability capacity, together with the external, turbulent environment and political context in which it exists. The internal turbulence within the system may be seen in both the way the system is set up (administrative order and accountability landscape) and the way it works (accountability practices).

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