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 9: From maladministration to good administration: retrospective reflections on a ten-year journey

P. Nikiforos Diamandouros


This chapter has two main goals: first, to record retrospective reflections on my ten-year tenure as European Ombudsman and on my efforts to situate ‘good administration’ at the very centre of the European Union’s administrative culture. Second, to complement this account with some brief, general reflections concerning the nature of the European Ombudsman institution and the broader, systemic challenges and dilemmas, which, in my view, it faces diachronically, irrespective of individual incumbents. The chapter’s central intellectual argument is that ‘good administration’ should be conceptualized as a set of principles, which are distinct from legal rules and go beyond the minimum requirements prescribed by them. They are, more specifically, deeply informed by ethical considerations, are systematically driven by the search for fair solutions to citizens’ problems, and are meant to serve as guidelines for, inter alia, European Union civil servants in their daily contacts with citizens.

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