Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

European Ombudsman: Complaints about the EU

EU ombudsman

What is a European Ombudsman, and what does he do?

The European Ombudsman investigates complaints against the institutions and bodies of the European Union (EU).

He cannot investigate complaints against national, regional or local administrations in Greece, even when the complaints are about EU matters. Many of these complaints should be addressed to the Greek Ombudsman or regional committees set up by Parliament or local prefecture.


Article covers:

  • Who can lodge a complaint
  • Where and how to file
  • What claimants can expect

What institutions does this include?

The institutions and bodies of the EU include the:

* European Parliament
* Council of the European Union
* European Commission
* Court of Justice of the European Communities (except in its judicial role)
* European Court of Auditors
* European Economic and Social Committee
* Committee of the Regions of the European Union
* European Investment Bank
* European Central Bank
* European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO)
* European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)
* European Police Office (Europol)
* Decentralized agencies (such as the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, the European Environment Agency, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, etc.)

Who can lodge a complaint?

If you are a citizen or resident of an EU Member State, you can register a complaint with the European Ombudsman about maladministration in the activities of the EU institutions and bodies. Businesses, associations or other bodies with a registered office in the Union may also complain to the Ombudsman.

What complaints are handled?

Complaints regarding poor or failed administration, which can occur when an institution fails to act in accordance with the law, respect the principles of good administration, or violates human rights.

  • administrative irregularities
  • unfairness
  • discrimination
  • abuse of power
  • failure to reply
  • refusal of information
  • unnecessary delay

What can I expect?

The Ombudsman will contact the institution concerned about a complaint in order to resolve the problem. If the case is not resolved satisfactorily, the Ombudsman will try to mediate a friendly solution that satisfies the complainant. If the attempt at conciliation fails, the Ombudsman can make recommendations to solve the case. If the institution does not accept his recommendations, he can make a special report to the European Parliament.

How to contact the European Ombudsman

1. By mail
The European Ombudsman
1 Avenue du Président Robert Schuman
B.P. 403
FR-67001 Strasbourg Cedex

2. By telephone
+33 (0) 3 88 17 23 13

3. By fax
+33 (0) 3 88 17 90 62

4. Website

5. File online
Online complaint form

These languages are available: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, and Swedish.

Other articles

After I published this article in October 2007, Kathimerini followed and did a similar story in May 2008, with a Q & A about Greece.


The ombudsman is Greek, and his name is P. Nikoforos Diamondouros.

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