Marias, Epaminondas. (1994) The European Ombudsman. EIPAScope 1994(1):pp.1-6. pp. 1-6.
The European Ombudsman is one of the most important institutional novelties introduced by the Maastricht Treaty. Its origins can be found in the Spanish proposal on European Citizenship, submitted in the framework of the Intergovernmental Conference on Political Union in 1991. According to the Spanish proposal, the adoption of a catalogue on special rights of the citizens of the European Union should have been accompanied by the establishment of special bodies responsible for safeguarding these rights. It can hardly be denied that the criticisms regarding the bureaucratization and remoteness of the Community institutions, with the exception of the European Parliament, are reasonable and justified. The ongoing process of European integration and the decisions on closer political union adopted in Maastricht led to debates regarding transparency in the functioning of the Council and the Commission. The process of European integration and the further enlargement of the European Union can only succeed if they have the full support of the citizens of the Union. It was in this context that the establishment of the European Ombudsman was decided upon two years ago in Maastricht. The European Ombudsman, along with the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament, are non-judicial bodies, competent to safeguard citizens' political, civil and social rights vis-à-vis the Community institutions. These non-judicial bodies, together with the judicial system of the Community, constitute a broad spectrum guaranteeing the participation of the citizens in the everyday life of the Union.
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