Strengthening European Identity? The Non-Judicial Procedure of the EU Ombudsman

Réka Friedery

As the EU faces its deepest crises on economic, social and political grounds, there are growing expectations vis-a-vis the EU to keep and enhance trust, openness and visibility. In this efforts means which take the EU and its citizens closer to each other gain even more importance than before and forums like non-judicial forums which have been established to build trust between the EU institutions and citizens, take important part in this process. It is demonstrated that the alternative dispute resolution forum of the EU Ombudsman has multidirectional function. It was established to strengthening the rights of citizens, and the paper highlights the forum's important role in changing horizontal relations into vertical ones between the different stakeholders, namely between the EU institutions and the citizens during its procedure. The paper explores these relations with analysing complaint cases and the EU Ombudsman-related cases of the CJEU. The paper argues that the right to complain to the EU Ombudsman, the latter being a direct link between the EU institutions and citizens, and the potential of changing the above mentioned positions can strengthen European identity.

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