On September 14, 2009, the European Ombudsman appeared before the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament to present the Annual Report for the year 2008. The presentation is available here.
According to the presentation, the Ombudsman closed a record number of inquiries in 2008 – 355 – with most taking less than a year. The Ombudsman registered a total of 3,406 complaints during the year in question, which represents a 6% increase compared to 2007. In almost 80% of cases registered, they were able to help the complainant by opening an inquiry into the case, transferring it to a competent body, or giving advice on where to turn.
An important aspect of the presentation was that in 2008 by far the most common allegation examined was lack of transparency in the EU administration. This allegation arose in 36% of all inquiries and included refusal of information or documents. This finding supports conclusions scholars have reached with respect to a perceived lack of transparency in the EU administration. The Ombudsman himself stated: “It is with a certain degree of concern that I have noted the high number of complaints alleging lack of transparency. After all, an accountable and transparent EU administration is key to building citizens’ trust in the EU.”