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18 March 2011

Ombudsman: 72% of European citizens do not feel well informed about the Charter of Fundamental Rights

The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has highlighted that 72% of European citizens do not feel well informed about the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This is one of the initial findings of a survey about citizens' rights which was commissioned by the Ombudsman and the European Parliament. The survey also shows that a further 13% of citizens have never even heard of the Charter.

The Ombudsman presented these figures at an event entitled "Is the Lisbon Treaty delivering for citizens?", which he organised in Brussels. The keynote speaker at the event was the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy. Viviane Reding, the Vice-President of the European Commission, and Diana Wallis, the Vice-President of the European Parliament, were among the speakers.

Mr Diamandouros commented: "According to the survey, 42% of those questioned are not satisfied with the level of transparency in the EU administration. This, together with the lack of information about the Charter, is very disconcerting. It is obvious that the Ombudsman, in partnership with the other EU institutions and the European Network of Ombudsmen, still has a lot more to do to inform citizens about their rights."

How to bring EU citizens closer to the European Union

The Treaty of Lisbon and the Charter of Fundamental Rights were introduced with the aim of bringing citizens closer to the European Union. They provide for an increased dialogue between civil society and the European Union level, promote stronger citizen involvement in EU decision making, for example, through the European Citizens' Initiative.

In addition, the Treaty and the Charter aim at a more transparent, accountable, and citizen-friendly EU administration. One third of the citizens who responded to the survey stated that the new right to good administration is the most important citizens' right for them. Only the right to move and reside freely in the EU received a higher score.

The full results of the Ombudsman's survey will be presented later this year.

The European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration in the EU institutions and bodies. Any EU citizen, resident, or an enterprise or association in a Member State, can lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman offers a fast, flexible and free means of solving problems with the EU administration. For more information:

For press inquiries: Ms Gundi Gadesmann, Media and External Relations Officer, tel.: +32 2 284 26 09

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