Where a dispute between actors involved in EU-financed external action programmes cannot be settled, it is possible to bring a complaint before the European Ombudsman. S/he investigates complaints about maladministration in EU institutions, bodies, offices, and agencies.
Maladministration occurs when a public body fails to act in accordance with a rule or principle which is binding upon it.
This covers for instance administrative irregularities, unfairness, discrimination, abuse of power, failure to reply, refusal of information or unnecessary delays.
Any citizen or resident of the EU and any business, association or other body with a registered office in the EU can lodge a complaint.
The Ombudsman can only deal with complaints concerning EU administration and not with complaints about national, regional or local administrations, even when the complaints concern EU matters.
Complaints must be submitted within two years after becoming aware of the facts on which the complaint is based.
Complainants must first contact the EU institution concerned to try and resolve the matter.
Complaints can be submitted in writing, or online via a complaint form available on the European Ombudsman’s website. Interested parties can also obtain information, without having to submit a request, through the interactive guide on the same website.