The Complainers

When it comes to the European Union, Poles have plenty to complain about – 214 things, to be exact. At least, that was the number of complaints filed by Polish citizens, companies or NGOs to the European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, in 2007. In comparison to other countries in the EU, Poland ranked fourth in the number of complaints filed with 7% of the total, behind Germany (16%), Spain (11%), and France (8%), though when the number of complaints was related proportionally to population, Poland placed 18th out of the 27 countries of the EU.

In total, the Ombudsman received 3,211 complaints in 2007, with the majority faulting the lack of transparency in EU institutions, particularly public access to information or documents; unfairness or abuse of power, unsatisfactory procedures, and avoidable delay were other common complaints. The Ombudsman receives and mediates grievances concerting maladministration by European Community institutions or bodies; the majority of the complaints received accuse the European Commission of wrongdoing. In the end, most cases end up either showing no maladministration to be found, or are settled by the institution once the problem is disclosed by the Ombudsman.

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