Next Tuesday and Wednesday the European Parliament will elect the European Ombudsman. Instead of supporting the independent and successful incumbent Emily O’Reilly, the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) nominated Cecilia Wikström as their own candidate.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
„With their candidate Wikström, the Christian Democrats could cause lasting damage to the office of the European Ombudsman. Wikström is absolutely unsuitable for this important office. The European Ombudsman must be independent and have integrity. As Wikström has served as an MEP in the last legislature, so she is not independent, but a political candidate of the EPP. The former liberal MEP Wikström was no longer nominated by the Swedish liberals for the May election because she did not want to give up her seat on two company boards. An election by Wikström would damage the office of European Ombudsman in the long run.
The incumbent O’Reilly has earned a great reputation in all political groups during her tenure. Especially in the scandal surrounding Martin Selmayr’s rapid appointment, she sharply criticised those responsible and defended the democratic principles of the EU. O’Reilly was also always on the side of transparency and citizens when it came to the member states‘ secrecy regarding pesticide registration. This consistent defence of European values seems to be a thorn in the side of many in the EPP. For Brussels, it would be an unusual and strange not to renew the mandate of a successful office holder. A long settling-in period is certainly not in the interest of citizens, who should be the main concern of the EU ombudsman irrespective of party disputes.“