An ombudsman is a civil servant who considers complaints from ordinary citizens against the public authorities.
The European Ombudsman was established by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993. The first elected was Jacob Söderman, a former Finnish Minister of Justice. He retired in 2003, and was replaced by the Greek Ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamandouros.
The European Parliament normally appoints the Ombudsman for a full election period Nikiforos Diamandouros was re-elected in 2004 after the European Parliamentary elections and stopped in 2013. He was succeeded by the first woman ombudsman from Ireland, Emily O`Reilly.
The first European Ombudsman proposed reforms to the EU institutions and a more modern law on administrative practices in public administration to encourage transparency and more modern administration.