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Greece

TRANSFORMATION AND ENHANCEMENT OF THE FOUNDING LAW OF THE GREEK OMBUDSMAN (ACT 3103/2003)

On January 8, 2003, following the Constitutional empowerment of the Greek Ombudsman in the spring of 2001 (see Article 103 par. 9 and Article 101A of the Greek Constitution), a new law (ACT 3103/2003) was enacted by the Greek Parliament. This new law transforms the Authority’s founding law 2477/1997.

The transformation and enhancement of law 2477/1997 was judged necessary for two reasons: first, because the new constitutional provisions require the alteration of its outdated elements. Second, as a matter of a political choice, it was deemed necessary, based on the five-year experience of operation of the Authority, that the areas of its jurisdiction outlined in its foundational law should be changed and expanded. Thus, the most significant innovation included in the newly introduced law is the expansion of the Ombudsman jurisdiction over issues concerning the rights of the child, as they are provided by the Greek Constitution, the European Union legislation and the International Agreements and Conventions ratified by our country. (Including the 1969 UN International Convention on the Rights of the Child).

It is important to point out that the aforementioned expansion of the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction refers to the transformation of the theoretical basis of its operation in regards to this aspect alone. That is, the mediatory role of the Ombudsman, as far as the rights of the children are concerned, will not be restricted in the realm of public services but it will be expanded in the realm of private citizens.

ELECTION OF EUROPEAN OMBUDSMAN

On January 15, 2003, Professor Nikiforos Diamandouros was elected by the European Parliament as the new European Ombudsman. He received 294 votes of total 535 votes.

The new European Ombudsman was the first National Ombudsman of Greece as of May 1997. The Authority was established under his leadership.

He is professor of comparative politics at the department of Political Science and Public Administration of the University of Athens. He had served as director and chairman of the Greek National Center for Social Research (E.K.K.E) from 1995 to 1998

Professor N. Diamandouros will replace Mr. Jacob Soederman who is retiring, after serving seven years as the EU’s first Ombudsman, on March 31, 2003. His tenure coincides with the end of the current parliamentary term, in 2004. One of the first duties of the new EU Ombudsman will be to take the oath before the European Court of Justice.

After his election professor N. Diamandouros promised to use his experience in Greece in order curtail abuses of power by EU bureaucrats and address complaints lodged by citizens and other institutions.

 

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