O’Reilly among favourites for ombudsman job in Europe
Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly. seeking support ahead of next week’s vote. Photograph: Frank Miller
Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly is campaigning for support from MEPs in Brussels in advance of next week’s vote on the post of European Ombudsman.
With the first vote scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Ms O Reilly is seen as a favourite for the position.
She gave informal presentations to the European Parliament’s main political groupings on Wednesday following her formal presentation to the petitions committee earlier this month.
Six candidates, including three sitting MEPs, are competing for the €250,000- a-year job.
Dutch MEP Ria Oomen- Ruijten, a member of the European Parliament’s largest political grouping, the European People’s Party is expected to garner most votes, with German MEP Dagmar Roth- Behrendt, a member of the Socialists and Democrats group a close second.
Ms O’ Reilly is the clear favourite of the three independent candidates, having delivered a well-received performance at the petitions committee earlier this month.
However, it is expected Ms O’ Reilly could benefit if the ballot goes to a second vote.
If no candidate gets the 50 per cent required for a majority in the first vote, it is envisaged that up to three candidates could be eliminated, with Ms O’ Reilly attracting their votes.
This could push Ireland’s Ombudsman ahead of Ms Roth-Behrendt who would then be eliminated, with Ms O’ Reilly potentially attracting her party’s vote.
The European Ombudsman is responsible for investigating public complaints about the European Institutions and various EU agencies.
While the successful candidate will take up the Strasbourg-based position in the autumn, the resignation of outgoing ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros before the end of the current parliament means the successful candidate will have to be re-elected next year, following the May 2014 European elections.
A former journalist, Ms O’Reilly has been Ireland’s Ombudsman since 2003.
This article was ammended on June 28th, 2013