|On November 8, 2006, the Center for the Study of Democracy organized a round table discussion on The National Ombudsman: A Mechanism for Good Administrative Services and Corruption-Free Administration with a guest speaker Prof. Giorgos Kaminis, Greek Ombudsman.|
In her opening remarks CSD Law Program Director Dr. Maria Yordanova dwelt on the long process of cooperation between the Center and the office of the Greek Ombudsman which contributed to the elaboration and approval of the Bulgarian Law on the Ombudsman and the establishment of the institution in the country. She pointed out that the discussion was intended to focus on the specific mechanism available to the ombudsman for ensuring compliance with EU standards of good administrative behavior, the ways to improve administrative services to citizens and simultaneously to curb corruption.
Prof. Kaminis made an overview of the institution and its activities since its inception eight years ago in Greece, noting the specific historic and political conditions that have determined its development. He stressed that the ombudsman must be an essentially independent, respected and creditable figure supported by highly qualified and morally impeccable staff in order to win both the public’s confidence and the administration’s reliance and be able to keep the latter in check. Some of the key activities of the Greek ombudsman in recent years are related to social security, tax policy, public procurement, public works and environmental issues.
Mr. Ginyo Ganev, Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria, acknowledged the support of the Greek Ombudsman to their counterpart office in Bulgaria. He underlined that the Center for the Study of Democracy should be particularly credited for helping root the ombudsman institution in Bulgarian public life. The Bulgarian ombudsman makes notable input in the work of both governmental and parliamentary anti-corruption bodies and presses for the adoption of adequate anti-corruption regulations and the removal of legislative provisions that may be encouraging corrupt behavior among the administration.
The discussion benefited from the remarks of Mr. Metin Kazak, Deputy Ombudsman of Bulgaria, CSD Chairman Dr. Ognian Shentov, ombudsman office staff, and CSD experts. Mr. Kaminis replied to participants’ questions and emphasized again the ombudsman’s key role in human rights protection, simplifying administrative procedures, and making the administration transparent to public scrutiny and therefore more accountable.