Brenninkmeijer has been the ombudsman of the Netherlands since 2005. He began his second six-year term in 2011, after receiving the backing of the Dutch parliament. A lawyer, he has spent most of his career in the academic world and also served as a judge, including at the Dutch central social security tribunal, of which he was vice-president in 1995-2000. In 1992-95, he was professor for civil procedural law at the University of Amsterdam; in 1995-2000, he was professor for constitutional and administrative law at the University of Leiden, including two years as dean of the law school. He has written a book on mediation. Brenninkmeijer has been president of the European board of the International Ombudsman Institute since last year.
Jaeger, who has a background in law, has been head of the Council of Europe’s migration co-ordination division since last year. The German has been with the Council of Europe since 1989, with a gap in 2000-02 during which he was deputy legal director and acting general counsel of Interpol. In 2002-09, he served as deputy to the director of the office of the Council’s commissioner for human rights, tasked, among other things, with building a peer-to-peer network of ombudsmen in the Council’s 47 member states. In 2009-11, he was head of co-operation with national ombudsmen in the Council’s human rights department. He has also overseen human-rights training for the staff of national ombudsmen.
O’Reilly is Ireland’s national ombudsman. She was appointed by the Irish president in 2003 and is on her second six-year term. On both occasions she received the unanimous backing of the parliament. O’Reilly’s nomination has the support of 80 MEPs, compared with more than 100 for each of the three nominees who are sitting MEPs. A former journalist and broadcaster, O’Reilly won a Nieman journalism fellowship at Harvard University in 1988 and serves on the advisory board of the Nieman programme. She graduated in European languages from University College Dublin and holds a graduate diploma in education from Trinity College Dublin. O’Reilly, a mother of five, speaks French, Irish and Spanish.
A Christian Democrat, Oomen-Ruijten has been an MEP since 1989, having served in the Dutch House of Representatives in 1981-89. As a member of the European Parliament’s foreign-affairs committee, she has been the lead MEP on Turkey since 2007. She is also a member of the delegation to the EU-Russia parliamentary co-operation committee. In 1992-99, she served as first vice-president of the centre-right European People’s Party group. She has focused in her parliamentary work on environmental and consumer issues, healthcare and social issues, and Turkey and Russia. Earlier this year, Oomen-Ruijten stood down as chairwoman of the Dutch Foundation for Consumer Complaints Boards after almost three decades in the job.
Roth-Behrendt has been an MEP since 1989, representing a central Berlin district for the German Social Democrats. A lawyer by training, in the European Parliament she has focused on the environment and consumer protection, but also on administration and staffing. She served twice (in 2004-07 and 2009-12) as a Parliament vice-president in charge of personnel matters, and is currently lead MEP on reform of the EU’s staff regulations. She is also preparing a report on improving the efficiency of the Parliament’s administration. Roth-Behrendt, one of the longest-serving MEPs, announced in March that she would not stand for re-election next year. She is married to Horst Reichenbach, head of the European Commission’s taskforce for Greece.
Speroni, a lawyer, has been an MEP for the Lega Nord since 1999, having also been an MEP in 1989-94. He is co-chairman of the Europe for Freedom and Democracy group and vice-chairman of the delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. Speroni was minister for institutional reform in the first government of Silvio Berlusconi in 1994-95 and a member of the Italian Senate in 1992-99. He has also served on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Speroni has courted controversy with comments about the need for the armed protection of Italy’s borders against migrants, and about Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, and whose ideas, according to Speroni, were concerned with the defence of western civilisation.
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