Oomen is a former Member of the European Parliament. As a MEP, she was a member of the bureau of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) group, she was a member of the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs, and a substitute member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.
Previously, she was a member of the House of Representatives (June 1981 – September 1989). She dealt mainly with social affairs.
From May 1985, she was chair of The Dutch Foundation for Consumer Complaints Boards (De Geschillencommissie). The Foundation deals with consumer complaints and complaints between enterprises. From January 2013 Hein Blocks succeeded her as chair.
Ria Oomen-Ruijten was born in St. Joost (Echt, province of Limburg in the Netherlands) on September 6, 1950. She obtained a higher vocational diploma in Communication and Public Relations. She studied in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
Work and politics
From 1974 to 1981, Ria Oomen-Ruijten worked for Provincial Electricity Company (PLEM) as Public Relations Assistant. She became a member of the Politician Youth Organization of the Catholic People´s Party, one of the predecessors of the Christian Democratic Appeal, and was elected Chairman of the newly founded youth organization of the Christian Democrats before becoming a member of the Dutch House of Representatives in 1981. She was the youngest member at the time and particularly active in the field of social affairs.
In 1989, Ria Oomen-Ruijten moved to the European Parliament, where she was elected on behalf of the CDA within the Group of the European People's Party (EPP). Between 1989 and 1999, she was Vice President of the EPP. Ria Oomen-Ruijten was also Vice Chairman of the Committees for Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection and the temporary Committee Genetics. Furthermore, she was also a member of the Committee for Social Affairs and Employment and the Commission for Equal Rights of Women. She was a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Delegation for the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee. She was also the European Parliament rapporteur for the possible accession of Turkey to the European Union and for EU pensions, making her one of the most experienced members of the European Parliament to date.
Ria Oomen-Ruijten was one of the candidates to become European Ombudsman in 2013. In her nomination, Oomen-Ruijten said, "I believe that these are times where the bond between the EU and its citizens must be further reinforced so that, through access, transparency and renewed dialogue, the citizens of the EU can not only maintain a sense of understanding, trust and partnership with the EU, but also recommit to a European vision and a European common future." (4) She lost the election in the final round to the Irish Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly.
On 1 July 2014, she left the European Parliament after 25 years.
Besides her function as MEP, Ria Oomen-Ruijten remains active in several other fields. She is Chairwoman of various social welfare and non-governmental organizations such as the Foundation for the Support and Archers Guild Commission (SAS). She is also committed her to numerous administrative activities in social and cultural institutions.
From May 1985, Ria Oomen was chair of The Dutch Foundation for Consumer Complaints Boards (De Geschillencommissie). The Foundation deals with consumer complaints and complaints between enterprises. From January 2013 Mr Hein Blocks succeeded Ria Oomen-Ruijten as chair.
Ria Oomen-Ruijten keeps her voters frequently up to date with her activities within for the Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg by issuing a monthly newsletter www.riaoomen.nl. On 29 April 1994, Ria Oomen-Ruijten was appointed Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion. Since April 2004, she is also Grand Officer of the Order of Merit (blue-white cross) from Luxembourg, an award from the European Union. Ria Oomen-Ruijten is a widow of Steph Oomen.
- Higher vocational diploma as PR information/communications assistant
- National Chairwoman, CDA Youth Federation and member of CDA federation administrative committee (1976)
- Member of the Second Chamber and member of CDA parliamentary party executive (1981–1989)
- Chairwoman of The Dutch Foundation for Consumer Complaints Boards (1985-2013)
- Member of EPP Council and Member of EPP Bureau (1989–1999)
- Member of the European Parliament (1989-2014)
- Member of the Bureau of the EPP Group (1989–1999)
- Chairwoman of various social welfare and non-governmental organisations
- Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion (1994)
- Member of the Senate (2015–present)
- (in Dutch) Parlement.com biography