At the invitation of the Government of Timor-Leste, the European Union established a mission to observe the presidential elections there on 14 April 2002.
On 14 April 2002, by holding presidential elections, East Timor took the third and final step towards the establishment of democratic institutions in the country prior to independence.
The EU EOM was headed by Chief Observer John Bowis (UK), a member of the European Parliament (MEP). In addition to two previous European Union observation missions, the EU had contributed significantly to voter and civic education projects, in line with the EU's policy of strengthening local capacity for election management and observation.
The observers were deployed throughout the country. They met government and electoral officials, candidates and political parties, civil society representatives and the media.