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Rejection of application for a traineeship due to prior work experience

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  • Case: 0471/2007/VIK
    Opened on 19 Mar 2007 - Decision on 11 Oct 2007
  • Institution(s) concerned: European Commission
  • Field(s) of law: General, financial and institutional matters
  • Types of maladministration alleged – (i) breach of, or (ii) breach of duties relating to: Lawfulness (incorrect application of substantive and/or procedural rules) [Article 4 ECGAB]

Summary of decision on complaint 471/2007/VIK against the European Commission  

The complainant, a Portuguese national, applied for an in-service traineeship at the Commission. She was informed that her application had been rejected as she did not meet the eligibility criteria described in Point 2.3 of the Rules governing the official traineeship scheme of the Commission ("the Rules"). According to Point 2.3 of the Rules, applications from persons who had already benefited from any kind of in-service training for more than six weeks were not accepted by the Commission. In her complaint to the Ombudsman the complainant alleged that her application had been incorrectly rejected, as her non-consecutive work experience took place during Parliament's plenary sessions and lasted a total of only three weeks. She further alleged that the format of the electronic application form did not allow applicants in her situation to declare non-consecutive work experience and that the Commission had failed to change the form accordingly. The complainant submitted that her attempt to reapply for a traineeship had also been rejected by the Commission. She claimed that she should be allowed to submit an application for a traineeship and that the electronic application form should be altered so that non-consecutive work experience could be declared.

In its opinion, the Commission explained that the complainant's application had been rejected on the grounds that preparatory and follow-up work for the plenary sessions must have required more than mere attendance during the sessions. Furthermore, it had learned that the complainant had had a service card which was valid for three months. However, the Commission pointed out that, after having reviewed her file again and in particular the declaration from the MEP with whom she had worked, it had proposed to accept the complainant's application as eligible and to submit it to the pre-selection committees for the training period to begin in October 2007.

As regards the format of the electronic application form, the Commission clarified that the applicants were invited to declare in the form only relevant professional experience with a minimum duration of one month. The Commission stated that, at the time the application form was designed, professional experience of less than one month had not been considered relevant and thus did not need to be declared.

The complainant confirmed that she was satisfied with the way in which the Commission had resolved the matter. The Ombudsman closed the case as settled by the institution.

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