Alleged failure to pay the eligible costs in the context of a development project

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  • Caso :  0714/2011/EIS
    Aperto(a) il 17-giu-2011 - Decisione del 29-apr-2013
  • Istituzione(i) interessata(e) :  Commissione europea
  • Ambito(i) giuridico(i) :  Relazioni esterne
  • Tipi di presunta cattiva amministrazione – (i) violazione di, o (ii) violazione degli obblighi connessi a :  Legalità (scorretta applicazione di norme sostanziali e/o procedurali) [Articolo 4 CEBCA],Legittime aspettative, coerenza e consulenza [Articolo 10 CEBCA]
  • Oggetto(i) :  Aggiudicazione di appalti e assegnazione di sovvenzioni
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Summary of the decision on complaint 714/2011/(IP)EIS against the European Commission

The complainant is an Italian company which participated in a development project between the Commission and the Government of Uruguay. After the project had ended, the complainant requested that the Commission make a payment to it. The latter rejected the request on the grounds that (i) the relevant supporting documents had been presented only after the relevant financing agreement had expired, and that (ii) no original invoices had been submitted.

The complainant turned to the Ombudsman and alleged that the Commission failed to pay it an amount corresponding to the eligible costs of the project. In support of its view, the complainant argued that (i) no clause in the financing agreement required invoices to be submitted to the Commission before the date of expiry of the agreement, and that (ii) it received contradictory information from different Commission officials regarding the eligible costs.

In its opinion, the Commission stated that it was prepared to pay the eligible costs amounting to EUR 101 914.50 to the complainant. The Commission also apologised to the complainant for not having been clear enough in its communications with it. After it had submitted its opinion, the Commission informed the Ombudsman that three debit notes had been issued to the complainant. Accordingly, the amount that it was willing to pay to the complainant would be offset against the amounts of the three debit notes.

The complainant stated that it was willing to accept the Commission's offer. It did not comment on the Commission's further statement that as a result of the three debit notes which had been issued to it, the amount would be offset against its other debts.

In his decision, the Ombudsman considered that the complainant challenged neither the existence of the debit notes referred to by the Commission nor the Commission's decision to offset the eligible costs recognised by it against these debit notes. He thus concluded that the Commission had settled the case. He closed the case as settled by the institution.