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Decision in case OI/1/2017/NF on EULEX Kosovo’s refusal to provide information relating to a test in its 2016 internal staff selection procedure

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  • Case: OI/1/2017/NF
    Opened on 27 Jan 2017 - Decision on , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The case concerned EULEX Kosovo’s refusal to give information about the provider of the ‘BULTAS’ English test that was part of an internal staff selection procedure. Not being convinced by the reasons given by EULEX Kosovo for refusing to provide the requested information, the Ombudsman contacted EULEX Kosovo regarding the matter. Following the Ombudsman’s intervention, EULEX Kosovo gave the complainant the information she had asked for and it also authorised BULTAS to review the complainant’s test score. As a solution had been found to the complaint, the Ombudsman closed the case.

The background to the complaint

1. In 2016, the Council of the EU decided that the European Union Rule of Law Mission Kosovo (‘EULEX Kosovo’) should undergo a reconfiguration to align the Mission’s tasks to the changing political and legal environment in Kosovo[1]. As a consequence, EULEX Kosovo had to drastically reduce its staff in 2016. It decided to do so by way of an internal staff selection procedure in which only the successful staff would be offered contract extensions. The internal staff selection procedure consisted of several tests, among them the so-called ‘BULATS’[2] English test.[3] The complainant, a former staff member of EULEX Kosovo, took part in the internal staff selection procedure but was not successful.

2. After having made use of the complaint-mechanisms available within EULEX Kosovo, the complainant sought to make further inquiries about the content of her BULATS test and the accuracy of her test score directly with the test provider. By e-mail of 2 December 2016, she therefore asked EULEX Kosovo to provide her with the contact details of the BULATS test agent that EULEX Kosovo had used for the 2016 internal staff selection procedure. On 5 December 2016, EULEX Kosovo refused to provide this information.

3. The complainant turned to the Ombudsman in January 2017.

The inquiry

4. Based on the complaint, the Ombudsman opened an inquiry[4] into the complainant’s concern that EULEX Kosovo had arbitrarily refused to inform her which BULATS agent it had used in its 2016 internal staff selection procedure.

5. The Ombudsman, who did not consider EULEX Kosovo to have put forward any convincing reason for its refusal to provide the complainant with the relevant information, contacted EULEX Kosovo regarding the matter. Following the Ombudsman’s intervention, EULEX Kosovo replied to the complainant on 6 February 2017, providing her with the name and the contact details of the relevant BULATS agent. EULEX Kosovo also informed the complainant that it had given the BULATS agent its authorisation for any potential review of the complainant’s test score.

Conclusion

On the basis of the inquiry into this complaint, the Ombudsman closes it with the following conclusion[5]:

EULEX Kosovo has provided the complainant with the requested information. A solution has thus been achieved.

The complainant and EULEX Kosovo will be informed of this decision.

Tina Nilsson

Head of Inquiries - Unit 4

Strasbourg, 05/04/2017


[1] Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/9471 of 14 June 2016 amending Joint Action 2008/124/CFSP on the

European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX Kosovo), OJ 2016 L 157, p. 26.

[2] The BULATS (Business Language Testing Service) is an online test which can be purchased by companies or other employers in order to test the relevant language skills of the employees or potential employees. It tests the reading and listening comprehension as well as speaking and writing skills.

[3] The Ombudsman previously dealt with the general outline of EULEX Kosovo’s internal staff selection procedure, including the BULATS test, in her own-initiative inquiry OI/2/2015/MG. The Ombudsman’s decision closing her inquiry OI/2/2015/MG is available here: https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/cases/decision.faces/en/64209/html.bookmark  

[4] Given that the complainant does not reside in the European Union, the Ombudsman could not deal with the complaint as such (see Article 2(2) Statute of the European

Ombudsman). She decided, however, to investigate the concern raised in the complaint by means of an own-initiative inquiry.

[5] Information on the review procedure can be found on the Ombudsman’s website: http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/resources/otherdocument.faces/en/70669/html.bookmark