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Decision on how the European Investment Bank (EIB) handled the move of a former Vice-President to an energy utility company that had received EIB loans (1016/2021/KR)

Mittwoch | 27 Juli 2022

The case concerned the decision of the European Investment Bank to approve a request made by a former vice-president and member of its Management Committee (MC) (the ‘former VP’) to become a non-executive board member of a Spanish energy utility company, which received loans from the EIB.

The complainants, two Members of the European Parliament, raised concerns that the move gave rise to the risk of conflicts of interest. The EIB argued that the former VP had not been involved in the negotiation and implementation of the financing agreements between the EIB and the company.

The Ombudsman found that, in approving the move, the EIB did not properly manage the risk of conflicts of interest to which the former VP’s request arguably gave rise. However, given the EIB has, in the meantime, made improvements to the relevant ethics rules to address these matters, the Ombudsman determined that no further inquiries were justified.

Nonetheless, the Ombudsman made suggestions for improvement with a view to strengthening how the EIB assesses ‘revolving door’ moves by members of its MC to the private sector, and how it ensures compliance where its Ethics and Compliance Committee authorises a move but applies conditions on the individual and their activities.

Decision on the time taken by the European Parliament to deal with a request to recognise that a staff member’s medical condition is an ‘occupational disease’ (case 286/2022/VS)

Dienstag | 19 Juli 2022

The case concerned the time taken by the European Parliament to deal with a staff member’s request to recognise her condition as an ‘occupational disease’.

The Ombudsman wrote to the Parliament reminding it that principles of good administration require EU institutions to take decisions within a reasonable time frame and that this is particularly important when the decision is related to the health of the person concerned.

Following updates from the Parliament and the complainant showing that the Parliament had taken a decision on the request in June 2022, the Ombudsman closed the inquiry with the conclusion that the matter has been settled.

 

Decision on the European Personnel Selection Office’s decision not to admit a candidate to a selection procedure for experts in technical support to Member States’ structural reforms (case 702/2022/PL)

Montag | 18 Juli 2022

The case concerned the European Personnel Selection Office’s decision not to admit the complainant to a selection procedure for ‘experts in technical support to Member States’ structural reforms’, because she did not meet the eligibility requirements as regard the level of education and years of professional experience.

The Ombudsman found no manifest error in the selection board’s finding that the complainant did not fulfil the eligibility criteria. The Ombudsman thus closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision on the time taken by the European Commission to handle an appeal concerning the decision to apply a ‘medical reserve’ on a newly recruited staff member (case 1609/2021/VS)

Freitag | 15 Juli 2022

The case concerned the time taken by the European Commission to deal with an appeal concerning its decision to apply a ‘medical reserve’ on a newly recruited staff member.

The Ombudsman wrote to the Commission reminding it that principles of good administration require EU institutions to take decisions within a reasonable time frame and that this is particularly important when the decision is related to the health of the person concerned and to social security cover.

Following updates from the Commission and the complainant showing that the Commission took a final decision on the appeal in March 2022, the Ombudsman closed the inquiry with the conclusion that the substantive matter has been settled. The Ombudsman expects the Commission in future to handle similar procedures in a timely manner.

 

Decision on how the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) dealt with a request for public access to ‘conflict of interest’ declarations (case 379/2022/SF)

Montag | 27 Juni 2022

The complainant sought public access to conflict of interest declarations signed by the members of the selection boards for ten selection procedures carried out by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) between 2013 and 2021. The complainant was a candidate in four of the ten selection procedures.

The Cedefop refused access stating that, in accordance with its policy, it provided the names of the selection board members to candidates only and could therefore not grant access to signed conflict of interest forms for selection procedures, in which the complainant did not participate. As regards the selection procedures in which the complainant participated, the Cedefop considered that it had already sufficiently replied to the complainant’s related requests and complaints.

The Ombudsman inquiry team inspected the documents at issue and asked the Cedefop for clarifications on its refusal to provide access. She found that the Cedefop was justified in refusing public access, as disclosure was likely to harm the privacy and integrity of the candidates and selection board members involved in the respective selection procedures.

The Ombudsman thus closed the inquiry finding no maladministration.

However, she suggested as an improvement that the Cedefop should ensure that it provides detailed reasons for refusing access to documents, explaining how the disclosure of the requested documents may undermine the interest(s) protected by the EU legislation on public access to documents.  

Decision on how the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia dealt with issues related to the performance evaluation report of a former staff member (case 1041/2021/OAM)

Freitag | 24 Juni 2022

This decision is not published as there is a risk that the complainant may be identified from the specific circumstances of the case.

Decision on how the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) responded to concerns regarding the composition of an interview panel in a selection procedure for EU staff in the field of taxation (case 1169/2020/KT)

Donnerstag | 23 Juni 2022

The case concerned how the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) assessed a candidate in an interview in the context of a procedure for recruiting EU civil servants in the field of taxation. The complainant considered that his low score in the interview was due to the fact that the interview panel did not include any expert in taxation. He was dissatisfied with how EPSO addressed his concerns.

In the course of the inquiry, EPSO provided adequate clarifications about the expertise of the selection board. The Ombudsman found nothing to suggest a manifest error in how EPSO had carried out the interview. The Ombudsman therefore closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision on how the European Commission (PMO) divided benefits derived from child allowances between two divorced EU staff members (case 1528/2021/FA)

Donnerstag | 02 Juni 2022

The case concerned the decision by the European Commission’s Paymaster Office (PMO) to divide benefits derived from the child allowance between two divorced EU staff members. The complainant claimed that she should receive all derived benefits because she bears the majority of the costs for raising the child.

The Ombudsman finds the approach adopted by the PMO to decide on the division of derived benefits reasonable and in line with EU case-law. However, the Ombudsman finds that the PMO gave incoherent explanations to the complainant in its reply to her administrative complaint on the matter. However, with new internal administrative rules having been adopted that cover this area, the Ombudsman trusts that the PMO will ensure consistency in how the rules are applied and clarity in the information it gives to EU staff members. 

The Ombudsman considered that no further inquiries were justified in this case and closed the inquiry.