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Decision of the European Ombudsman on complaint 1216/98/PD against the European Commission

Strasbourg, 19 July 1999

Dear Mr W.,
On 9 November 1998 you made a complaint against the European Commission. You put forward that the Commission should reimburse you the travel costs you had had by participating in written tests under competition COM/A/11/98.
On 15 December 1998 I forwarded the complaint to the President of the European Commission. The Commission sent its opinion on 1 March 1999 and I forwarded it to you with an invitation to make observations, if you so wished. I have not received any observations from you.
I am writing now to let you know the result of the inquiries that have been made.


The background to the complaint is in brief:
On 14 September 1998 the Commission organised written tests in the competition in question. Shortly after the tests, the Commission considered itself obliged to annul the tests, in particular because there had been a leak of the questions asked to the applicants.
The complainant participated in the tests, at the exam venue in Paris. Given the fact that the complainant lived in Toronto, he had to bear the costs for a travel ticket Toronto-Paris and back in order to assist. Given the subsequent annulment of the tests, he considered that the Commission should reimburse him the costs. He addressed the Commission on this subject but in vain.
Against this background, he lodged the complaint with the European Ombudsman.


The Commission's opinion
In its opinion the Commission regretted that it had to annul the tests in question. Furthermore it explained that normally, it does not dispose of sufficient budgetary funds for reimbursing applicants. However, given the exceptional character of the situation, it had decided to reimburse applicants for their travel costs, provided that they participated in the tests organised in replacement of the annulled ones. The reimbursement would be subject to maximum limits.
The complainant's observations
No observations were lodged. In the absence of observations, the Ombudsman's services contacted the complainant. The complainant expressed satisfaction with the Commission's action and thanked the Ombudsman for his intervention.


1 Reimbursement of travel costs
1.1 It appears from the Commission's opinion that it has taken steps to grant the complainant's claim with which the complainant is content.
2 Conclusion
It appears from the Commission's opinion and the complainant's observations that the Commission has taken steps to settle the matter and has thereby satisfied the complainant. The Ombudsman has therefore decided to close the case.
The President of the European Commission will also be informed of this decision.
Yours sincerely,