Decision of the European Ombudsman closing his inquiry into complaint 1671/2008/(SL)OV against the European Parliament
Case 1671/2008/(SL)OV - Opened on Wednesday | 09 July 2008 - Decision on Monday | 13 December 2010
The background to the complaint
1. In 2004, the complainant, a lawyer and entrepreneur, participated in selection procedure PE/87/S, which was organised by the European Parliament for the recruitment of two temporary administrators (grade A*8/AD8) in the field of environmental sciences, in the Directorate-General for Internal Policies ('DG IPOL').
2. The complainant passed the selection tests on 6 December 2004, and was ranked third on the reserve list which was adopted on 10 December 2004. He was informed accordingly by letter of 6 January 2005. The first two persons on the list, Mr M. and Ms B., were subsequently recruited to occupy the posts in question.
3. With effect from 1 September 2007, Mr M.'s post became vacant, triggering a procedure to fill the post by the third person on the list, that is to say, the complainant. By e-mail of 6 September 2007, and later by letter of 10 October 2007, Parliament invited the complainant to attend an interview in Brussels.
4. The interview took place on 19 October 2007 with the hierarchy of DG IPOL, namely, the Director-General of DG IPOL, the Director of Economic and Scientific Policies, the Head of Unit in the Policy Department, and the Head of the General Coordination Unit. After the interview, and upon his request, the complainant also had a short meeting with the Head of the General Coordination Unit.
5. By e-mail of 5 December, and by letter of 6 December 2007, DG IPOL's Recruitment Unit forwarded an offer of employment to the complainant, requesting a reply by 16 December 2007. In the following weeks, there was further correspondence between the complainant and Parliament concerning the details of the employment offer. The complainant finally informed the Recruitment Unit in an e-mail of 3 February 2008 that he had decided not to accept Parliament's offer of employment.
The subject matter of the inquiry
6. On 5 June 2008, the complainant submitted the present complaint to the Ombudsman, and described the events on which it was based.
7. On 6 December 2004 the complainant went to Parliament's Altiero Spinelli (ASP) building in order to take the selection tests at the time indicated in his invitation, namely, 1.30 pm. Two Spanish ladies informed him that the tests had already taken place at 8.30 am. He was informed that he could no longer take the tests, since he might have seen the test papers from the morning session. He was, however, finally allowed to participate in the tests.
8. According to the complainant, Parliament's letter of 6 January 2005, informing him that he was on the reserve list, contained no further information. Therefore, the complainant did not know how to proceed. For instance, he did not know whether he needed to start lobbying.
9. The complainant further stated that, on 25 May 2007, he received a telephone call from Parliament, asking whether he was still interested in the post. The complainant replied in the affirmative and sent his updated CV to Parliament. Since he was the third person on the reserve list, he asked what the further procedure would be, but allegedly received no reply until he was invited for an interview in Brussels, via an e-mail sent on 6 September 2007.
10. On 11 September 2007, the complainant contacted DG IPOL in order to ask when the interview would take place. After allegedly receiving no news for several weeks, the complainant again contacted Parliament and he was asked when he would be available to start working. The complainant indicated the date of 1 January 2008. He was also informed that he would have to undergo a medical test on the day of the interview. The complainant expected that the concrete aspects of the post would to be presented to him during the interview so that he could then decide whether or not to accept the post. He pointed out that the only information at his disposal at that time was the content of the recruitment notice published in the Official Journal in 2004. In its letter of 10 October 2007, inviting the complainant for an interview, Parliament indicated that this interview would be with the Director-General of DG IPOL, and with the Director of Economic and Scientific Policies.
11. However, to the complainant's surprise, the interview on 19 October 2007 was with four senior DG IPOL officials. Before the interview, the complainant spoke with a DG IPOL official who, again to the complainant's surprise, replied in the negative when asked whether the work involved in the post was pleasant. According to the complainant, the interview was disorganised and ill-prepared. He noted, for instance, that shortly before the interview, his CV still had to be copied. According to the complainant, the questions he was asked during the interview were general, abstract, and not very coherent. The complainant pointed out that he was asked by the Director-General of DG IPOL for an update on his current situation, since the Director-General had his old CV in front of him, and not the updated version which he had sent to Parliament. He also stated that there was no interaction with him during the interview. He was not given any information about the follow-up to the procedure, the decision deadline, or the content of the post. The complainant submitted that he was merely informed that the relevant post was a temporary position, that would be available for five years, and that another candidate was still to be interviewed. He pointed out that he was facing a difficult choice, since his wife had a good job with promising perspectives and, if he were to accept the post with Parliament, it would mean a step backwards in financial terms for him as an entrepreneur. He had, therefore, hoped that the interviewers would try to make him enthusiastic about the post. According to the complainant, however, the interview was a disappointment, and he was never given the possibility to ask a single question. The complainant wondered whether he really wished to work for an organisation that dealt with people in this way.
12. Immediately after the interview, the complainant asked to speak with the Head of the General Coordination Unit, who had also been present during the interview, in order to clarify questions he had not been able to ask during the interview. According to the complainant, the head of unit concerned informed him during their short meeting that, since the other candidate would not be interviewed until December 2007, the possibility of recruitment could only be envisaged in March 2008. She also informed the complainant that part-time work could only be arranged once the appointment had been made, and that part-time work would not be possible during the probationary period.
13. When the complainant received the offer from Parliament on 6 December 2007, he was astonished to see that it was for a temporary post, which would run until the end of 2008 only, a fact which he was not told during the interview. Moreover, the complainant stressed that he had no detailed information about the post, the environment field being vast. The complainant was invited to reply by 16 December 2007. On 6 December 2007, the complainant contacted Parliament via e-mail with a request for further information concerning the duration of the contract, the possibility to work part-time, and the step at which he would be recruited. The complainant pointed out that, since he was running a successful business with promising perspectives, he was eager to hear what Parliament could offer him. Parliament replied on the same day. Since the complainant considered that the information he was given was not sufficient to allow him to make a well-considered decision by 16 December 2007, he did not respond to the offer.
14. By e-mail of 15 January 2008, Parliament again contacted the complainant in order to ask whether he wished to accept the offer. By e-mail of 18 January 2008, Parliament informed the complainant that part-time work was not possible. The complainant replied by letter of 21 January 2008, informing Parliament that the offer, which would require him to give up his current position and move to Brussels, did not compete in financial terms with his present income, and that he could not make an informed decision. He also stated that he wished to have a further meeting with the team manager in order to obtain more details about the offer. By e-mail of 24 January 2008, Parliament replied, pointing out that the details of the post were set out in the recruitment notice, which had been published in the Official Journal. The complainant submitted that Parliament's reply, apart from containing some mistakes regarding his name and the date of the interview, included incorrect information, and that Parliament had even lied when it stated that, during the interview, he was given the possibility to ask questions. He added that he was very upset by DG IPOL's reply.
15. On 25 January 2008, the complainant wrote another e-mail expressing his dissatisfaction with the way in which the recruitment procedure was conducted. The complainant asked why it had not been possible to arrange the interview he had requested, and he stated that he would take a final decision after such an interview.
16. On 1 February 2008, in reply to the complainant's request, Parliament sent him a copy of the description of post 10695, in French. This description was the same as the general description contained in the recruitment notice published in the Official Journal, and did not contain any additional information. The complainant stated that the general description of the post was clear, but that he wanted to know what his tasks would be if he were to accept the post. According to the complainant, Parliament did not reply to his request for a further interview to clarify matters. The complainant, therefore, decided not to accept the offer of the post.
17. On the basis of the above, the complainant alleged that:
1) Parliament's services acted unprofessionally in the selection procedure, which was evidenced by the bad planning and running of the procedure;
2) Parliament's services acted unprofessionally in the recruitment procedure, because they refused to provide essential information about the post itself, namely, its content and the working conditions, and the offer. As a result, the complainant had found it impossible to make a well-considered decision about the offer.
The complainant claimed that Parliament should ensure that these kinds of selection procedures are organised with a greater guarantee of quality and clarity.
18. In his letter of 9 July 2008 opening the present inquiry, the Ombudsman informed the complainant that the first allegation was inadmissible on the basis of Article 2(4) of the Statute, since the relevant facts dated back to 2004. The Ombudsman, therefore, asked Parliament to submit an opinion only on the second allegation and the claim. He indicated, however, that, although the first allegation was inadmissible, Parliament might still wish to comment on the issue raised by the complainant concerning the alleged confusion with regard to the time of the selection tests on 6 December 2004.
19. In his observations on Parliament's opinion, the complainant alleged that Parliament had lied, when stating that he was given the possibility to ask questions, and that he was invited to do so by the Director-General of DG IPOL during the interview. The Ombudsman decided to include this further allegation in his inquiry.
20. The complaint was forwarded to Parliament for an opinion. On 15 July 2008, the complainant wrote to the Ombudsman with regard to the inadmissibility of the first allegation. The Ombudsman replied to the complainant on 17 August 2008. Parliament sent its opinion on 3 November 2008. It was forwarded to the complainant for observations.
21. On 1 December 2008, the complainant wrote to the Ombudsman and asked for a copy of the most recent notice of vacancy concerning posts for lawyers in the Office of the Ombudsman. By letter of 11 December 2008, the Ombudsman sent the complainant a copy of vacancy notice n° OMB/1/2007 of 24 October 2007. On 28 December 2008, the complainant sent his observations on Parliament's opinion.
22. On 15 October 2009, the Ombudsman asked Parliament to provide further information and to submit an opinion on the complainant's further allegation. Parliament sent its reply on 20 January 2010. The reply was forwarded to the complainant, who sent further observations on 29 June 2010.
The Ombudsman's analysis and conclusions
23. The Ombudsman informed Parliament that the complainant's first allegation was inadmissible, but pointed out that Parliament might still wish to comment on the issue. The first allegation concerned the way in which the selection procedure had been carried out. The complainant more specifically alleged that, on 6 December 2004, when he went to Parliament in order to take the selection tests at the appointed time, namely, 1.30 pm, he was informed that the tests had already taken place at 8.30 am.
24. In its opinion, Parliament did not dispute this sequence of events. Parliament pointed out, however, that it could not establish whether the confusion which occurred was the result of an error on its part, or of a misunderstanding on the part of the complainant, since, because of data protection rules, documents relating to the organisation of competitions and selection procedures were kept for a period of only two and a half years after the relevant tests had taken place. Parliament apologised, however, for the inconvenience caused to the complainant. It added that the complainant had in any event been allowed to take part in the selection tests, and that, as a result, the change in time did not adversely affect his chances.
25. In his observations, the complainant pointed out that the file of his complaint contained an e-mail which stated that he was invited to take the tests at 1.30 pm. Parliament's statements were therefore incorrect. The complainant, nevertheless, indicated that he accepted Parliament's apologies, and that the Ombudsman no longer needed to assess this part of the complaint.
26. The Ombudsman appreciates Parliament's positive response to his invitation to address the issue raised in the first allegation, even though it was inadmissible. He notes that Parliament presented its apologies to the complainant, and that they were accepted by the latter. There is, therefore, no need for further action concerning this aspect of the case.
27. In his observations, the complainant also made a further allegation, namely, that Parliament had lied by stating that he was given the possibility to ask questions and that he was invited to do so by the Director-General of DG IPOL during the interview on 19 October 2007. The Ombudsman will examine this allegation separately below.
A. The alleged unprofessional behaviour in the recruitment procedure
Arguments presented to the Ombudsman
28. The complainant alleged that Parliament's services acted unprofessionally in the recruitment procedure because they refused to provide essential information about both the advertised post, namely, what it entailed and the working conditions, and the offer. As a result, it was impossible for him to make a well-considered decision as to whether or not to accept the offer. The complainant also complained that he was not informed during the interview about the follow-up to the procedure, the decision deadline, or what the work of the post involved. The complainant stated that he was merely informed that this a temporary post involving a five year contract, and that there was another candidate.
29. In its opinion, Parliament stated that DG IPOL contacted the complainant and asked him to attend an informal interview to find out whether he was interested in filling the temporary post referred to in recruitment notice PE/87/S. The recruitment notice was published in the Official Journal in 2004, and described in detail the duties to be performed by the candidate. Parliament pointed out that the profile of the post, and the description of the tasks to be performed which appeared in the recruitment notice, already provided candidates with basic information. The interview focused on what was required of a candidate to perform the duties of a parliamentary research administrator. Parliament stated that DG IPOL had also considered it appropriate to check whether the complainant's profile matched the specific characteristics of the post, in order to determine how interested he was in the post, and what his reasons for applying had been.
30. As regards information on the working conditions, Parliament stated that it was clear from information exchanged in e-mails between the complainant and DG IPOL's Recruitment Unit that the complainant had been given information concerning the practical implications of taking up the post. As regards the issue of working hours and the possibility of working a four-day week, Parliament pointed out that the offer made to the complainant on 6 December 2007 clearly indicated a salary which corresponded to working full-time. Moreover, Parliament considered that the time to discuss the detailed working arrangements would have been after the complainant had taken up his duties, although any final decision would have rested solely with the management, and would have been taken in light of the needs and interests of the service.
31. As regards the questions concerning the step at which the complainant would have been recruited, and the probation period, Parliament stated that the first paragraph of the employment offer clearly stated that the terms of the proposed contract were consistent with the provisions of the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Communities (CEOS). In addition, the complainant's attention was drawn to the possibility of consulting the relevant provisions via an internet link.
32. As regards the complainant's question concerning the duration of the contract, Parliament pointed out that recruitment notice PE/87/S stated that it was a temporary post created for a period of five years. The contract was thus intended to run from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2008, and not, as the complainant appeared to have assumed, for a five-year period from the date on which the employment offer was made.
33. On the basis of the above, Parliament concluded that it had answered all the complainant's questions throughout the recruitment procedure, that the complainant had obtained sufficient information concerning the post to enable him to take a decision, and that it had complied with its duty of care towards the complainant. In Parliament's view, careful consideration of the file suggested that the questions put forward by the complainant reflected a wish to renegotiate the terms of the contract rather than to obtain specific information from the relevant services. Parliament regretted the fact that the complainant had gained a false impression of the institution.
34. In his observations, the complainant stated that his allegation was not that he had not received concrete information, but that he had not received the specific information which he had requested. He added that it was never stated during the interview that the post would be available for a maximum of only one more year. The complainant submitted that it was normal that some details concerning a post might be missing in a vacancy notice, and that an interview was therefore the perfect way in which quickly to obtain the missing information. It was Parliament's refusal to provide this additional information which constituted the basis of his complaint.
35. On 15 October 2009, the Ombudsman conducted further inquiries. He asked Parliament to explain why the fact that the post in question was only available until December 2008 was only brought to the complainant's attention when the post was offered to him in December 2007.
Further arguments presented to the Ombudsman
36. In its additional opinion, Parliament explained that its usual practice was officially to inform the person to be recruited of the duration of the contract through the employment offer. Furthermore, the complainant had been in contact with an agent from DG IPOL's Recruitment Unit who had done his best to give him practical information. Parliament reiterated that the time-limit for replying to the employment offer had exceptionally been extended until 8 February 2008 in order to enable the complainant to take a decision in full knowledge of all the facts.
37. In his additional observations, the complainant stated that Parliament's reply showed that it had not paid proper attention, as a modern employer should do, to questions that were important for the complainant, such as having to move to Brussels, and having to live away from his family for some time. This was even more important considering the short duration of the contract.
The Ombudsman's assessment
38. The Ombudsman notes that the allegation of unprofessional behaviour in the recruitment procedure concerns only Parliament's alleged failure to provide essential information about the post, and the offer. In his observations on Parliament's opinion, the complainant pointed out that his allegation was not that he did not receive concrete information, but that he did not receive the specific information which he had requested. The present decision will therefore deal only with the allegation that the complainant did not receive the specific information which he requested. The Ombudsman, therefore, does not need to assess the complainant's argument that he was never informed during the interview that the post would be available only until the end of 2008. It may, however, be useful to add that this fact was clearly of particular importance for a candidate. The Ombudsman is, therefore, of the opinion that it would have been most useful if Parliament had drawn the complainant's attention to this fact immediately when it contacted the complainant to see whether he was interested in the post, namely, in May 2007.
39. Before examining whether Parliament provided the complainant with the specific information he requested, the Ombudsman considers it useful to point out that both the recruitment notice and the employment offer of 6 December 2007 already contained detailed information about the post and the offer. Point A.1 of the recruitment notice published in the Official Journal contained the following information concerning the relevant post:
"The [temporary] contract will be concluded for a fixed three-year term, renewable for a maximum total term of five years. Recruitment will be to grade A*8/AD8, first step, the basic monthly salary for which being EUR 5 519,42. This salary is subject to Community tax and the other deductions laid down in the Conditions of Employment of other servants of the European Communities (CEOS); it is exempt from national taxation. The step at which the successful candidate is recruited may, however, be adjusted in accordance with his/her professional experience. Moreover, under certain circumstances allowances will be paid in addition to the basic salary.
The duties involved call for a very high degree of commitment, travel between the European Parliament's places of work, contact with people inside and outside Parliament, including external service providers, as well as close cooperation with Members of the European Parliament.
The temporary member of staff recruited will also be required to complete a probationary period of not more than six months".
40. The recruitment notice also mentioned in point A.2 that the place of employment was Brussels, but that regular travel was required, particularly to Strasbourg. As regards what the post involved exactly, point A.3 of the recruitment notice contained a detailed description of the post, with an overview of the various tasks to be performed by the temporary staff member listed under seven points.
41. In addition, the employment offer of 6 December 2007 informed the complainant that he was being offered a contract as a temporary staff member in DG IPOL, in accordance with the CEOS (the link to which was provided to the complainant), under the following terms:
Function group, grade, step: AD 8, step 1 [with information on the possibility of an increase in step being provided]
Contract period: until 31 December 2008 …
Probationary period: 4 months
Place of employment: Brussels. You may be asked to travel for purposes of work, especially to Strasbourg or Luxembourg.
Commencing date: As soon as possible. Duties must, however, be taken up within three months of receipt of this offer …
The basic monthly salary for the above grade and step is EUR 5 810.99, to which may be added, under the conditions set out in the annex to this letter and on submission of supporting documents:
- a household allowance,
- a dependent child allowance,
- an expatriation allowance".
42. The offer of employment of 6 December 2007 also contained further information on the compulsory medical examination, Community tax, the sickness insurance scheme, the pension scheme, and the 100 % weighting in Brussels for the cost of living. It further informed the complainant that his net monthly salary would be EUR 4 420, excluding all allowances, and approximately EUR 5350, including the expatriation allowance.
43. It appears from the above that the recruitment notice, and especially the employment offer, already provided the complainant with ample information about the various aspects of the post.
44. As regards the complainant's allegation that he did not receive the specific information which he requested, the Ombudsman notes that the complainant provided a note with a list of the questions he took with him to the interview on 19 October 2007. However, it is not established whether all the questions contained in that note were indeed submitted to Parliament. The Ombudsman considers, therefore, that he has to examine only the questions set forth in the complainant's letters and e-mails to Parliament, and Parliament's replies thereto, in order to ascertain what further information the complainant requested about the post, and whether Parliament provided that information. From this examination, the following appears.
45. In his e-mail of 21 October 2007 to Parliament, sent two days after the interview, the complainant asked about the possibility of being recruited for a permanent post, given that he had successfully passed an open competition (COM/A/1/02). Although Parliament did not explicitly reply to this question, the employment offer of 6 December 2007 made it clear that the complainant was being offered a temporary agent contract, and not a permanent post.
46. Upon receiving the employment offer, the complainant, by e-mail of 6 December 2007, asked further questions concerning the duration of the contract, the possibility to work part-time, and the step at which he would be graded. The Ombudsman notes that Parliament replied to these three questions on the same day by e-mail and informed the complainant first that, as mentioned in the employment offer, the duration of the contract was limited until 31 December 2008, and that there was no possibility of a prolongation, since it concerned a post which was created for a duration of five years, and had come into existence in January 2004. Second, Parliament further informed the complainant that the issue of part-time work would have to be discussed with the service concerned after taking up his duties, and third, that, according to the Staff Regulations, the highest step possible was step 2. As regards the complainant's question concerning the possibility of part-time work, it appears the he had already been given a reply, since the complainant himself stated in his complaint that, during the short meeting with the Head of the General Coordination Unit on 19 October 2007, he was informed that part-time work could only be arranged after the appointment, and that it would not be possible during the probationary period.
47. In his letter of 21 January 2008 to Parliament, the complainant compared the position he held at that time with the post being offered by Parliament, and stated that it was difficult for him to make a decision, especially since the contract Parliament was offering would end on 31 December 2008. He therefore asked for a meeting with the team manager in order obtain more details about the post. Parliament replied by e-mail of 1 February 2008, and sent to the complainant a copy of the post's description which appeared in vacancy notice n° 10695. This vacancy notice contained a description of the duties to be performed by the holder of an administrator's post, which were the equivalent to the post being offered to the complainant.
48. On the basis of the above, the Ombudsman considers that Parliament appears to have answered all the questions put to it by the complainant, and that it provided him with relevant information. The Ombudsman notes that the complainant feels that Parliament should have provided more detailed information. However, in view of the information that Parliament did provide, he takes the view that the complainant has not established his allegation that Parliament acted unprofessionally in the recruitment procedure. No instance of maladministration was, therefore, found as regards this aspect of the case.
B. Allegation that Parliament lied
Arguments presented to the Ombudsman
49. In his complaint, the complainant submitted that the interview was terminated without him being given the possibility to ask one single question. The complainant alleged that Parliament's statement that he was given the possibility to ask questions, and invited to do so by the Director-General of DG IPOL during the interview on 19 October 2007, was therefore a lie. In the complainant's view, this also showed disrespect for the institution of the Ombudsman.
50. In its opinion, Parliament argued that DG IPOL's Director-General, who attaches particular importance to compliance with proper procedure, always gave candidates the opportunity to ask questions at the end of an interview, and that no exception was made in the complainant's case. Parliament stated that the complainant was given the chance to ask as many questions as he wished about the nature of the post. Moreover, Parliament also stated that, immediately after the interview, and upon the complainant's request, the Head of the General Coordination Unit, who was present during the interview, received the complainant in her office in order to answer all his questions concerning the post. She also informed him of the name of his future Head of Unit, should he wish to obtain further information.
51. In its additional opinion, Parliament reiterated that the complainant had had the opportunity to ask questions during the interview.
52. In his observations, the complainant reiterated that he was not given the opportunity to ask any questions during the interview. He submitted that Parliament had not provided a convincing reply to counter his allegation that it had lied, for instance, by indicating when, how, and by whom he was given the opportunity to ask questions. He added that the Head of the General Coordination Unit, who received him after the interview, had apologised for the way things had gone, which showed that the interview did not go as it should have done. The complainant concluded that Parliament had not taken the matter seriously, and had not treated him with respect.
The Ombudsman's assessment
53. The Ombudsman notes that, in its first opinion of 3 November 2008, Parliament stated that "the Director-General ..., who attaches particular importance to compliance with proper procedure, always gives candidates the opportunity to put questions at the end of an interview. No exception was made in the case of [the complainant] and he was given every chance to ask as many questions as he wanted about the nature of the post" (underlining added). In its additional opinion, Parliament merely stated that it confirmed "that the complainant had the opportunity to ask questions during the interview". This statement would appear to be softer than what Parliament had stated in its initial opinion. The Ombudsman notes that the complainant's and Parliament's version of the facts on this issue continue to diverge, even if the complainant does not allege that he was actually denied the possibility of asking questions after having tried to do so. On the basis of Article 3(2) of the Ombudsman's Statute, the Ombudsman could, of course, try to clarify these issues further by taking testimony from the officials who were present during the interview. However, it is uncertain whether doing so would serve any purpose, in view of the fact that the interview took place nearly three years ago, and that the complainant is probably not the only person the interviewers have interviewed over the intervening years. There is, therefore, nothing to suggest that the persons concerned would have a sufficiently clear recollection of what happened at the interview to be able to answer a question concerning a matter which, at the time of the interview, was not a litigious issue. On the other hand it is not disputed that, immediately after the interview, and upon the complainant's request, the Head of the General Coordination Unit, who was present at the interview, received the complainant in her office in order to answer all his questions concerning the post. The Ombudsman is, therefore, of the opinion that no further inquiries are justified in order to ascertain whether the complainant was indeed invited to ask any questions during his interview because the complainant had, in any case, the possibility to ask questions, and effectively did so after the interview, in his meeting with the Head of the General Coordination Unit.
On the basis of his inquiries into the second and third allegations, the Ombudsman closes it with the following conclusions:
There has been no maladministration by the European Parliament as regards the second allegation.
No further inquiries are justified as regards the third allegation.
The complainant and Parliament will be informed of this decision.
P. Nikiforos Diamandouros
Done in Strasbourg on 13 December 2010
 OJ 2004 C 138 A, p. 14.
 From this note it appears that the complainant wished to ask the following questions with regard to the job: "What is the typical content of the work? Which is/are the working language(s)? What is typical work for an assistant? How much space is there for an individual touch? How would you describe the working atmosphere? How many days do you work in a Strasbourg week? What are the working hours in Brussels? Do I get a coach/senior or is it very individual work?" The note also contained the following questions with regard to the procedure: "How much decision time do I have? Is it a fixed period contract for three years from now? It there a possibility for a renewal/new job? What is negotiable? Is the status different from other civil servants?". The complainant also had the following questions about the work conditions: "Is it possible to work part-time (free Friday to look after daughter)? Is it possible to work 4x9 hours? Do the colleagues regard it as a tough job? How much does it pay (good paid consultancy)? Are there additional payments besides salary? Do they reimburse cost of moving abroad? How do you deal with wife with job?"