You have a complaint against an EU institution or body?

Available languages: 
  • English

Decision of the European Ombudsman on the Own Initiative Inquiry 1150/97/OI/JMA against the European Commission

Strasbourg, 10 September 1998

Mr President,
The European Parliament transferred to me on 12 November 1997 petition n L-35/96 which had been addressed by Mrs A., a Chilean citizen. The petition referred to the refusal of the European Commission to recognize her retirement rights during the period 1977-1978 in which she worked as a local agent in the Latin American Delegation of the Commission.
The petition was registered as a complaint (1047/97/JMA), and after a careful examination, it had to be declared inadmissible since the complainant was neither a national nor a resident of one of the Member States, and accordingly she did not meet the criteria set out in Article 2.2 of the Statute of the European Ombudsman.
In view of the particular circumstances of the case, however, I decided to open an own initiative inquiry on this matter, on the basis of Article 138E of the Treaty establishing the European Community. This own initiative inquiry was registered under file number 1150/97/OI/JMA.
On 17 December 1997 I informed both the President of the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament and the President of the European Commission of this own initiative, and requested observations from the Commission before 31 March 1998.
On 4 March 1998, the Commission informed me that, following my intervention, its responsible services had started to evaluate the situation as regards pension rights of its local staff. It also indicated that in the particular case of Mrs A., her pension rights while employed in its Latin American Delegation should be taken into account. These aspects were confirmed in the Commission´s comments of 14 April 1998.
In summary, the Commission explained that Mrs A. had worked for its Latin American Delegation from 1 January 1977 to 30 September 1978. On the basis of article 80 of the "Conditions of Employment of other servants of the European Communities" the Commission covers the social security charges of its local agents, in line with local regulations. However, because of the high rate of inflation which prevailed in Chile in the 70s, the Commission had its local agents employed in Santiago join a special social security scheme, the "Office de Sécurité Sociale d'Outre-Mer" (OSSOM), in Brussels. With the change of economic conditions in Chile, the Commission's local agents there were progressively incorporated into the national Chilean social security system.
As regards the pension rights of Mrs A., the Commission contacted OSSOM and was informed that she had been registered there during her period of work with the Latin American Delegation. The social security contributions paid during that period should therefore be taken into account for the calculation of her pension rights, as from the age of 55.
The Commission also informed me that it had sent this information to the complainant with reference to my intervention.
In order to ensure that the problem had been solved to the complainant's full satisfaction, I passed the letter from the Commission on to Mrs A. on 30 June 1998. No reply has been received from the complainant.
In the light of the information contained in the Commission´s comments and that supplied by the complainant, the Ombudsman concludes that the problem has been settled by the European Commission.
Against this background, the European Ombudsman decides therefore to close the case.
Mr José María Gil-Robles Gil-Delgado, President of the European Parliament
Mr Alessandro Fontana, President of the Committee on Petitions, European Parliament
Mr Julian Priestley, Secretary General, European Parliament
Mr J-C Eeckhout, Director, Secretariat-General, European Commission
Mrs A.