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Decision concerning the European Commission’s refusal to grant a ‘double dependent child allowance’ to a staff member with a child with a disability (case 535/2021/VS)

Πέμπτη | 23 Φεβρουαρίου 2023

The case concerned the refusal by the European Commission to grant a staff member with a child with a disability a ‘double dependent child allowance’, which is provided for under the EU Staff Regulations for assisting with the care of children with disabilities. The Commission based its decision on internal rules agreed by the EU administration concerning the allowance, according to which children whose disabilities are deemed to be below a certain threshold are not considered eligible.

The Ombudsman took the view that using thresholds on the degree of disability to exclude certain children with disabilities automatically is at odds with the relevant provision in the Staff Regulations. The allowance is intended to cover cases involving ‘heavy expenditure’, and the Staff Regulations make no reference to the degree of disability. In addition, while setting thresholds on the degree of disability to determine eligibility for financial support may make matters more straightforward and predictable from an administrative perspective, it seems to be at odds with the EU administration’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).

In the course of the inquiry, the Ombudsman made a solution proposal to the Commission that it initiate the process to review the applicable rules, which will involve the other EU institutions. She also urged the Commission to reassess the complainant’s request for the double dependent child allowance, taking into account the above finding, that is, not rejecting it solely because of the degree of disability that his child has been deemed to have. As the process to revise the applicable rules may take some time, and to guarantee equal treatment, the Ombudsman also urged the Commission to take this inquiry into account when considering all pending and future requests for the double dependent child allowance. This implies assessing each application for the double dependent child allowance on a case-by-case basis, and not excluding any applications merely because the child’s disability is considered to be below a certain threshold.

In response to the solution proposal, the Commission has initiated a process to review the rules setting out the threshold approach, which could lead to their revision. The Ombudsman welcomes that the Commission has acted on this aspect of her solution proposal.

However, the Commission also stated that it would await the outcome of this process before reassessing the complainant’s request or other requests. Given that this may take some time, and given the findings of this inquiry, the Ombudsman remains dissatisfied on this aspect of the case. She asks the Commission once again to consider applying the rules more flexibly for requests from now on. The Ombudsman remains convinced that the rules in question should have been revised much sooner to give effect to the commitments the EU signed up to. The Ombudsman therefore asks the Commission to follow up within three months and intends to revisit the matter if the outcome of the revision is not appropriate or is taking too long. The Ombudsman will also draw the attention of the other institutions to her findings.

 

Decision on how the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) assessed the application of a candidate in a selection procedure for administrators in the field of agriculture (case 381/2022/FA)

Δευτέρα | 30 Ιανουαρίου 2023

The case concerned how the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) assessed the education and professional experience of a candidate in a selection procedure for recruiting EU staff in the field of agriculture.

The Ombudsman found nothing to suggest a manifest error in how the selection board assessed the complainant’s qualifications and, therefore, closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision on the European Personnel Selection Office’s (EPSO) decision not to allow a candidate in COVID-19 quarantine to reschedule a test (case 2223/2021/ABZ)

Τετάρτη | 18 Ιανουαρίου 2023

The case concerned the decision of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) not to allow a candidate, who was placed in COVID-19 quarantine, to reschedule her test in the context of a selection procedure for contract agent staff (CAST Permanent selection procedure).

The Ombudsman found that EPSO provided reasonable explanations as to why it was not able to provide an alternative testing date to the complainant. On that basis, the Ombudsman closed the inquiry with a finding that there was no maladministration by EPSO.

Decision on how the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) carried out two staff selection procedures in the field of cybersecurity (cases 1159/2021/VB and 1224/2021/VB)

Παρασκευή | 16 Δεκεμβρίου 2022

The case concerned the way in which the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) carried out two selection procedures to recruit experts in the field of cybersecurity who would fit one or more of three profiles. The complainant took part in both procedures and raised concerns about the scoring methodology applied by ENISA and the inconsistency of the scores he received in one procedure.

In the course of the inquiry, the Ombudsman inquiry team noted that the scoring methodology used in both procedures put candidates applying for one or two profiles only at a disadvantage in comparison to those who applied for all three profiles. This was not clear in the vacancy notices. It also requested explanations to ENISA on the inconsistencies in the complainant’s scores.

ENISA acknowledged the inconsistencies in the scores received by the complainant and offered to invite him to the next stage of both selection procedures.

The Ombudsman found that, as ENISA has taken appropriate steps to remedy the issues raised by the complainant, no further inquiries are justified in this case and closed the inquiry.

Decision on the European Data Protection Supervisor's (EDPS) refusal to give full public access to documents concerning the drafting of its implementing provisions on promotion (1995/2022/OAM)

Παρασκευή | 16 Δεκεμβρίου 2022

The case concerned a request for public access to documents related to the drafting of the European Data Protection Supervisor's (EDPS) implementing provisions on staff promotion. The EDPS gave partial access to some documents, but refused to disclose parts of three documents, which it considered to be covered by the exception for the protection of legal advice. The complainant contested the EDPS’s position. He further claimed that the EDPS did not identify all documents falling within the scope of his request.

The Ombudsman inquiry team inspected the relevant documents. During the inquiry, the EDPS became aware of an error in the redaction of one document partially disclosed at initial stage. It remedied that error and granted the complainant wider partial access to the document in question.

As regards the other documents, the Ombudsman found that the EDPS’s decision to refuse full access was not unreasonable. Given that the documents at issue related to an internal administrative procedure, she did not identify an overriding public interest in disclosure. The Ombudsman also considered that the EDPS properly identified all the documents falling within the scope of the request.

In view of this, the Ombudsman closed the inquiry finding no maladministration.

Απόφαση σχετικά με τον τρόπο κατά τον οποίο το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο αξιολόγησε τα προσόντα και την επαγγελματική πείρα υποψηφίου σε διαδικασία επιλογής επαγγελματιών γλωσσών και διαπολιτισμικότητας (υπόθεση 2133/2021/ΚΤ)

Πέμπτη | 15 Δεκεμβρίου 2022

Η υπόθεση αφορούσε διαδικασία επιλογής που διοργανώθηκε από το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο για την πρόσληψη «επαγγελματιών γλωσσών και διαπολιτισμικότητας». Ο ενδιαφερόμενος θεώρησε ότι η βαθμολογία που είχε λάβει στον «αξιολογητή ταλέντου» (‘talent evaluator’), το στάδιο της διαδικασίας κατά το οποίο αξιολογούνται τα προσόντα και η επαγγελματική πείρα των υποψηφίων, δεν ανταποκρινόταν με ακρίβεια στη συναφή επαγγελματική του πείρα και στις σπουδές του στον τομέα.

Η Διαμεσολαβήτρια δεν διαπίστωσε πρόδηλο σφάλμα στην εκ μέρους της εξεταστικής επιτροπής αξιολόγηση του αξιολογητή ταλέντου του ενδιαφερομένου και περάτωσε την έρευνα με το συμπέρασμα ότι δεν συντρέχει περίπτωση κακοδιοίκησης. Η Διαμεσολαβήτρια εντόπισε ορισμένα στοιχεία που το Κοινοβούλιο θα πρέπει να λάβει υπόψη του σε μελλοντικές διαδικασίες και επέστησε την προσοχή του Κοινοβουλίου σε αυτά.

Decision on how the European Parliament communicated with an applicant for a traineeship (case 1266/2022/LM)

Πέμπτη | 15 Δεκεμβρίου 2022

The case concerned how the European Parliament communicated with an individual regarding his application for a traineeship. The complainant contended that he was shortlisted, interviewed and then rejected before the period for shortlisting candidates had formally started. He argued that this was in breach of the selection procedure rules.

The Ombudsman found that the Parliament had initially miscommunicated with the complainant, but that it promptly remedied this. The Ombudsman closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration but encouraged the Parliament to improve the information provided on the dedicated webpage for the traineeship in question, notably about the possibility to interview candidates.