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Management of EU funds (grants, procurement and contracts) and the role of the European Ombudsman

Good management of EU funds is a core area of work of the European Ombudsman. The EU provides funding in the form of grants to projects or organisations that further common EU interests or help implement an EU programme or policy. The EU also allocates part of its budget to public procurement, used for services and material necessary for the working of the European institutions or the implementation of EU policies.

The Ombudsman aims to ensure that the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies manage funding programmes and calls for tenders appropriately. This implies that they act in line with the relevant legal framework, and deal with funding partners and contractors in a fair manner and in compliance with the principles of good administration. The Ombudsman deals with cases that concern the award of grants and contracts, as well as certain aspects concerning the implementation of contracts.

The Ombudsman’s role in cases concerning the award of contracts is to examine whether there had been a manifest error of assessment or a procedural error. The Ombudsman may examine whether the EU body in question acted in line with the legal provisions of the contract, the EU Financial Regulation and other applicable legal provisions, as well as the principles of good administration. The Ombudsman’s role is not to reassess a project proposal or tender, or to mediate in contractual disputes.