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The funding of a project under the EU-Asia Pro Eco Programme

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  • Case: 319/2011/TN
    Opened on 05 Apr 2011 - Decision on 18 Dec 2012
  • Institution(s) concerned: European Commission
  • Field(s) of law: External relations
  • Types of maladministration alleged – (i) breach of, or (ii) breach of duties relating to: Duty of care
  • Subject matter(s): Award of tenders or grants
Man holding money
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Summary of the decision on complaint 319/2011/TN against the European Commission

The complainant, a British local authority, participated as a partner in an EU- funded project on waste management in India. In the complaint to the European Ombudsman, the complainant alleged that the Commission failed to ensure that the Greek company which coordinated the project, and, as such, was in charge of reimbursing the partners, paid the complainant's legitimate costs in full. The complainant also suspected that the coordinator had wrongly claimed and received funding.

The Ombudsman noted that the Commission had urged the coordinator to pay the complainant the outstanding amount. The Ombudsman found that the Commission had, for the moment, used all leverage available to it to assist the complainant. The Ombudsman further noted that if the Commission were immediately to proceed to recover the monies paid to the coordinator, but not paid by the coordinator to the complainant, any possibility that the latter would be paid by the coordinator would no longer exist. The Ombudsman also noted that the Commission would not be legally empowered to pay that same amount directly to the complainant (since it has no contract with the complainant).

The Ombudsman therefore found no maladministration by the Commission. However, he made a further remark to the Commission, asking it to continue to monitor the attempts to resolve the dispute between the coordinator and the complainant. He added that if those attempts were to fail and if, as a result, the complainant were not to be paid by the coordinator, the Commission should issue a recovery order against the coordinator.