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Alleged mishandling of a complaint to the EIB

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  • Case: 48/2012/MHZ
    Opened on 02 Feb 2012 - Decision on 18 Feb 2013
  • Institution(s) concerned: European Investment Bank
  • Field(s) of law: General, financial and institutional matters
  • Types of maladministration alleged – (i) breach of, or (ii) breach of duties relating to: Reasonable time-limit for taking decisions [Article 17 ECGAB]
  • Subject matter(s): Institutional and policy matters
A road bridge with access roads
Copyright: Stocklib ©

Summary of the decision on complaint 48/2012/MHZ against the European Investment Bank (EIB)

The complainant submitted a complaint to the European Investment Bank ('EIB') concerning the project for the construction of a road bridge with access roads in Poland. He claimed that the EIB should not have financed the project because it did not comply with environmental requirements, and alleged that there were hidden reasons behind the project (political pressure and corrupt practices). The EIB Complaints Mechanism Division ('CM') opened an inquiry into the complaint. The complainant did not agree with the CM's conclusion that there was no maladministration by the EIB and turned to the European Ombudsman. He also felt that the CM delayed its decision on his complaint. He claimed that the EIB should ensure that the Polish authorities comply with all environmental requirements before disbursing any funds for the Project.

The Ombudsman took the view that, in its opinion on the complaint, the EIB was able to provide proper reasons for the delay in handling the complaint and that the CM undertook the correct steps in its inquiry. In addition, he considered that the CM's decision, complemented by the EIB's opinion and its further reply to the Ombudsman's questions, constitutes a proper statement of reasons for the CM's position that it did not find an instance of maladministration in the EIB's decisions relating to the project. These decisions were preceded by the verification of the documentation provided by the Polish authorities. Moreover, the allegations of lack of compliance with environmental requirements and corrupt behaviour were not confirmed by the Polish redress organs. Finally, the EIB refrained from making disbursements for the Project before the above allegations were clarified.

The Ombudsman concluded that there was no maladministration and closed the case. He made a further remark to the effect that whenever the CM informs complainants that there will be some delay in handling their complaints, it could consider providing reasons for the delay.