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Summary of the Decision in case 644/2015/PMC on the European Central Bank's procurement procedure for the provision of travel services for its staff

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  • Case: 644/2015/PMC
    Opened on 09 May 2015 - Recommendation on 06 Oct 2016 - Decision on 23 Nov 2017
  • Institution(s) concerned: European Central Bank

The case concerned the European Central Bank’s (ECB) organisation of a procurement procedure for the provision of travel services to ECB staff and for the handling of their travel expenses. A German travel service provider complained to the Ombudsman that the ECB had infringed the principle of equal treatment and non-discrimination by not dividing the procurement procedure into two separate lots and by including a number of requirements that favoured the ECB's existing service provider.

The Ombudsman found that the ECB had failed carefully to assess the consequences of bundling the two services into one lot. As the ECB had in the meantime awarded the contract, the Ombudsman recommended that the ECB take steps to make such specific assessments in future procurement procedures.

In reply, the ECB informed the Ombudsman that it had updated its Procurement Handbook and its Business Practice Handbook to allow for the consideration of the awarding of contracts in the form of separate lots in every relevant case.

The Ombudsman welcomes the steps taken by the ECB and notes that in its latest procurement procedure for travel services it divided the overall services into separate lots. As the ECB has accepted the Ombudsman’s recommendation, the case is closed.