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Decision of the European Ombudsman in the case 790/2020/PB on the assessment of a job application by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

Dear Mr X,

On 8 May 2020, you submitted a complaint to the European Ombudsman against FRA, concerning the points given to your job application in recruitment procedure FRA-TA-PADIR-AST4-2019. You consider the points too low and you are dissatisfied with FRA’s related assessment of your administrative complaint.

I have concluded that there has been no maladministration on the part of FRA. It accurately informed you that “selection boards for [recruitment procedures] enjoy a wide discretion”, and that the purpose of a review in such cases is only “to ascertain a manifest error or misuse of power”. FRA considered that your administrative complaint contained no evidence of manifest errors or misuse of power.

I would like to first confirm and emphasise that, in the absence of any evidence of manifest errors or misuse of power, an EU selection board has no obligation to conduct a new assessment of a job application based on an applicant’s subjective view that the board should have awarded higher points. In your case, I see no evidence of manifest errors or misuse of power.

A possible source of misunderstanding in the present case may concern the nature of the assessments of job applications by the EU administration, which is comparative. This means that, even if your application demonstrated significant knowledge and skills, the outcome of the assessment also still depends on the other applications. FRA has explained that, in this selection procedure, 17 applications were deemed better and you were thus not invited for an interview.

I would finally like to also confirm that FRA accurately informed you that, according to the EU Court’s case-law, “[the] marks awarded by a [selection board] constitute a sufficient statement of reasons”. FRA’s early provision of the breakdown of your points for all applicable selection criteria was therefore a good and transparent response to your application.

I hope that the above information helps to better understand FRA’s decision, and I thank you for having contacted the European Ombudsman.

Yours sincerely,


Tina Nilsson
Head of Inquiries - Unit 4


Strasbourg, 29/05/2020