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Decision of the European Ombudsman on complaint 242/2000/GG against the European Commission

Strasbourg, 17 December 2002

Dear Miss P.,

On 18 February 2000, you made a complaint to the European Ombudsman against the European Commission concerning the latter's rules on national experts on detachment to the Commission.

In your complaint, you alleged that the rule established by the Commission according to which national experts seconded to the Commission have to work full-time was discriminatory on the grounds of sex.

On 15 November 2001, and following an in-depth inquiry into your complaint, I submitted a special report to the European Parliament, in conformity with Article 3 (7) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman. A copy of this special report was sent to the Commission. In this special report, I recommended that the Commission should abolish its rule prohibiting national experts on secondment to the Commission from working part-time as quickly as possible.

On 30 April 2002, the Commission adopted a decision on Rules applicable to National Experts on Secondment to the Commission. Article 12 of these Rules provides that national experts may be authorised to work part-time.

On 8 October 2002, the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions adopted a report (reference A5-0355/2002) in which it endorsed my special report and submitted a draft resolution to that effect. The report was drafted by Jean Lambert MEP.

On 17 December 2002, the European Parliament voted to approve the resolution on the Ombudsman's Special Report. In its resolution, the European Parliament welcomed the fact that the Commission had finaly abolished the rule concerned and affirmed that European institutions could not make respect for fundamental rights the object of negotiations, nor postpone compliance with legal obligations in respect to freedom from discrimination at their convenience.

Given that the European Parliament has now completed its examination of my special report and endorsed its conclusions, I will close the file.

Yours sincerely,