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Decision of the European Ombudsman concerning complaint 517/2021/LM about how the European Central Bank handled a request for assistance in a case of alleged harassment at the Bank of Spain

Dear Ms X,

On 16 March 2021, you submitted a complaint to the European Ombudsman against the European Central Bank (ECB). You complain that the ECB has failed to assist you concerning alleged harassment that you suffered while working for the Bank of Spain. You consider that the ECB should ensure that the Bank of Spain complies with its anti-harassment protocol.

After a careful analysis of all the information you have provided, I regret to inform you that the Ombudsman finds no maladministration by the ECB[1].

In its reply to your request for assistance, dated 9 February 2021, the ECB referred to its own harassment policy, while pointing out that national central banks have their own harassment protocols and that they are solely responsible for their application. The ECB advised you to follow the anti-harassment protocol put in place by the Bank of Spain.

The ECB’s reply is appropriate and reasonable, as well as in line with its role.

The ECB’s supervisory role regarding national central banks is limited to banking supervision[2]. The ECB is not competent to intervene on issues related to staff management. The ECB thus has no supervisory power over the harassment policies at national central banks.

In the light of the above, I have therefore closed the case.

Even though I am aware that this outcome will disappoint you, I nevertheless hope that these explanations are helpful.

Yours sincerely,


Tina Nilsson
Head of the Case-handling Unit

Strasbourg, 07/04/2021


[1] Full information on the procedure and rights pertaining to complaints can be found at .

[2] For more information, please refer to: