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Showing 1 - 20 of 121 results

Decision in case 1688/2015/JAP on the European Commission’s decision to recover funds from a participant in an EU project on older people and ICT (SENIOR)

Friday | 06 October 2017

The complainant, a Belgian-based non-profit organisation, took part in an EU-funded project that aimed to address issues faced by older people in using ICT solutions. A financial audit found that the system used by the complainant for recording working time was unreliable. As a consequence, the Commission sought to recover more than EUR 85 000 from the complainant.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the auditors had recognised that the work done by the complainant on two specific ‘deliverables’ was legitimate, as was the working time involved. She thus considered that the Commission had not been justified in rejecting the personnel costs linked to this work. To address this, she made a recommendation to the Commission to reduce the amount it was seeking to recover accordingly.

The Commission fully accepted the Ombudsman’s recommendation and agreed to reduce the amount to be recovered by nearly EUR 37 000. Against that background, the Ombudsman closed the case. However, the Ombudsman continues with a separate inquiry regarding the recovery of funds in relation to the other “deliverables”.

Decision of the European Ombudsman on complaint 2377/2013/(PMC)DR concerning the European Court of Justice's rules governing a tender procedure in the field of translations

Thursday | 01 September 2016

The case concerned the evaluation by the European Court of Justice of two tenders for legal translation services. The complainant, an unsuccessful tenderer, alleged that the tender procedure did not meet the standards of good administration because (i) the evaluation of the tenders was not properly documented, (ii) there was no opportunity to ask for an internal administrative review and (iii) it did not guarantee anonymity.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found no maladministration by the Court. The Ombudsman, however, made three suggestions for improvement to the Court, namely that it (i) require internal evaluators to sign and date the evaluation sheets of tests, (ii) set up an internal review mechanism for dealing with complaints by unsuccessful applicants and (iii) anonymise the tests of tenderers for the purposes of the assessment made by the internal evaluators during the evaluation process.

Decision in case 520/2014/PMC concerning the European Commission's refusal of access to documents relating to its decision not to take a position as to the compatibility of the complainant's commercial practices with EU competition rules

Wednesday | 24 February 2016

The complainant, a fair-trade certification association, asked the Commission to issue a decision or an informal guidance letter as regards the compatibility of its commercial practices with EU competition rules. Following the Commission's rejection of the complainant's request, the latter applied for public access to the Commission's file. The complainant contested the Commission's decision not to grant full access to its internal correspondence and an internal note.

In the course of her inquiry, the Ombudsman set out her preliminary view that the Commission had redacted more information than was strictly necessary. The Ombudsman is pleased that the Commission has re-examined the documents concerned and decided to grant wider access. She thus considers the case resolved.

Decision of the European Ombudsman in complaint 915/2015/PMC concerning the European Personnel Selection Office's (EPSO) handling of an alleged technical fault

Wednesday | 28 October 2015

The complainant, who participated in an EPSO recruitment procedure, did not book a date for his computer-based test within the prescribed time-limit and he was thus excluded from the procedure. The complainant argued that EPSO had not sent him an invitation to book the test. EPSO insisted that an invitation had been sent. The Ombudsman's inquiry team inspected EPSO's file and found no indication of any technical problem that could have resulted in a failure to send the complainant the automatic invitation to sit the computer-based test in time. The Ombudsman therefore found no maladministration by EPSO.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 17/2012/PMC against the European Commission

Monday | 18 May 2015

This case concerned the EU Delegation to Armenia's alleged unlawful and/or unfair decision to terminate a grant contract related to a project implemented in Armenia and Jordan, to the detriment of the complainant, an Italian NGO active in the field of development cooperation. After a careful assessment of all the facts and arguments, the Ombudsman concluded that the Delegation's explanation for the termination decision was incomplete. The Ombudsman therefore suggested that the Commission, in its supervisory role over the EU Delegations, provide the complainant with a more comprehensive explanation as to the grounds for terminating the project.

In reply to the Ombudsman's proposal, the Commission declared that the Delegation had taken all the relevant factors into consideration when deciding to terminate the contract. However, it recognised that the explanation for terminating the grant might not have been sufficiently comprehensive. Therefore, it forwarded to the Ombudsman a letter which the Delegation had sent to the complainant explaining all the factors it took into account in its assessment.

The Ombudsman considered that the Commission had taken steps to resolve the matter and thus decided to close the case.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 2527/2011/PMC against the European Commission

Tuesday | 05 May 2015

This case concerned the EU Delegation to Armenia's alleged unlawful and/or unfair decision to terminate a grant contract related to a project implemented in Armenia and Jordan, to the detriment of the complainant, an Italian NGO active in the field of development cooperation. After a careful assessment of all the facts and arguments, the Ombudsman concluded that the Delegation's explanation for the termination decision was incomplete. The Ombudsman therefore suggested that the Commission, in its supervisory role over the EU Delegations, provide the complainant with a more comprehensive explanation as to the grounds for terminating the project.

In reply to the Ombudsman's proposal, the Commission declared that the Delegation had taken all the relevant factors into consideration when deciding to terminate the contract. However, it recognised that the explanation for terminating the grant might not have been sufficiently comprehensive. Therefore, it forwarded to the Ombudsman a letter which the Delegation had sent to the complainant explaining all the factors it took into account in its assessment.

Notwithstanding the fact that the complainant expressed its dissatisfaction with the Commission's reply to her proposal for a friendly solution, the Ombudsman considered that the Commission had taken steps to resolve the matter. She thus decided to close the case.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 402/2014/PMC against the European Commission

Tuesday | 31 March 2015

The complaint was made against the Commission by a representative of a group of citizens who had put forward a European Citizens Initiative ("ECI"). It concerned the system for collecting signatures online, and the hosting on the Commission's servers of such systems, as well as the possibilities to modify an ECI after it had been submitted for registration. On the basis of the current legislation, the Ombudsman found that the Commission's position was reasonable. She therefore concluded that there had been no maladministration by the Commission. The Ombudsman commented that she trusted that the Commission would take her views into account when revising the ECI Regulation in 2015.

The Ombudsman suggested that, as soon as the preliminary assessment of a proposed initiative shows that the initiative does not fulfil the registration criteria, the Commission' could, if the organiser has informed it that it wishes to use its own online collection system, inform the organiser accordingly as rapidly as possible, in order to avoid the latter incurring unnecessary financial and organisational efforts.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1962/2013/JN against the European Commission

Tuesday | 20 January 2015

The case concerned the fairness of the recovery by the European Commission of part of its financial contribution to the complainant, a company, in the context of an EU funded project. The Commission admitted that it had made some errors in its calculation of the amount to be recovered, and apologised. It also waived part of its claim for "liquidated damages", considering that it would be disproportionate. In these circumstances, the Ombudsman considered that there was no on-going maladministration and took no further action.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1641/2012/(RA)OV against the European Commission

Wednesday | 24 September 2014

The complainant, a food business operator, wanted to have its product labelled with a health claim concerning appetite moderation and weight loss. It therefore submitted its health claim to the relevant national authorities which then submitted it to the Commission for assessment by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), under the authorisation procedure provided for in Regulation 1924/2006. However, due to a mistake by the national authorities, the health claim was withdrawn from the list sent to the Commission. The national authorities' subsequent request to the Commission to reinsert the health claim in the list submitted to the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) was refused by the Commission. The complainant turned to the Ombudsman alleging that the Commission was wrong to refuse that request. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the Commission's reasons for its refusal were correct. She concluded that there had been no maladministration by the Commission and closed the case.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 2099/2012/JN against the European Commission

Tuesday | 08 July 2014

The complaint in this case was that the European Commission had behaved unfairly in seeking to recover some of the financial support for an EU-funded project. The complainant was a not-for-profit organisation and it said that it was not possible for it to meet the recovery terms as set by the Commission. Having considered the complaint, made in October 2012, the Ombudsman made a proposal to the Commission for a friendly resolution of the issue. The Ombudsman proposed that the Commission would extend the time period over which the money was to be repaid by the complainant and, also, that the Commission would consider waiving the requirement that the complainant put in place a guarantee to cover the amount to be repaid. The Commission accepted this proposal. In closing the case, the Ombudsman suggested to the parties that they should make direct contact to work out these settlement arrangements.