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Reasonable time-limit for taking decisions [Article 17 ECGAB]

Showing 1 - 20 of 636 results

Decision in case 960/2016/TM on the European Investment Bank´s alleged failure to handle a complaint in a timely manner

Monday | 04 December 2017

The case concerned the alleged failure of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Complaints Mechanism to handle a complaint in a timely manner. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the delay was justified due to the complexity of the subject matter of the complaint. The Ombudsman therefore found no maladministration by the EIB.

Decision in case 318/2016/ZA on the failure by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprise to reply to a request for review in a recruitment procedure

Thursday | 22 December 2016

The case concerned the failure by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME) to reply to the complainant’s request for review following a recruitment procedure for a contract agent.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and asked EASME to reply to the complainant and address her concerns about her exclusion from the ‘reserve list’ of successful candidates. In its reply, EASME apologised for what it described as “an unfortunate event”, which should not have happened, and explained why the complainant had not been included in the reserve list.

The Ombudsman found EASME’s explanations about the complainant’s exclusion convincing. However, she regretted the fact that it had taken EASME one year to reply to the complainant’s request for review, and that it had done so only after the Ombudsman’s intervention. The Ombudsman encouraged EASME to take steps to ensure that similar incidents do not occur in the future.

Decision in case OI/1/2016 on the failure by the European Commission to reply to a request for a legal review of a decision by an EU agency

Thursday | 22 December 2016

The case concerned the failure by the European Commission to reply to the complainant’s request for a legal review of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency’s decision to reject his project from EU funding under the Erasmus+ programme. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the Commission had already replied to the complainant. She therefore considered this part of the complaint as settled by the institution. She also examined the substance of the Commission’s reply and found it comprehensive and reasonable. She therefore decided that there was no maladministration.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing her own-initiative inquiry OI/11/2015/EIS concerning the timeliness of payments by the European Commission

Monday | 19 December 2016

Most of the EU budget each year is allocated to funds and programmes managed by the European Commission on a shared basis with Member States. In June 2015, the Ombudsman opened an own-initiative inquiry concerning the timeliness of payments by the Commission, with a focus on payments to private contractors and beneficiaries, who are likely to suffer most as a result of late payment. This inquiry followed four earlier inquiries on the same subject.

In carrying out her inquiry, the Ombudsman considered both the Commission’s duty to ensure sound financial management, in particular by avoiding irregular or erroneous payments, and the fundamental right of contractors and beneficiaries to good administration, notably by having their payment claims handled within a reasonable period of time.

The Ombudsman requested information on the number and percentage of cases where delays in payment occurred, the extent of the delays that occurred, the sums involved and the cases where interest was paid on account of late payment. The Ombudsman also carried out an on-site inspection to get a better understanding of how the payment process works in practice.

The Ombudsman notes that the overall proportion of late payments has increased since 2013, due to two main factors. First, the current Financial Regulation, which entered into force on 1 January 2013, imposed tighter payment deadlines. Second, the EU budgetary authority (that is, Parliament and Council) limited the amount of “payment appropriations” in 2014, which is the money allocated to the institutions to pay bills during the year.

The Ombudsman welcomes the progress made by the Commission in reducing the number and value of late payments in 2015, after they had peaked in 2014. She acknowledges that the shortfall in payment appropriations was an exceptional factor beyond the Commission’s control. The Ombudsman further notes that the increased late payment averages from 2013 onwards did not mean that the Commission’s performance had deteriorated in absolute terms. At the same time, the Ombudsman emphasises that the Commission has to make significant efforts to meet the tighter legal deadlines introduced under the current Financial Regulation.

The Ombudsman’s inspection showed that the Commission closely monitors its performance in this area and has developed many good practices. However, the Ombudsman is concerned that some of the recent measures announced by the Commission were raised already in 2010 following a consultation launched by the Ombudsman in the context of a previous inquiry.

The Ombudsman therefore encourages the Commission to intensify its efforts in the areas of coordination between financial and operational checks, developing online tools, managing staff turnover to the extent possible, managing suspensions and registering invoices in a timely way. She makes a number of suggestions with this in mind.

Decision in case 628/2016/EIS concerning the decision of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) not to allow the complainant to submit a new application after he failed to pass the first tests

Thursday | 01 December 2016

The case concerned the decision of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) not to allow the complainant to submit a second application in the context of a call for expressions of interest which contained no specific deadline for the submission of applications. The complainant sought to submit a second application after failing to pass the test linked to his initial application under the same selection procedure. The complainant argued that EPSO failed to provide adequate replies to his letters concerning (i) the legal basis for not allowing candidates to reapply in selection procedures without any specific closing dates; and (ii) the conditions, including the behaviour of staff, at the test centre in Spain.

In its response, EPSO referred to the conditions set out in the call for expressions of interest as the legal basis for its actions. It also explained that it had investigated the matter concerning the behaviour of the staff at the test centre.

The Ombudsman found EPSO’s explanation to be reasonable and adequate, so the case was closed.

Decision in case 1093/2016/JAP concerning the European Commission’s failure to reply to correspondence about problems with the submission of a grant proposal

Thursday | 01 December 2016

The case concerned the Commission’s failure to reply to the complainant’s messages concerning its difficulties with the submission of a grant proposal. Due to technical problems, the complainant was not able to apply through the Commission’s system PRIAMOS. Instead, it submitted its proposal by e-mail, which remained unanswered.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and asked the Commission to reply. In its reply, the Commission apologised for not having replied earlier. It said that it could not accept the complainant’s e-mail application because the system had functioned properly and the Commission had not been able to identify any attempts by the complainant to send the proposal via PRIAMOS before the deadline.

Decision of the European Ombudsman on complaint 844/2014/(PL)DR concerning the handling by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) of computer problems in an open competition

Tuesday | 30 August 2016

The case concerned EPSO’s actions following a computer-server crash during a test and EPSO's handling of the complainant's requests for review and for access to documents.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that EPSO (i) did not deal properly with the situation arising from the computer crash, (ii) failed to deal properly with the complainant's request for review and (iii) failed to handle properly the complainant's request for access to documents. Therefore, the Ombudsman made three recommendations to EPSO.

EPSO accepted the Ombudsman's first recommendation regarding how it should deal with technical problems during a computer-based test. The second recommendation was that EPSO should provide the complainant with a detailed explanation of how it had dealt with his request for a review. The Ombudsman did not find EPSO's response on this to be convincing and that EPSO’s handling of the request for a review constituted maladministration. Finally, EPSO did not accept the Ombudsman's third recommendation regarding the provision of access to documents. The Ombudsman found that EPSO’s failure to provide further documents also constituted maladministration. In addition to two findings of maladministration, the Ombudsman also made a suggestion to EPSO on how it could improve its contact service for candidates.  

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1731/2013/PHP concerning the European Commission's handling of three alleged cases of State Aid to football clubs in Spain and a related request for access to documents

Thursday | 11 February 2016

This case concerned the European Commission's handling of information submitted by the complainant, alleging three cases of unlawful State aid granted to Spanish football clubs. The complainant argued that the Commission had failed to decide within a reasonable time whether it should open a formal investigation into the allegedly illegal State aid. Since, in the complainant's view, the Commission was failing to take action, the complainant made a request for access to some documents related to two of these cases. The Commission refused to give access on grounds of the protection of the purpose of the investigations.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found no maladministration on either issue by the Commission. She has therefore closed the case.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1582/2014/PHP on the European Commission's handling of authorisation applications for genetically modified food and feed

Friday | 15 January 2016

The case concerned delays encountered in the authorisation of twenty applications for genetically modified food and feed. The complainants informed the Commission of their concerns on several occasions. In their view, the Commission's explanations and the persistent delays were unacceptable. Therefore, the complainants turned to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the delays affecting the twenty applications were not justified. In the course of the inquiry, the Commission dealt with all the pending applications. The Ombudsman concluded, however, that the delays reflected a systemic problem rather than being the result of matters specific to the particular authorisation applications. In closing the inquiry, the Ombudsman found that the delays constituted maladministration on the part of the Commission.

Opinion of the European Commission

Wednesday | 30 September 2015

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1561/2014/MHZ against the European Banking Authority (EBA)

Monday | 06 July 2015

The case concerned a delay by the European Banking Authority (EBA) in dealing with the complainant's request for the EBA to investigate an alleged breach of EU law by the Estonian Financial Supervisory Authority. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the EBA was able to justify its delay, for the most part. For this reason, and also because the EBA apologised for the delay and undertook to improve its procedure, the Ombudsman did not find maladministration. Since, in the course of the inquiry, the EBA established internal deadlines for dealing with similar requests, the Ombudsman encouraged it to formalise these deadlines by amending its Rules of Procedure. She thus closed the case with a further remark.