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Showing 1 - 20 of 363 results

Decision in case 1333/2015/MDC concerning the decision of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) to exclude the complainant from a competition on the grounds that his diploma was not relevant

Wednesday | 23 May 2018

The complainant was excluded in 2013 from a competition to recruit administrators in the field of audit run by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO). He was excluded on the basis that his academic qualifications were not sufficiently relevant to the post advertised. The complainant pointed out in his complaint to the European Ombudsman that several candidates who had been admitted to the same competition in 2010 had diplomas that were the same as, or less relevant than, his diploma. He argued that if the other candidates’ qualifications were sufficient in 2010, then his diploma should be sufficient also in 2013.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the 2013 competition was the same competition as that originally run in 2010 and that the same criteria regarding qualifications should apply in 2013 as in 2010. The Ombudsman found maladministration by EPSO and recommended that EPSO ask the Selection Board to revise its decision on the complainant’s qualifications.

EPSO refused to accept the Ombudsman’s recommendation without providing

convincing reasons for its position. The Ombudsman therefore closed the case with a finding of maladministration.

Decision in case 739/2016/JAP concerning the European Union Intellectual Property Office’s refusal to grant access to a downloadable version of its case law database

Wednesday | 11 January 2017

The case concerned the handling of a request for information as how to obtain a downloadable version of a case law database held by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (‘EUIPO’). The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and asked EUIPO to better explain its reasons why it could not comply with the request. The EUIPO’s explanation was accurate and reasonable. Thus, the case was closed with the finding of no maladministration.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1339/2014/DK against the European Parliament

Thursday | 03 March 2016

The case concerned the complainant's exclusion by the European Parliament from a selection procedure for research administrators.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and inspected the file held by Parliament.

On the basis of the information obtained during the inspection, the Ombudsman did not find maladministration by Parliament.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 362/2011/KM against the European Commission

Tuesday | 22 December 2015

The case concerned a request to the Commission, from one of its former officials, for detailed information relating to possible disciplinary proceedings against another former Commission official.

The Commission replied that it could not divulge the requested information. It also sought to reassure the complainant that it was dealing with the matter of the former official by taking all necessary measures.

The Ombudsman's inquiry into the issue included inspections of the Commission's files relating to the former official. The Ombudsman found that, while the institutions are required to maintain a high level of transparency, in the present case, the Commission was entitled to take the view it could not reveal details of its actions relating to the former official without harming the fair conduct of proceedings in general as well as the privacy of the official concerned.

The case was thus closed with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 1171/2013/TN on the work of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on the EU rules on flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements for commercial airline transport

Thursday | 05 November 2015

The complaint, which was submitted by the British Air Line Pilots' Association, relates to the EU rules on flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements for commercial airlines. More specifically, it concerns the manner in which EASA had conducted its process to update these rules. The complainant contended (i) that scientific advice should have had a more prominent role in the rulemaking process; (ii) that EASA had failed to provide evidence of the qualifications of the members of the rulemaking group; and (iii) that EASA did not deal adequately with conflict of interest issues.

The Ombudsman found no maladministration by EASA as regards the role of scientific advice in the rulemaking process. As regards the issue of how EASA manages possible conflicts of interest in the rulemaking groups, the Ombudsman found that its policy for mitigating such conflicts in the case of its own staff had been changed and that this revised approach is now being applied also to experts in the rulemaking groups. On this basis the Ombudsman concluded that she did not have to inquire further into that issue. Finally, EASA accepted the Ombudsman's recommendation to provide the complainant with anonymised information about the members of the rulemaking group. The Ombudsman therefore closed the case, encouraging EASA to adopt a more proactive approach to disclosing information available to it about the qualifications and expertise of members of the rulemaking group. She also flagged that she is considering looking into issues related to the work done by external experts for certain EU agencies.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 725/2014/FOR against the European Commission

Thursday | 01 October 2015

The case concerned a request by a Norwegian company for public access to documents relating to contacts between the Commission and Italy aimed at verifying if Italy was in compliance with the rights of free movement of goods, namely in relation to limitations placed on the use of "snow socks" (snow socks are designed to serve the same purpose as snow chains).

The request was refused by the Commission on the basis that the disclosure of the documents could undermine an on-going investigation. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue. Access to the requested documents was then granted, leading the Ombudsman to conclude that the issue had been settled by the Commission.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1385/2014/PL against the European Union Institute for Security Studies

Tuesday | 23 June 2015

The case concerned a candidate's request for information on his performance during a selection process and the possibilities to lodge a complaint against the selection board's decision. The European Union Institute for Securities Studies did not provide the complainant with the requested information, therefore the complainant turned to the Ombudsman alleging lack of transparency in the selection procedure. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and concluded that, in light of the further explanations provided during the inquiry, no maladministration by the Agency could be found.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 328/2013/AN against the European Commission

Wednesday | 17 June 2015

The case concerned the exclusion of a Spanish citizen from an open selection competition on the ground that she did not have a sufficient knowledge of Spanish. The complainant rejected this explanation and requested a copy of the evaluation sheet concerning her linguistic competencies. During the Ombudsman's inquiry, the Commission provided the complainant with the pre-established criteria used to mark all candidates' written tests, thus settling this part of the complaint. Moreover, the recent case-law of the Civil Service Tribunal concerning the secrecy of the evaluation sheets justified the Commission's refusal to disclose them. Therefore, no maladministration was found as regards this aspect of 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 own-initiative inquiry OI/8/2013 concerning the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME)

Wednesday | 25 March 2015

The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) manages a number of EU programmes for the European Commission, including part of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework Programme, COSME, LIFE and EMFF[1].

The Ombudsman opened an own-initiative inquiry asking the EASME to consider establishing a procedure that would allow applicants who are dissatisfied with the way calls for proposals have been handled to turn to an independent Redress Committee. She made two draft recommendations asking the EASME to 1) establish an evaluation review procedure for applicants who respond to calls for proposals under the Horizon 2020 programme and 2) establish a similar review procedure for applicants who respond to calls for proposals launched under the other EU programmes. The Ombudsman recommended that the review procedure should cover cases where applicants put forward claims of (i) procedural errors, (ii) factual errors or (iii) a manifest error of assessment. The EASME accepted both draft recommendations and took timely and appropriate measures to implement them. The Ombudsman commended the EASME for its response. She also made two further remarks to improve the review processes, suggesting that the EASME make clear to applicants that the review of alleged "procedural shortcomings" can also cover manifest errors of assessment.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1348/2013/EIS against the European Commission

Wednesday | 25 March 2015

The case concerned the method for calculating a quality index of durum wheat on the basis of which a premium was paid to farmers in the EU until 2009 under the Common Agricultural Policy. The premium was paid only in the case of durum wheat suitable for use in the manufacture of semolina and pasta products. The complainant wrote to the Commission and argued that the contested method was erroneous and had a distortive effect, but the Commission did not modify it. He complained to the European Ombudsman that the Commission had failed to provide him with an adequate reply. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found no maladministration by the Commission.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 582/2013/DK against the European Personnel Selection Office

Monday | 09 March 2015

The case concerned the complainant's request for access to the partial marks awarded by the selection board in an EPSO open competition.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the selection board did not award partial marks. She also found that EPSO had duly disclosed a copy of the complainant's translation test (before marking) and a copy of the evaluation sheet used by the selection board. It thereby fulfilled its obligation to state reasons for a decision rejecting a candidate's application.

She therefore closed the case with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing own initiative inquiry OI/7/2013/MHZ concerning the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)

Wednesday | 04 March 2015

This inquiry arose in the context of the visit of the European Ombudsman to the European Institute for Gender Equality. The visit formed part of the Ombudsman's programme of visits to EU agencies aimed at spreading good practice among the agencies in their relations with citizens. As part of the visit, the Ombudsman examined (i) the Institute's initial contacts with the public, (ii) transparency, dialogue and accountability, (iii) recruitment, (iv) tenders and contracts, (v) conflicts of interest and (vi) whistleblowing. The Ombudsman made six suggestions to the Institute to improve its performance in these areas. EIGE's response confirmed that it was taking action by, among other things, making information about its work available in all EU official languages and adopting more detailed provisions in relation to whistleblowing.

As the Ombudsman's visit suggested that the Institute needed to do more to deal with, and indeed prevent, cases of harassment, she followed-up specifically on this issue and was encouraged by the determined action taken by the Institute in response. To promote further improvement, the Ombudsman has, among other things, suggested that EIGE regularly organise training in this area of central importance to the Institute's work.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 790/2013/EIS against the European Commission

Wednesday | 08 October 2014

The case concerned the Commission's decision to close its file on an infringement complaint against Finland in which it was alleged that Finland discriminated against men in voluntary additional pension schemes. The complainants contended that the Commission's position was not consistent, as it had brought two similar infringement cases against Italy and Greece before the Court of Justice, whereas it did not do so in the case of Finland. In their view, the Commission also failed to provide adequate reasons for its position that it was not clear whether the Court of Justice would have concluded that the relevant Finnish law breaches EU law.

The Ombudsman inquired into the matter and found that, in the course of the inquiry, the Commission gave adequate reasons for its position, thus exercising the discretion it enjoys when dealing with infringement complaints. She therefore concluded that there were no grounds for further inquiries into the matter and closed the case.