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Showing 1 - 20 of 107 results

Recommendation of the European Ombudsman in case 2168/2019/KR on how the European Banking Authority handled the move of its former Executive Director to become CEO of a financial industry lobby

Thursday | 07 May 2020

The Ombudsman received a complaint about the decision of the European Banking Authority (EBA) to allow its Executive Director to take up a position as CEO of an association representing banks, the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME).

The Ombudsman conducted an inquiry, inspected the relevant EBA documents and found maladministration, first, in that the EBA should have forbidden the job move. While the EBA adopted extensive restrictions, these are not sufficient when measured against the risks involved. The Ombudsman considers that if this move does not justify the application of the option, set out in the Staff Regulations, to forbid a staff member accepting a job offer, no move would.

Second, there was maladministration in that the EBA did not, once notified of the planned move, immediately withdraw its Executive Director’s access to confidential information.

The Ombudsman issues three recommendations to the EBA, which should (i) where necessary in future, invoke the option of forbidding its senior staff from taking up certain positions after their term-of-office. Any such prohibition should be time-limited, for example, for two years; (ii) set out criteria for when it will forbid such moves in future so as to give clarity to senior staff. Applicants for senior EBA posts should be informed of the criteria when they apply; and (iii) put in place internal procedures so that once it is known that a member of its staff is moving to another job, their access to confidential information is cut off with immediate effect.

The EBA should reply to these recommendations within three months.



Decision in case 560/2019/KR on alleged conflicts of interest of experts who participate in the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism

Monday | 30 March 2020

The case concerned whether the European Commission has in place processes to ensure that scientific experts who advise it have no conflicts of interest.

The complainant, a civil society organisation, had raised concerns about the independence of scientific experts that contributed to an advisory report on plant protection products (commonly known as pesticides).

The Ombudsman found that the Commission has systems in place to assess the independence of experts. However, with a view to improving these systems, she asked the Commission to ensure that all relevant financial interests are included in experts’ declarations of interests, and that these declarations are assessed and published. She closed the case with these two suggestions for improvement.

Decision in case 1946/2018/KR on how the General Secretariat of the Council informs the public about meetings that the European Council President and members of his private office have with interest representatives

Tuesday | 18 June 2019

The case concerned a request by a non-governmental organisation to the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU (GSC) to make public information about all meetings held between interest representatives and the President of the European Council, as well as members of his private office (‘cabinet’).

The General Secretariat of the Council replied to the complainant that while it is under no legal obligation to maintain a record of the meetings of the President or the cabinet members with external stakeholders, it is committed to publishing relevant information about meetings in a structured and proactive manner.

During the inquiry, the Ombudsman found that information on the meetings held by European Council President Tusk with interest representatives is made public. However, no information is available about any meetings that may take place between members of the President’s cabinet and interest representatives.

The Ombudsman closed the inquiry making several suggestions aimed at improving the information that the GSC makes public.

Decision in case 1113/2018/TM on the European Commission’s decision not to web stream the event "No Child Left Behind "

Tuesday | 16 April 2019

The case concerned the event "No Child Left Behind: Families not institutions - EU external action championing children's rights" which was co-organised by an NGO and the European Commission. Access to the event was by invitation only. The complainant was concerned that the Commission had decided not to web stream the event.

The Commission based its decision on the protection of privacy of the young people, including children, who participated in the event.

The Ombudsman found that the Commission acted reasonably and found no maladministration in this case.

Decision of the European Ombudsman in case 934/2018/RM on how the European Commission dealt with a request for public access to briefing documents for the Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources

Tuesday | 04 December 2018

The case concerned a request for access to briefing documents prepared for meetings of the Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources and his advisors with third parties. The European Commission had not taken a decision on the request after more than a year. The Ombudsman found that this delay constituted maladministration, and recommended that the Commission take a decision without delay.

The Commission subsequently failed to meet the deadline for responding to the Ombudsman, even after this was extended, but apologised for this when it finally sent its formal opinion. The Ombudsman found the excessive delays in this case to be regrettable. However, she found the solution offered by the Commission, making available documents from 12 meetings of the Commissioner, to be reasonable.