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Showing 1 - 20 of 502 results

Decision in case 771/2019/LM on how the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) selected ‘co-opted members’ for its Committee for Socio-economic Analysis

Tuesday | 10 December 2019

The case concerned the procedure for selecting ‘co-opted members’ of a committee which assists the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in its work, the Committee for Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC). The complainant, who had previously been a member of the SEAC, was not selected for another term as a co-opted member. He complained to the Ombudsman that the selection procedure was not transparent or fair, and that the call for expressions of interest did not mention the possibility to appeal decisions.

The Ombudsman found no maladministration in the selection procedure. However, she suggested that ECHA give applicants the possibility formally to request a review of the decision not to select them as co-opted committee members.

Decision in case 1933/2018/KR on the European Commission’s action relating to the drawing up of the EU list of ‘Projects of Common Interest’ in the energy sector

Thursday | 28 November 2019

The case concerned the inclusion of a project on the EU’s third list of Projects of Common Interest (‘PCIs’). PCIs are infrastructure project proposals that the Commission considers will improve and integrate energy markets in the EU.

The complainant, a member of an NGO called ‘Safety Before LNG’, is concerned about the inclusion of a project on the PCI-list, namely the ‘Shannon Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal and connecting pipeline project’. He is of the view that this project should have been the subject of a strategic environmental assessment (SEA), before it was included on the third PCI-list.

The Commission pointed out that it is the responsibility of the Member States in which projects are carried out to ensure that the project meets all EU and national environmental rules. The Ombudsman noted, in this regard, that the Member State authorities in Ireland, including the courts, are carefully examining the compliance of the proposed gas terminal with EU law. The Ombudsman further accepted the Commission’s argument that it has no power to carry out an SEA. The Ombudsman thus found the Commission’s explanation on the matter to be convincing.

The Ombudsman takes note, however, of the complainant’s point about heightened awareness of the negative impact of certain fossil fuels on the climate. Given that the list of PCIs is intended to help the EU achieve its energy policy and climate objectives in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement, she trusts that the Commission too will continue to pay particular attention to this issue of major importance to citizens.

Decision in case 1399/2019/FP on how the European Parliament handled a request for public access to documents on the use of EU funds in Albania

Tuesday | 12 November 2019

The case concerned a request to the European Parliament for public access to documents underlying a mission report of the Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control.

The Parliament was unable to identify any document as falling within the scope of the complainant’s request.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found the Parliament’s position to be reasonable. The Ombudsman closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 1161/2018/MIG on the Research Executive Agency's decision not to accept for EU funding under the 7th Framework Programme for Research a company owner’s full remuneration

Thursday | 31 October 2019

The case concerned the EU’s financial contribution to a project on European medical support during major emergencies. The EU Research Executive Agency (REA) rejected, as ineligible for funding, part of the remuneration paid to the owner of the company that took part in the project. REA considered that, as the owner did not receive a salary, his work on the project must be reimbursed using a flat rate amount. As there was a disagreement over whether the owner’s remuneration constituted a ‘salary’, the Ombudsman inquired into the matter.

The Ombudsman found that it was reasonable for REA to consider that the owner did not receive a salary and thus to apply the flat rate. She closed the case finding no maladministration.

Recommendation of the European Ombudsman in case 640/2019/FP on the transparency of the Council of the EU’s decision-making process leading to the adoption of annual regulations setting fishing quotas (total allowable catches)

Friday | 25 October 2019

The complaint concerned the transparency of the decision-making process in the Council of the EU, leading to the adoption of the annual regulations setting total allowable catches (TACs) of certain fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic for 2017, 2018 and 2019. The complaint was submitted by an environmental law organisation.

The complainant was concerned that the Council (1) failed to record the positions of Member States expressed in Council ‘preparatory bodies’ of national civil servants and Ambassadors, as well as in meetings of the Council of Ministers, (2) failed to provide timely access to legislative documents, and (3) has in place an incomplete register of documents that is difficult to use.

The Ombudsman is of the view that the documents in question are in fact legislative documents. In addition, the documents contain environmental information, as defined in the Aarhus Regulation. Wider and more timely access should therefore be granted to such documents.

The Ombudsman also found that the Council had not demonstrated that disclosing the documents in question would seriously affect, prolong or complicate the decision-making process.

The Ombudsman therefore recommends that the Council should proactively make available documents related to the adoption of the TAC Regulation at the time they are circulated to Member States or as soon as possible thereafter.

Decision in case 1151/2019/LM on the alleged failure by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) to take into account the language chosen by a candidate to sit a test

Friday | 25 October 2019

The complainant took part in a selection procedure for the recruitment of secretaries to the EU civil service, organised by the European Personnel Selection Office. One of the tests of the selection procedure assessed the candidates’ skills in using Microsoft Office. The complainant turned to the Ombudsman, arguing that she had to sit the test in a language different to the one she had chosen.

The Ombudsman found that there was no error by EPSO regarding the complainant’s language choice, but that the matter was based on a misunderstanding. The Ombudsman thus closed the case with a finding of no maladministration, suggesting that EPSO reformulate the information on the basis of which the misunderstanding arose.