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Showing 1 - 20 of 240 results

Decision in case 1324/2017/LM on how the European Commission appointed the Director General of its Internal Audit Service

Tuesday | 23 July 2019

The case concerned how the European Commission appointed its internal auditor, who had formerly served as the Commission’s accounting officer. The complainant contended that, according to international audit standards, internal auditors should not assess activities for which they were responsible over the course of the previous year. Thus, the Commission should not have appointed the former accounting officer as internal auditor before this ‘cooling off period’ of one year had elapsed.

The Commission argued that the cooling off period did not apply to this case. However, in order to avoid any perception that there could be a conflict of interest, the Commission ensured that the internal auditor would not be in charge of any audit related to his previous responsibilities.

The Ombudsman found that the Commission had put in place adequate measures to prevent any conflict of interest arising. She thus closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration. 

Decision in case 595/2019/TE on how the European Parliament dealt with a request for public access to documents relating to a South Africa-European Union Inter-Parliamentary Meeting

Monday | 15 July 2019

The case concerned a request for public access to documents held by the European Parliament related to the 26th South Africa-EU Inter-Parliamentary Meeting in Cape Town.

Parliament identified three documents as falling within the scope of the complainant’s request. It gave full access to one document, provided an internet link to the second document and gave partial access to the third document. Parliament argued that full public access to the third document would undermine the protection of the public interest as regards international relations. The complainant contested Parliament’s refusal to give full access to that document.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue, inspected the document and found no maladministration in Parliament’s handling of the request.

Decision in case 1324/2018/MH on how the European Parliament dealt with the reimbursement of travel expenses for an interview and tests

Monday | 24 June 2019

The complaint concerned the European Parliament’s decision not to reimburse a candidate for a contract agent post his travel and subsistence expenses. He incurred these expenses when he travelled to Brussels to attend an interview and tests. The complainant was concerned that Parliament’s decision was illegal, and contrary to the principles of non-discrimination and equal treatment.

The Ombudsman found that, at the time, Parliament did not provide contract agent candidates with a contribution towards their travel and subsistence expenses. Parliament’s decision not to reimburse the complainant was in line with its rules in place at the time and respected equal treatment among candidates applying for the same category of post.

Parliament has since changed its rules so that candidates for contract agent posts are now eligible to receive a financial contribution towards their travel and subsistence expenses when attending interviews and tests. The Ombudsman welcomes this change to the rules.

Although she can appreciate the complainant’s sense of grievance surrounding the rules in place at the time, the Ombudsman does not find maladministration and closes the case.

Decision in case 1381/2017/JN on the European Commission’s decision to recover money in four EU funded projects concerning freedom of expression and independent journalism in Belarus

Friday | 21 June 2019

The case concerned the European Commission’s decision to recover EUR 8 620 from an NGO in respect of four EU funded projects in the area of freedom of expression and independent journalism in Belarus.

The documents examined by the Ombudsman in the course of this inquiry did not reveal any shortcoming in the Commission’s assessment of whether the costs declared by the complainant were eligible. Moreover, the Ombudsman found that the Commission’s actions were in line with the principle of proportionality. The Ombudsman found no maladministration.

Decision in case 1948/2018/NH on the alleged failure by the Court of Justice of the European Union to provide sufficient information on the complainant's performance in a staff selection procedure

Tuesday | 18 June 2019

The case concerned how the Court of Justice of the European Union (the Court) replied to a request for feedback in a staff selection procedure for lawyer-linguists.

During the course of the Ombudsman’s inquiry, the Court properly addressed the substance of the complainant’s information request and thereby settled the matter. To avoid similar problems arising in the future, the Ombudsman encourages the Court to review how it replies to feedback requests in staff selection procedures to ensure that its replies are as quick, accurate and informative as possible.

Decision in case 218/2018/JF on the European Commission’s refusal to pay a higher daily fee to an expert in a twinning project

Friday | 24 May 2019

The case concerned an error contained in a proposal for a twinning project, submitted by two Member States to the EU Delegation to the Republic of Azerbaijan. The error related to the fees of a senior expert involved in the project. Whilst the expert was entitled to a fee of EUR 1 750, she was paid only EUR 1 250 after completing the work. Once alerted, the EU Delegation refused to cover the remaining EUR 500 arguing that the error was of the Member States’ responsibility. The expert then complained to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman pointed out that the complainant had not been paid the correct fee solely because of the error. She took the view that it would have been reasonable for the EU Delegation simply to acknowledge that an error had been made and to release the funds necessary to pay the correct fee. Whilst acknowledging the Commission’s duty to protect the financial interests of the EU, the Ombudsman took the view that that duty should not be interpreted as preventing the Commission from correcting a manifest error committed to the detriment of an individual. She, therefore, made a proposal for a solution to the Commission that it pay the additional EUR 500.

The Commission accepted the proposal and the complainant is satisfied to have received the correct fee. The Ombudsman thereby closes the case.