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Showing 1 - 20 of 563 results

Decision in case 175/2019/PL on how the European Investment Bank handled a complaint about a project it financed in Spain

Monday | 23 March 2020

The case concerned the time it was taking the European Investment Bank (EIB) to investigate a complaint about irregularities in a project called “Castilla y León Climate Change”, which the Bank financed.

In the course of the inquiry, the EIB informed the Ombudsman that it had concluded the investigation.

The Ombudsman finds that the time it took the EIB to investigate the matter was reasonable considering the complexity of the issue. Thus, the Ombudsman closes the inquiry finding that there was no maladministration.

Decision in case 24/2020/VB on the European Commission’s alleged failure to act on a complaint against the United Kingdom about an infringement of EU law

Monday | 23 March 2020

The case concerned the European Commission’s alleged failure to act on a complaint against the United Kingdom about an infringement of EU law.

The Ombudsman inquired into the matter and obtained clarifications from the Commission on its handling of the matter. Although the Commission acknowledged that it could have formally registered the matter as a complaint at an earlier stage, the Ombudsman did not find anything to suggest that it would have implied a substantive difference in the Commission’s handling of the matter.

The Ombudsman closes the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 1934/2019/JAP on the European Personnel Selection Office’s decision not to admit a candidate to a selection procedure for EU civil servants

Wednesday | 18 March 2020

The case initially concerned the European Personnel Selection Office’s (EPSO) failure to reply to the complainant’s request for review of the decision not to admit him to a selection procedure for EU civil servants in the field of technical security due to his lack of professional experience.

The Ombudsman asked EPSO to reply to the complainant’s request for review. Once EPSO provided its reply, the complainant questioned it, claiming that it was inadequate. He also argued that EPSO failed to address his specific questions concerning the confidentiality and secrecy of the competition.

The Ombudsman inspected EPSO’s file on the complaint. She found that the selection board had examined the information provided in the complainant’s application and assessed it against the eligibility criteria. The Ombudsman did not identify a manifest error in how the selection board assessed the application, and closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 2145/2018/JAP on how the European Commission oversaw the creation of harmonised standards on reinforcing and prestressing steel for concrete

Wednesday | 18 March 2020

The case concerned how the European Commission oversaw the work of two standards organisations it had requested to develop harmonised standards on reinforcing and prestressing steel for concrete. The Commission first requested the standards in 1997, and revised its request in 2009.

The complainant, an association of steel importers and distributers, was concerned that the Commission did not properly oversee the process and did not do enough to ensure harmonised standards were adopted.

The Ombudsman identified a number of shortcomings, notably the long delay incurred and as regards how the Commission had exercised its oversight role in this process.

The Commission has, in the meantime, drafted a new ‘standardisation request’ to take account of new legislative requirements. This request is pending consultations with the relevant stakeholders and adoption by the Commission, before it can be submitted to the standards organisations. To help avoid further problems, the Ombudsman made three suggestions for improvement and closed the case.

Decision in case 2022/2018/VB on the European Commission’s failure to take a timely decision on a state aid complaint in the telecommunications sector

Monday | 16 March 2020

The case concerned the European Commission’s failure to take a timely decision on a state aid complaint made by a Slovenian telecommunications company.

The Ombudsman regrets that it took the Commission some nine years after having received the complaint to determine that the complainant was not an interested party. While a certain amount of time may be required to come to such a conclusion, nine years is excessive, even in a case that the Commission has determined is not a priority.

The Ombudsman acknowledges that the Commission was not inactive during this period as it engaged in extensive exchanges with the complainant and the national authorities and addressed all the arguments raised by the complainant.

As the Commission has now finalised the analysis of the state aid complaint, the Ombudsman concludes that no further inquiries into this complaint are justified and closes the case.

Decision in case 194/2019/TM on how the European Commission is dealing with an infringement complaint about a motorway in Bulgaria that may infringe EU environmental law

Tuesday | 10 March 2020

The case concerned the European Commission’s handling of an infringement complaint against Bulgaria. The complainant is concerned about the approval of EU funding for a motorway linking Budapest, Sofia and Thessaloniki. In its view, the part of the motorway that will pass through a Natura 2000 protected site in Bulgaria risks infringing EU environmental law. The complainant took issue with the Commission’s delay in taking a decision on the infringement complaint.

The Ombudsman concluded that the time it is taking the Commission to reach a decision is justified by the specific circumstances of the case and closed her inquiry finding no maladministration. She asked, however, that the Commission keep the complainant informed about progress on the file.

Decision in case 1481/2019/MH on how the European Commission dealt with an infringement complaint against the Netherlands concerning the importation of potentially unsafe lighters

Friday | 06 March 2020

The case concerned the time taken by the European Commission to deal with a complaint from a manufacturer of lighters alleging that the Netherlands was infringing EU law. The complainant was particularly concerned that the Commission had not taken the next formal step in the procedure since July 2014, when it had asked the Netherlands for further information about the case.

The Ombudsman acknowledges that more than nine years to conduct an investigation into an infringement complaint is a very long time. However, based on the Commission’s extensive information gathering and its analysis, and the extent of its engagement with the Dutch authorities and the complainant, the Ombudsman has not found undue delay in the Commission’s handling of this case. Over the nine-year period, the Commission had approximately six rounds of information gathering with the Netherlands, while the complainant submitted reports and studies on more than 18 occasions. The complainant also met with the Commission at least 13 times.

As the Commission has now sent a letter to the complainant informing it of its intention to close the case, the Ombudsman considers that no further inquiries are justified.