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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.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing his inquiry into complaint 104/2010/(IP)EIS against the European Commission

Friday | 14 December 2012

The complainant is an Italian citizen residing in Germany. He argued that his wife had been a victim in Germany of discrimination in employment on the grounds of age and nationality, because a company she had applied to for a job did not hire her. Following the unsuccessful outcome of court proceedings, the complainant submitted an infringement complaint to the European Commission, alleging that the German authorities failed properly to transpose into the national legal order an EU Directive on equal treatment in employment and occupation.

The complainant subsequently turned to the European Ombudsman and alleged that the Commission failed (i) to register his infringement complaint, (ii) to deal with it accordingly, and (iii) to provide convincing reasons to justify why it did not intervene in his case.

In its opinion, the Commission explained that it had registered the complainant's infringement complaint a few days after having received it. It regretted not having given the complainant prior notice of its intention to close his infringement complaint and that it did not inform him of the closure of the case. The Commission moreover explained that Germany had transposed the aforesaid Directive in an appropriate and timely manner and provided specific reasons as to why there was no need to open an infringement procedure on the basis of the complainant's submissions.

Given that the Commission had in fact registered the infringement complaint, the Ombudsman found no maladministration in this regard. Concerning the substance of the case, no further inquiries were justified, because the Commission gave specific and convincing reasons in support of its position in the course of the inquiry. The Ombudsman noted that the Commission acknowledged that it neither gave the complainant prior notice of its intention to close his infringement complaint nor informed him of the closure of the case. In addition, it did not apologise for this omission. He therefore made a critical remark.