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Showing 1 - 20 of 120 results

Decision in case 668/2016/EIS on the failure by the European Commission to provide proper replies to a complainant about his concerns related to a state aid issue in Germany

Wednesday | 06 December 2017

The case concerned the European Commission’s failure to provide proper replies to a complainant who had complained about a state aid issue in Germany. The complainant took the view that Germany was violating the EU state aid rules because of its new funding scheme for public broadcasting. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that, since the Commission ultimately provided an adequate reply, there was no maladministration.  

Decision of the European Ombudsman in case 1179/2014/LP on the involvement of “interested parties” in State aid investigations carried out by the Commission

Friday | 23 September 2016

The case concerned the Commission’s practice of refusing, in the context of a State aid formal investigation, to provide beneficiaries of State aid and other interested parties with access to its State aid file.

The complainant argued that, following the entry into force of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the Commission’s practice was in breach of Article 41 (right to good administration) and Article 47 (right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial) of the Charter.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the Commission’s practice was in line with the relevant State aid Procedural Regulations and the jurisprudence of the EU Courts regarding the procedural rights of interested parties. The fact that beneficiaries and other interested parties do not have access to the Commission State aid file reflects their limited role in a State aid investigation and the fact that a State aid investigation is initiated against a Member State rather than against a beneficiary. Therefore, the Ombudsman found that there was no maladministration.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 577/2014/MDC on the European Commission's refusal to grant access, pursuant to Council Regulation 1225/2009, to a request for review concerning the expiry of anti-dumping duties on ammonium nitrate imports from Russia

Thursday | 17 March 2016

The case concerned the European Commission's refusal to grant the complainant, an interested party, access to the Union industry's initial request to extend anti-dumping duties on ammonium products from Russia. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the Commission's refusal was not grounded in light of the applicable provisions of the anti-dumping Regulation and may have impaired the complainant's rights of defence in that procedure. She thus recommended to the Commission that it disclose the relevant request.

Although the Commission disagreed with the Ombudsman's finding of maladministration, it accepted her recommendation to disclose the relevant request. The Ombudsman therefore closed the case.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1731/2013/PHP concerning the European Commission's handling of three alleged cases of State Aid to football clubs in Spain and a related request for access to documents

Thursday | 11 February 2016

This case concerned the European Commission's handling of information submitted by the complainant, alleging three cases of unlawful State aid granted to Spanish football clubs. The complainant argued that the Commission had failed to decide within a reasonable time whether it should open a formal investigation into the allegedly illegal State aid. Since, in the complainant's view, the Commission was failing to take action, the complainant made a request for access to some documents related to two of these cases. The Commission refused to give access on grounds of the protection of the purpose of the investigations.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found no maladministration on either issue by the Commission. She has therefore closed the case.

Decision of the European Ombudsman in case 2086/2014/EIS concerning an alleged conflict of interest in the European Commission's handling of a procedure for infringement of competition law

Monday | 30 November 2015

The case concerned an alleged conflict of interest by a former Commissioner in a Commission decision not to investigate an antitrust complaint made to the Commission. The antitrust complaint to the Commission alleged an infringement of EU competition rules by the Union of European Football Associations ('UEFA'). The complainant considered that the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations ('the FFP') are unlawful insofar as they require that, over a period of three years, the relevant income of a football club has to at least match its relevant expenses. The Commission decided not to investigate the complaint on the grounds that the issue did not constitute a priority for it. In the complainant's view, this decision was influenced by the Commissioner in charge who had a conflict of interest, as he was an "associate" and a strong supporter of one particular club for which the FFP are advantageous.The complainant also pointed to the fact that the Commissioner had issued a joint declaration with the UEFA president, expressing support for the FFP, more than a year prior to his complaining to the Commission.

The Commission argued that the former Commissioner had no legal, financial, organisational or other form of ties with the football club in question. It added that the joint declaration made by the Commissioner and the UEFA president was completely unrelated to the complainant's complaint, as it did not express any views on the FFP from an antitrust point of view.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found no maladministration by the Commission. She thus closed the case.

Decision of the European Ombudsman in the inquiry into complaint 1021/2014/PD against the European Commission

Wednesday | 11 November 2015

In 2012 and 2014 the then European Commissioner responsible for competition made public statements concerning an on-going investigation of a possible cartel. One of the companies being investigated complained to the Ombudsman that the statements were in breach of the principle of impartiality as the statements gave the impression that the Commissioner had already decided what the final result of the on-going investigation would be.

The Ombudsman held that some of the public statements made by the Commissioner could reasonably be perceived as suggesting that the Commission or the Commissioner had already decided the outcome of the on-going investigation and that this constituted maladministration. The Ombudsman made a recommendation which the Commission has for the most part acknowledged. The Ombudsman thus closed the case with a finding of maladministration arising from the former Commissioner's public statements from 2012 and 2014.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 400/2014/DK against the European Commission

Monday | 08 June 2015

The case concerned the European Commission's alleged failure to inform the complainant about the priority status of his State aid complaint.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue. In the course of her inquiry, the Commission informed the complainant that his complaint was not treated as a priority case. However, the Commission did not explain the reasons for its decision. The Ombudsman therefore closed the complaint with a critical remark concerning the Commission's failure to inform the complainant about why it had given a low priority status to his state aid complaint.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1381/2014/PL against the European Commission

Thursday | 07 May 2015

The case concerned an alleged failure by the European Commission to decide within a reasonable period of time on the State aid allegedly granted by the Netherlands to the shipbuilding sector. The Ombudsman opened an inquiry into the case following which the Commission finalised its preliminary assessment, concluding that the measures in question do not constitute State aid. The Ombudsman found there had not been any maladministration and closed the case.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1500/2014/FOR against the European Commission

Thursday | 13 November 2014

The Ombudsman's inquiry concerned an alleged delay by the Commission in providing Infineon, a German IT company, which the Commission suspected to be a member of the Smart Card Chips cartel, with access to key evidence that the Commission intended to use against that company.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the Commission had, without any good reason, delayed in providing access to that evidence, despite the fact that it was fully aware of the importance and relevance of that evidence. By incurring that delay, the Commission risked compromising its investigation.

The Ombudsman therefore criticised the Commission for the delay in giving Infineon access to that evidence.