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Showing 1 - 20 of 91 results

Decision in case 21/2016/JAP on the Council of the EU’s failure to grant access to legal opinions on proposals for Regulations on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office and on the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (EUROJUST)

Thursday | 07 March 2019

The case concerned the refusal of the Council of the European Union to grant full access to legal opinions on the legislative proposals for Regulations on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) and on the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (EUROJUST).

In the course of the Ombudsman’s inquiry, the Council agreed to disclose two of the four documents, but maintained its refusal to disclose fully the two remaining documents, although partial access was granted.

The Ombudsman accepts that the refusal to disclose the legal opinions fully was justified on the grounds that it would undermine the protection of legal advice and court proceedings. She therefore closes the case with a finding of no maladministration, but invites the Council to review its refusal in light of the further passage of time.

Decision in case 136/2016/MDC on the European Commission's refusal to revise a final audit report concerning a project co-financed by the European Union

Tuesday | 13 December 2016

The case was brought by an association of legal experts from all over the European Union which carried out a project co-financed by the European Commission. It concerned the alleged unfair recovery, following an audit, of sums wrongly considered ineligible under the Grant Agreement.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and concluded that, following her intervention, a solution had been found. She therefore closed the case.

Decision in case 1093/2016/JAP concerning the European Commission’s failure to reply to correspondence about problems with the submission of a grant proposal

Thursday | 01 December 2016

The case concerned the Commission’s failure to reply to the complainant’s messages concerning its difficulties with the submission of a grant proposal. Due to technical problems, the complainant was not able to apply through the Commission’s system PRIAMOS. Instead, it submitted its proposal by e-mail, which remained unanswered.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and asked the Commission to reply. In its reply, the Commission apologised for not having replied earlier. It said that it could not accept the complainant’s e-mail application because the system had functioned properly and the Commission had not been able to identify any attempts by the complainant to send the proposal via PRIAMOS before the deadline.

Access to documents

Thursday | 27 October 2016

Decision of the European Ombudsman on complaint 1922/2014/PL concerning the European Commission's refusal to grant public access to the evaluation reports of an EU-funded project

Tuesday | 30 August 2016

This case concerned the European Commission's refusal to grant full public access to the evaluation reports of the proposals for an EU-funded project on Roma in Albania.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the Commission had correctly refused full access on the basis of the exception to public access which protects commercial interests. She therefore concluded that there was no maladministration by the Commission.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing her own-initiative inquiry OI/9/2014/MHZ concerning the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex)

Tuesday | 24 November 2015

EU migration policy includes the voluntary or forced return of irregular third-country migrants (rejected asylum seekers and persons without a valid residence permit) to their countries of origin. By their very nature, forced return operations have the potential to involve serious violations of fundamental rights. This own-initiative inquiry sought to clarify how Frontex, as a coordinator of Joint Return Operations (JROs), ensures respect for the fundamental rights and human dignity of the individuals being returned.

The Ombudsman obtained the views of Frontex and its Fundamental Rights Officer, inspected Frontex files and received contributions from members of the European Network of Ombudsmen, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the UN Refugee Agency and a number of NGOs. She found that, although much has been done, Frontex needs to enhance the transparency of its JRO work, amend its Code of Conduct in areas such as medical examinations and the use of force, and engage more with the Member States. Frontex must do all in its power to promote independent and effective monitoring of JROs.

The Ombudsman closes her inquiry with a series of proposals to Frontex on how it can further improve its operations in this area.

Decision in case 2004/2013/PMC on the European Commission's handling of an access to documents request relating to the surveillance of the internet by UK intelligence services

Thursday | 05 November 2015

The case concerned the Commission's refusal to grant public access to documents concerning the surveillance of the internet by UK intelligence services. The Ombudsman recommended that the Commission should grant access to one specific document (a letter from the UK Foreign Secretary' to the then Vice-President of the Commission) and, in the case of the other documents requested, that the Commission should either disclose them or properly justify why, in its view, disclosure had to be refused.

The Commission decided to disclose the UK Foreign Secretary's letter, thus accepting the first part of the Ombudsman's recommendation. However, it maintained its position not to disclose the other documents. It justified this position on the basis that it was still investigating the question of whether the UK's mass surveillance programmes violate EU law, in particular regarding the individual's right to data protection. The Commission argued that until its investigation is definitively closed, early disclosure of the remainder of the documents concerned would affect negatively the dialogue between the UK authorities and the Commission. More generally, it argued that its capacity to conduct its investigation effectively, and to decide on the appropriate response, should be protected from the risk of external pressure. Finally, the Commission did not consider that there was an overriding public interest in disclosure.

The Ombudsman is not persuaded that the Commission has adequately justified its decision to refuse public access to the remaining undisclosed documents. As it has neither disclosed these documents nor provided adequate reasons for refusing public access to them, it is clear that the Commission has rejected the Ombudsman's recommendation in relation to these documents. Furthermore, the Ombudsman notes that the Commission appears not to have taken any action as regards its investigation since 2013. The Ombudsman finds, therefore, that the Commission's actions in this case amount to maladministration and, in fact, to serious maladministration given the importance of the particular issue for EU citizens.

Decision in case 1977/2013/MDC on the European Commission’s assessment of an infringement complaint concerning restrictions to freedom of movement within the EU internal market

Friday | 25 September 2015

The complainant in this case, a Luxembourgish citizen, was excluded from competing for a post in France on the grounds that she is not a French national. The post in question was that of a non-presiding judge who was to represent the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees at the French asylum Court. The complainant put it to the European Commission that the limiting of the post to French nationals appeared to be a breach of the provisions of EU law on the free movement of workers. When the Commission took the view that there was no infringement of EU law, the complainant contacted the Ombudsman.

The Commission took the view that an exception to the right of free movement of workers applied. This exception applies in the case of employment in the public service and is provided for in Article 45(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The Commission acknowledged that a decision in this issue required a concrete assessment of the nature of the tasks and responsibilities of the non-presiding judge and it argued that it had made such an assessment. The Ombudsman noted that, as part of this assessment, the Commission had not contacted the French authorities in order to obtain further information about the post in question. The Ombudsman's initial proposal, therefore, was that the Commission should review its assessment of the infringement complaint and she suggested that the Commission should consult the French authorities. In replying to this proposal, the Commission maintained that it had sufficient information available to it when deciding the issue and that it was therefore unnecessary to contact the French authorities. Having considered its detailed reply to the proposal, the Ombudsman accepted that in this case the Commission did have sufficient information on which to base its decision. She therefore closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration on the part of the Commission.