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Decision in case 559/2016/MDC on the European Investment Bank’s refusal to initiate the conciliation procedure with regard to the complainant

Tuesday | 31 October 2017

The case concerned a former employee’s alleged unfair dismissal from and harassment at the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The Ombudsman’s inquiry focused on the issue that the EIB had allegedly wrongly denied the complainant the benefit of what is known as the ‘conciliation procedure’ provided for under Article 41 of the EIB’s Staff Regulations (which lays down that staff members may bring proceedings before the Court of Justice of the EU when a dispute arises with the EIB and that, prior to doing so, they should seek an amicable settlement, through the conciliation procedure). The Ombudsman made the preliminary finding that, by considering that the conciliation procedure could not be applied to a former member of staff who was not in receipt of an EIB pension, the EIB had committed maladministration. The Ombudsman therefore proposed that the EIB initiate the conciliation procedure without delay, as regards both the dismissal and the harassment issues. The Bank agreed to initiate the conciliation procedure as regards the dismissal issue, and referred the complainant to another procedure concerning the issue of harassment.

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

Decision in case 45/2015/PMC concerning the European Anti-Fraud Office's (OLAF) actions following the receipt of a whistleblowing report

Tuesday | 11 August 2015

The case concerned OLAF's actions following the receipt of a whistleblowing report linking the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) to the alleged manipulation of an aviation security inspection report. Following a preliminary assessment, the Ombudsman was concerned about what appeared to be OLAF's decision to dismiss the case and to refer the matter back to EASA despite the fact that the whistleblower had consciously chosen to make his report to OLAF rather than to EASA. The Ombudsman took the preliminary view that such a decision might impact negatively on the effectiveness of the whistleblowing provisions in general. She therefore decided to inquire into the matter.

Following an inspection of OLAF's files, the Ombudsman found that OLAF had appropriately considered whether to open an investigation. It also emerged that OLAF had not in fact closed the case but had asked EASA to examine the matter and to report back on the results of its investigation. Furthermore, OLAF had reserved the right to open a formal inquiry at a later stage. Against this background, the Ombudsman found that OLAF had dealt appropriately with the complainant's whistleblowing report. The Ombudsman noted that OLAF should have informed the complainant more explicitly that its referral of the matter to EASA did not mean that OLAF would not be taking any further action on the matter. She made a further remark in this regard.