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Showing 1 - 20 of 74 results

Decision in case 715/2020/EIS on the Commission’s alleged failure to deal in a timely manner with a state aid complaint concerning the durum wheat sector in Italy

Tuesday | 18 August 2020

The case concerned the timeliness of the Commission’s action in dealing with a state aid complaint concerning the durum wheat sector in Italy. The complainant claimed that, two years after the submission of his complaint, the Commission had not reached a final decision on the case.

The Ombudsman inspected the Commission’s file on the case and obtained further clarifications during a meeting.

The Commission explained how it had proceeded based on its internal rules and procedures. It also explained the reasons for the delays it had incurred. The Ombudsman found that there was no evidence that the Commission had neglected the file in any way or that there had been unfounded postponements in its handling of the matter.

The Ombudsman thus closed the inquiry, finding that there was no maladministration in how the Commission has been handling the complainant’s state aid complaint.

Decision in case 1782/2019/EWM on the refusal of the European Commission to make public records of payments made to farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy

Wednesday | 06 May 2020

The case concerned a request from a journalist to the European Commission to give public access to the detailed contents of a database used to audit how Member States pay Common Agricultural Policy subsidies to farmers. The Commission stated that the database was not designed to provide the detailed individualised information sought by the complainant.

The Ombudsman inquired into the matter and, while she understood the strong public service need for detailed oversight of CAP funds, she also found that the Commission is subject to a number of legal constraints regarding public access to records of payments made to individual farmers. She considered that the Commission’s statement that the database has been designed to allow the Commission to extract aggregated data for auditing purposes only and not for the scrutiny of individual payments, was factually correct. EU access to documents rules do not require the Commission to create new search tools for the sole purpose of dealing with requests for access to the contents of a database. While she considered that the Commission gives appropriate access to the aggregated data contained in the database, she accepts the complainant’s view that a gap exists vis-a-vis the appropriate transparency of these payments. She will bring this to the attention of the legislators through the forwarding of this decision.

The Ombudsman therefore closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 847/2018/MMO on the recovery of funds from a non-governmental organisation active in a sustainable development project for agriculture in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Wednesday | 25 September 2019

The case concerned the fairness of the Commission’s claim to recover funds the complainant received as the beneficiary of a grant agreement for sustainable development in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Following an audit, the Commission found certain expenses to be ineligible under the grant agreement and asked that they be paid back. Those expenses corresponded to work a third party did for the beneficiary. The Commission and the complainant disagreed as to the eligibility of the amount in question and the meaning of several provisions contained in the grant agreement.

The Ombudsman found that the Commission was correct in seeking to recover the amount in question, as neither the beneficiary nor one of its partners under the grant agreement had paid it. Thus, it did not constitute an eligible expense. She also found that the Commission had provided sufficient explanations to the beneficiary on its position and on the interpretation of the relevant rules.

The Ombudsman closed the inquiry finding no maladministration.