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Showing 1 - 20 of 398 results

Decision in case 1015/2020/MMO against the European Commission for not inviting a person with disabilities for an interview

Wednesday | 21 April 2021

The case concerned the fact that the European Commission never invited the complainant, a person with a disability, for an interview although he had passed an EU staff selection procedure in the field of food safety and had been included on a shortlist from which successful candidates may be recruited. The complainant argued that he had been discriminated against because of his disability.

The Ombudsman found no indication that the Commission had discriminated against the complainant. In view of this, and given that the shortlist of successful candidates in which the complainant was included is no longer valid, the Ombudsman concluded that no further inquiries into the complaint were justified.

Decision in case 58/2021/MIG on the European Commission's refusal to grant public access to documents used in preparing the chapters on Germany and Hungary in its 2020 'Rule of law report'

Thursday | 15 April 2021

The case concerned a request for public access to the documents that the European Commission assessed or drew up in relation to its 2020 ‘Rule of law report’, and, in particular, the chapters on Germany and Hungary. The complainant turned to the Ombudsman after the Commission had implicitly refused to give access.

In the course of the inquiry, the Commission issued an explicit decision granting the complainant unrestricted access to 26 documents and wide access to 65 documents. It also informed the complainant that he could now make a new request for review. The Ombudsman closed the case on this basis.

While acknowledging the significant number of documents at stake, many of which originated from third parties, the Ombudsman regrets the delay that has occurred in this case and urges the Commission to ensure that the complainant receives a swift reply should he request a review of its decision.

Decision in case 233/2021/OAM on how the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) dealt with a request for public access to documents concerning tracking data of vessels used in Frontex maritime operations

Tuesday | 30 March 2021

The case concerned the European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s (Frontex) refusal to grant public access to tracking data of several vessels used in its maritime operations in the Aegean Sea. The complainant sought access to specific types of data regarding the location of the vessels. Frontex initially identified several documents containing location information but refused to grant public access on the grounds that doing so would undermine the public interest as regards public security. In its final reply, Frontex stated that it did not hold any documents containing the specific data requested.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and confirmed that Frontex did in fact not hold documents containing the specific data requested. She nevertheless assessed the substantive position set out by Frontex with respect to documents containing similar data, among others vessel positioning data, and found that the refusal was justified.

The Ombudsman called on Frontex to ensure a consistent approach when replying to requests for public access to documents. In particular, Frontex should be diligent in verifying what documents are in its possession and offer comprehensive explanations to applicants.

Decision in case 874/2020/MIG on how the European Commission dealt with a complaint about how the Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography responded publicly to critical media coverage

Friday | 26 March 2021

The case concerned a complaint to the European Commission raising concerns about how the Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography had responded publicly to critical media coverage, notably comments she had made during a Croatian call-in TV show. The complainant considered that the Vice-President’s statements were not compatible with her obligations as a Commissioner, and was dissatisfied with how the Commission responded to the concerns raised in her complaint.

The Ombudsman found that the Vice-President’s statements could be understood as meaning that the media should not broadcast or publish critical comments about public figures. The fact that the statements were perceived as such is clearly reflected by the public response, including this complaint and the subsequent media coverage on the incident. Therefore, the Ombudsman found that the statements were inappropriate.

Following the incident, both the Vice-President and the Commission expressed their strong support for freedom of expression and freedom and pluralism of the media. The Vice-President further clarified that it was not her intention to undermine the independence of the media.

While welcoming these clarifications, the Ombudsman regrets that neither the Commission nor the Vice-President issued an apology in relation to the incident. That could have gone some way towards acknowledging the public disquiet over the remarks.

The Ombudsman closes her inquiry, calling on the Commission to remind Commissioners of the need to exercise due caution when making public statements.