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Decision on how the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union (CdT) evaluates tenders in procurement procedures for the provision of translation services (case 1841/2021/ABZ)

Wednesday | 09 November 2022

The case concerned how the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union (CdT) evaluated tenders in two procurement procedures for the provision of translation services. The complainant argued that the CdT was inconsistent in its evaluation, given that it had assessed its tenders differently in the past. It also argued that the CdT had wrongly assessed the complainant’s tenders against two criteria set out in the calls for tenders.

The Ombudsman found that the CdT correctly followed the methodology it put in place for assessing the tenders in the two procedures. She also took the view that there was no indication of a manifest error in how the CdT assessed the complainant’s tenders.

On that basis, the Ombudsman considered that there was no maladministration by the CdT and she closed the case. Nevertheless, the Ombudsman trusts that the CdT will provide more detailed information to tenderers about its assessment in future procedures, as clearer information at an early stage may reduce the risk of complaints such as the one that led to this inquiry.

Decision on the European External Action Service (EEAS)'s refusal of public access to the European Peace Facility's Integrated Methodological Framework (case 124/2022/NH)

Tuesday | 28 June 2022

The case concerned a request for public access to documents held by the European External Action Service (EEAS) concerning a methodological framework for assistance measures under the European Peace Facility. The EEAS refused to disclose the documents, arguing that disclosing the documents could undermine the protection of the public interest as regards defence and military matters, as well as international relations of the EU’s Member States.

The Ombudsman found that the decision by the EEAS to refuse public access was reasonable and that it had provided the complainant with a sufficient explanation. She thus closed the inquiry finding no maladministration.

Decision on whether the Ombudsman could inquire into the handling by the Court of Justice of the European Union of concerns about compliance with its Code of Conduct for Members of the Court (case 1072/2021/NH)

Monday | 27 June 2022

The case concerned public comments made by an Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) about the draft EU Digital Markets Act while the legislative process was ongoing. The complainant, a consumer protection organisation, took the view that the CJEU did not properly deal with this potential breach of its Code of Conduct.

The Ombudsman set out a series of questions to the CJEU. The CJEU argued that the Ombudsman did not have the mandate to inquire into the complaint because it concerned the judicial role of the Court.

The Ombudsman’s view on her mandate differed from the view taken by the CJEU. However, as further inquiries would not be meaningful, the Ombudsman closed the case.

Recommendation on issues related to how the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) communicates with citizens in relation to its access to documents portal (Joined Cases 1261/2020 and 1361/2020)

Tuesday | 21 June 2022

The case concerned primarily Frontex’s decision not to communicate any more by email with applicants who request public access to documents. Frontex obliges citizens to use its online access portal. This causes a number of unnecessary problems for individual applicants as well as for transparency platforms that civil society organisations have set up to help further the EU’s aim of working as openly as possible. 

The Ombudsman could not find justifications for Frontex’s decision. She therefore issues a recommendation that Frontex should allow applicants to communicate with it by email, in full and without resort to its current access to documents portal.

The Ombudsman moreover suggests that Frontex should dedicate the resources that are required for handling the large number of access requests that it is likely to receive on a regular basis going forward.