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Decision 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)

Thursday | 15 December 2022

The case concerned primarily Frontex’s decision not to communicate any more by email with individuals who request public access to documents. Frontex obliges requesters to use its online access portal. This causes problems for requesters, that could easily be avoided, as well as for online 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 issued a recommendation that Frontex should allow requesters to communicate with it by email, without resorting to its current access to documents portal. She additionally asked Frontex to inform itself of the best practice that the European Commission has identified in this respect for its new public access portal, and to implement this best practice as soon as possible.

The Ombudsman further suggested 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. She also suggested that Frontex should draw up a detailed manual on how it handles public access requests, and publish that manual.

Frontex rejected the Ombudsman’s recommendation to allow requesters to communicate with it by email. Frontex also did not respond substantively to the suggestion that it inform itself of, and implement, the related best practice of the European Commission.

The Ombudsman closes the inquiry with a finding of maladministration.

With regard to the Ombudsman’s other suggestions, Frontex stated that it had recently assigned an additional half-time post to the handling of requests for public access to documents, and announced that it will draw up a manual as suggested by the Ombudsman. Earlier in the inquiry, Frontex implemented the Ombudsman’s proposals to revise its copyright statement and to make documents in its public access accounts available for two years. It also agreed to introduce a dedicated email address for submission of appeals.


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.