Showing 1 - 10 of 130 results
Decision in case 1234/2018/TM on how an EU delegation to a non-EU country dealt with an individual who raised concerns about an EU-funded project
Thursday | 27 June 2019
The case concerned how an EU delegation to a non-EU country responded to an individual who made allegations of wrongdoing and misconduct by a member of staff at the delegation. The complainant wanted to know how to report these issues formally and receive whistleblower protection.
In the course of the inquiry, the European External Action Service (EEAS), which is responsible for the EU’s delegations, provided a better reply on the options available to the complainant. The EEAS thus settled the matter. To avoid similar problems arising in the future, the EEAS should publish on its website the rules that it applies in this area and the options available to individuals who might want to report wrongdoing. The EEAS could also consider adopting a similar approach to the one it applies for EU missions, which it introduced following an own-initiative inquiry of the Ombudsman.
An alleged conflict of interest in the work of the Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism due to an inadequate policy on declarations of interest for invited experts
Thursday | 06 June 2019
An alleged conflict of interest in the work of the Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism due to an inadequate policy on declarations of interest for invited experts.
Décision dans l’affaire 301/2019/MH portant sur l’absence de réponse d’une délégation de l’Union européenne à une lettre concernant l’exécution d’un contrat pour la prestation des services d’audit
Wednesday | 08 May 2019
1. Le 16 octobre 2018, le plaignant a écrit une lettre à la Délégation de l’Union européenne en Mauritanie (la Délégation) concernant la résiliation d’un contrat en vertu duquel sa société fournissait des services d’audit des projets financés par l’Union européenne en Mauritanie. Dans cette lettre, le plaignant a contesté la décision de la Délégation de ne pas payer les montants restants et de rec...
Decision in case 2124/2017/KT on the treatment of certain journalists by the European Parliament’s Information Office in Cyprus
Thursday | 25 April 2019
The complaint was about how the European Parliament’s Information Office in Cyprus selected journalists to travel to a conference in Brussels organised by Parliament. The complainant considered that the Information Office´s outreach policy is not transparent, especially when it comes to selecting journalists to travel abroad to cover its activities.
The Ombudsman found that Parliament’s criteria for selecting journalists were reasonable and concluded that there was no maladministration.
Decision in case 1474/2018/TE on alleged shortcomings and biases in the European Commission’s preparation of its policy and legislative proposal on the reduction of single-use plastic products
Friday | 22 March 2019
In May 2018, the European Commission adopted its legislative proposal for a Single Use Plastics Directive. The proposal sets out EU-wide rules targeting the ten single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas. The proposed rules include a ban on certain single-use plastic products, including food and beverage service products.
The complaint concerned a possible conflict of interest situation in the Commission’s preparation of its policy and legislative proposal on the reduction of single-use plastic products. The complainant also alleged that the Commission had failed to comply with its own Better Regulation Guidelines.
The Ombudsman understood that the complainant, an association representing manufacturers of food and drink packaging, was mainly dissatisfied with the substance of the Commission’s legislative proposal. While her inquiries will sometimes reveal issues with legislation, the Ombudsman has no mandate to open inquiries into the merits of EU legislation, nor into the merits of legislative proposals presented by the Commission to the EU legislature. The Ombudsman’s inquiry in the present case therefore focused on the administrative activity of the Commission in preparing the legislative proposal.
In this context, the Ombudsman examined the Commission’s tendering process for the preparation of the study underlying the EU Plastics Strategy and the legislative proposal for a Single Use Plastics Directive. She also carefully examined the compliance of the Commission with its Better Regulation Guidelines in the public consultation and impact assessment carried out in this context.
The Ombudsman’s inquiry did not bring to light any instance of maladministration. She therefore closed the case.
Summary of the decision in case 1474/2018/TE on alleged shortcomings and biases in the European Commission’s preparation of its policy and legislative proposal on the reduction of single-use plastic products
Friday | 22 March 2019
In May 2018, the European Commission adopted its legislative proposal for a Single Use Plastics Directive. The proposal sets out EU-wide rules targeting the ten single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas. The proposed rules include a ban on certain single-use plastic products, including food and beverage service products. The complaint concerned a possible conflict o...
How an EU Delegation dealt with concerns raised regarding the execution of a contract for the provision of auditing services
Tuesday | 12 March 2019
How an EU Delegation dealt with concerns raised regarding the execution of a contract for the provision of auditing services.
Report of the European Ombudsman on the publication of information on former senior staff so as to enforce the one-year lobbying and advocacy ban: SI/2/2017/NF
Thursday | 28 February 2019
This report identifies best practices across the EU civil service regarding the publication of information on former senior staff members' revolving door moves so as to enforce the one-year lobbying and advocacy ban (Article 16(3) and (4) of the EU Staff Regulations). It results from the Ombudsman’s exchanges with 15 EU institutions and agencies.
Decision of the European Ombudsman in her strategic inquiry OI/3/2017/NF on how the European Commission manages ‘revolving doors’ situations of its staff members
Thursday | 28 February 2019
The European Commission has a particular responsibility in relation to securing the highest possible standards of administration in the EU institutions. The Commission has generally high standards in the areas of ethics and transparency, however an ongoing and complex challenge - affecting many public administrations - is the so-called ‘revolving doors’ issue.
This inquiry was about how the Commission manages the ‘revolving door’ career moves of its staff, that is, where staff members leave to take up positions externally, for example in the private sector, or where individuals join the Commission particularly from the private sector. This may give rise to concerns about conflicts of interest, where inappropriate use is made of access and confidential information that assists in the lobbying of former colleagues in the EU civil service in the interests of external employers or clients.
The Ombudsman’s inquiry found that, at a systemic level, while its practices generally comply with the rules governing EU staff, more can be done to make those rules become more effective and therefore meaningful. New rules introduced in September 2018 provide greater clarity on what activities are prohibited and what subsequent employment activities need to be authorised. These rules need to be fully utilised and potentially improved.
At a technical level, the Commission has made good progress since the Ombudsman closed her first inquiry in this area. It should, however, examine whether it can take a more robust approach to preventing or dealing with serious cases of conflict, especially in the small number of cases of senior staff who leave for the private sector.
The Ombudsman also calls on the Commission to publish more information, and on a more regular basis, about senior staff who leave the Commission.
Finally, the Ombudsman urges the Commission to follow-up on the good transparency practices she has identified and shared with 15 other EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. This includes publishing information on former senior staff members’ lobbying bans directly on the Transparency Register. This would give the public a better picture of the hiring practices of lobbyists in the EU.
The Ombudsman closes the inquiry, encouraging the Commission to continue to lead by example but to take a more robust approach in its assessment of senior staff who leave the EU civil service. The Ombudsman also makes several detailed suggestions for improvement.
The Ombudsman also commits to a follow-up inquiry in 2020, looking more closely at how the Commission manages cases regarding a certain number of specific Commission departments (DGs).
Decision in the joint inquiry in cases 488/2018/KR and 514/2018/KR on the European Commission’s appointment of a new Secretary-General
Monday | 11 February 2019
This complaint-based inquiry concerned the appointment of the European Commission Secretary-General, Martin Selmayr, in 2018.
Following an extensive inspection of Commission documents and written questions put to the Commission as part of the inquiry, the Ombudsman identified four instances of maladministration in the handling of the appointment and made a recommendation.
Following the Ombudsman’s findings, the European Parliament in December 2018 passed a resolution calling on the new Secretary-General to resign.
The Commission’s reply to the Ombudsman’s recommendation presents no new information and does not alter the inquiry findings, which showed in detail how Mr Selmayr’s appointment did not follow EU law, in letter or spirit, and did not follow the Commission's own rules.
The Ombudsman recommended that the Commission should develop a specific appointment procedure for its Secretary-General, separate from other senior appointments.
Such a procedure should include the publication of a vacancy notice and the placing of the appointment on the College agenda in a timely manner.
The Consultative Committee on Appointments, for future appointments of the Secretary-General, should also be broadened to include members from outside the Commission.
It is highly regrettable that the Juncker Commission chose not to implement this recommendation. The Ombudsman looks forward to its implementation by the next Commission.
The Ombudsman closes her inquiry by confirming her findings and recommendation.