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Decision on how the Research Executive Agency (REA) complied with a decision by the European Commission concerning the evaluation of a project proposal under the Horizon 2020 programme (case 1521/2021/LM)

Martes | 13 septiembre 2022

The complainant participated in a call for proposals under the Horizon 2020 programme, which was organised by the Research Executive Agency (REA). The REA did not select the complainant’s proposal for funding but the European Commission subsequently annulled the REA’s decision and instructed the REA to re-evaluate the proposal. The REA re-evaluated the complainant’s proposal but decided not to allocate funds to it. Dissatisfied with this outcome, the complainant turned to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman found that the REA re-evaluated the proposal in line with the applicable rules and that the re-evaluation was fair. She thus closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision on how the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) dealt with a Horizon 2020 funding proposal for the Enhanced European Innovation Council Accelerator Pilot (case 2097/2021/FA)

Viernes | 15 julio 2022

The case concerned how the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) dealt with a proposal for funding under the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Pilot.

The complainant took issue with how EASME evaluated its proposal as well as with the lack of information received on the evaluation and possibilities for review. The complainant was also concerned with the delay by EASME in replying to his request that it review its decision.  

In the course of the inquiry, the European Innovation Council and SME Executive Agency (EISMEA), which succeeded and replaced EASME, explained why there was a delay in the review procedure. The Ombudsman considered that the explanation was reasonable. The Ombudsman also found that EASME had provided sufficient information to the complainant on the evaluation and possibilities for review. Nevertheless, the Ombudsman found that the feedback provided by EASME to the complainant was not sufficient, and did not allow a meaningful review of the evaluation of the proposal. The Ombudsman noted that, in the context of the new EIC Accelerator programme, EISMEA appears to provide more detailed feedback to applicants on the evaluation of their proposals.

The Ombudsman thus considered that no further inquiries were justified in this case and closed the inquiry.

Decisión sobre la negativa, por parte del Consejo de la Unión Europea, a conceder pleno acceso público a los documentos relacionados con las negociaciones sobre el proyecto de «Ley de Mercados Digitales» (asunto 1499/2021/SF)

Lunes | 27 junio 2022

El demandante, una red integrada por periodistas de varios países europeos, solicitó acceso público a las observaciones y las preguntas iniciales de los Estados miembros en relación con la propuesta legislativa de la Ley de Mercados Digitales. El Consejo denegó el pleno acceso a los documentos especificados, alegando que su divulgación íntegra perturbaría un proceso de toma de decisiones en curso.

La Defensora del Pueblo observó que mantener informado al público sobre los progresos de los procedimientos legislativos es un requisito legal. El acceso oportuno a documentos legislativos es crucial para que los ciudadanos ejerzan su derecho, contemplado en los tratados, a participar en la vida democrática de la UE.

En este caso, la Defensora del Pueblo constató que el Consejo no había demostrado suficientemente que la divulgación de los documentos solicitados afectase, prolongase o complicase seriamente su proceso de toma de decisiones. En consecuencia, consideró que la negativa del Consejo a conceder acceso público era constitutiva de mala administración Recomendó que el Consejo concediera pleno acceso público a los documentos solicitados.

En respuesta, el Consejo concedió acceso público a los documentos solicitados. La Defensora del Pueblo acoge con satisfacción la respuesta positiva del Consejo a su recomendación. Lamenta, no obstante, el tiempo que ha precisado el Consejo para conceder acceso público. La Defensora del Pueblo observa que, debido al hecho de que ha transcurrido más de un año desde la solicitud, los documentos divulgados ya no son útiles a los efectos para los que la parte denunciante los había destinado, esto es, para informar a la ciudadanía sobre un proceso legislativo en curso. En consecuencia, la Defensora del Pueblo confirmó su apreciación de existencia de mala administración.

La Defensora del Pueblo insta al Consejo a facilitar el acceso a documentos legislativos en un momento que el público pueda participar de manera efectiva en el debate.

Decision on whether a requirement in a call for tenders for architectural services organised by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) was unnecessarily restrictive (Complaint 521/2021/LM)

Miércoles | 22 junio 2022

A call for tenders for the procurement of architectural services, organised by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), included the requirement that one member of the team that would provide the service be an architect registered with a specific association in Ireland. The complainant, an Irish architectural firm, contended that such a requirement is discriminatory, as other categories of professionals, such as registered building surveyors or chartered engineers, could provide the services listed in the call for tenders.

The Ombudsman found that Eurofound had not clearly demonstrated why the requirement was justified. However, she closed the inquiry with the finding that no further inquiries were justified because Eurofound has not awarded any contract. She nonetheless made a suggestion for improvement for any future calls for tenders for the provision of architectural services that Eurofound may organise.