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Decision in case 1333/2015/MDC concerning the decision of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) to exclude the complainant from a competition on the grounds that his diploma was not relevant

Mercredi | 23 mai 2018

The complainant was excluded in 2013 from a competition to recruit administrators in the field of audit run by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO). He was excluded on the basis that his academic qualifications were not sufficiently relevant to the post advertised. The complainant pointed out in his complaint to the European Ombudsman that several candidates who had been admitted to the same competition in 2010 had diplomas that were the same as, or less relevant than, his diploma. He argued that if the other candidates’ qualifications were sufficient in 2010, then his diploma should be sufficient also in 2013.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the 2013 competition was the same competition as that originally run in 2010 and that the same criteria regarding qualifications should apply in 2013 as in 2010. The Ombudsman found maladministration by EPSO and recommended that EPSO ask the Selection Board to revise its decision on the complainant’s qualifications.

EPSO refused to accept the Ombudsman’s recommendation without providing

convincing reasons for its position. The Ombudsman therefore closed the case with a finding of maladministration.

Decision in case 739/2016/JAP concerning the European Union Intellectual Property Office’s refusal to grant access to a downloadable version of its case law database

Mercredi | 11 janvier 2017

The case concerned the handling of a request for information as how to obtain a downloadable version of a case law database held by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (‘EUIPO’). The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and asked EUIPO to better explain its reasons why it could not comply with the request. The EUIPO’s explanation was accurate and reasonable. Thus, the case was closed with the finding of no maladministration.

Décision dans l'affaire OI/8/2013/OV - Mise en place d’un comité de recours indépendant au sein de l’Agence exécutive pour les petites et moyennes entreprises

Jeudi | 14 avril 2016

L’Agence exécutive pour les petites et moyennes entreprises (EASME) gère un certain nombre de programmes de l’Union européenne pour le compte de la Commission européenne, dont une partie du programme-cadre pour la recherche et l’innovation Horizon 2020, les programmes COSME et LIFE et le FEAMP.

La Médiatrice a ouvert une enquête d’initiative à l’issue de laquelle elle a demandé à l’EASME d’envisager la mise en place d’une procédure qui permettrait aux candidats mécontents de la gestion d’appels à propositions de s’adresser à un comité de recours indépendant. La Médiatrice a élaboré deux projets de recommandations invitant l’EASME à établir 1) une procédure de révision de l’évaluation pour les candidats répondant aux appels à propositions au titre du programme Horizon 2020 et 2) une procédure de révision similaire pour les candidats répondant aux appels à propositions lancés dans le cadre des autres programmes de l’Union. Elle a notamment recommandé que la procédure de révision couvre les cas dans les lesquels les candidats allèguent (i) des vices de procédure, (ii) des erreurs factuelles ou (iii) une erreur manifeste d’appréciation. L’EASME a accepté les deux projets de recommandations et pris les mesures opportunes appropriées pour leur mise en œuvre. La Médiatrice a félicité l’EASME pour sa réponse et a formulé deux autres suggestions d’amélioration des processus de révision, invitant l’EASME à indiquer clairement aux candidats que la révision de «manquements d’ordre procédural» allégués peut également porter sur des erreurs manifestes d’appréciation.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1339/2014/DK against the European Parliament

Jeudi | 03 mars 2016

The case concerned the complainant's exclusion by the European Parliament from a selection procedure for research administrators.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and inspected the file held by Parliament.

On the basis of the information obtained during the inspection, the Ombudsman did not find maladministration by Parliament.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 362/2011/KM against the European Commission

Mardi | 22 décembre 2015

The case concerned a request to the Commission, from one of its former officials, for detailed information relating to possible disciplinary proceedings against another former Commission official.

The Commission replied that it could not divulge the requested information. It also sought to reassure the complainant that it was dealing with the matter of the former official by taking all necessary measures.

The Ombudsman's inquiry into the issue included inspections of the Commission's files relating to the former official. The Ombudsman found that, while the institutions are required to maintain a high level of transparency, in the present case, the Commission was entitled to take the view it could not reveal details of its actions relating to the former official without harming the fair conduct of proceedings in general as well as the privacy of the official concerned.

The case was thus closed with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 1171/2013/TN on the work of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on the EU rules on flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements for commercial airline transport

Jeudi | 05 novembre 2015

The complaint, which was submitted by the British Air Line Pilots' Association, relates to the EU rules on flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements for commercial airlines. More specifically, it concerns the manner in which EASA had conducted its process to update these rules. The complainant contended (i) that scientific advice should have had a more prominent role in the rulemaking process; (ii) that EASA had failed to provide evidence of the qualifications of the members of the rulemaking group; and (iii) that EASA did not deal adequately with conflict of interest issues.

The Ombudsman found no maladministration by EASA as regards the role of scientific advice in the rulemaking process. As regards the issue of how EASA manages possible conflicts of interest in the rulemaking groups, the Ombudsman found that its policy for mitigating such conflicts in the case of its own staff had been changed and that this revised approach is now being applied also to experts in the rulemaking groups. On this basis the Ombudsman concluded that she did not have to inquire further into that issue. Finally, EASA accepted the Ombudsman's recommendation to provide the complainant with anonymised information about the members of the rulemaking group. The Ombudsman therefore closed the case, encouraging EASA to adopt a more proactive approach to disclosing information available to it about the qualifications and expertise of members of the rulemaking group. She also flagged that she is considering looking into issues related to the work done by external experts for certain EU agencies.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 725/2014/FOR against the European Commission

Jeudi | 01 octobre 2015

The case concerned a request by a Norwegian company for public access to documents relating to contacts between the Commission and Italy aimed at verifying if Italy was in compliance with the rights of free movement of goods, namely in relation to limitations placed on the use of "snow socks" (snow socks are designed to serve the same purpose as snow chains).

The request was refused by the Commission on the basis that the disclosure of the documents could undermine an on-going investigation. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue. Access to the requested documents was then granted, leading the Ombudsman to conclude that the issue had been settled by the Commission.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1385/2014/PL against the European Union Institute for Security Studies

Mardi | 23 juin 2015

The case concerned a candidate's request for information on his performance during a selection process and the possibilities to lodge a complaint against the selection board's decision. The European Union Institute for Securities Studies did not provide the complainant with the requested information, therefore the complainant turned to the Ombudsman alleging lack of transparency in the selection procedure. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and concluded that, in light of the further explanations provided during the inquiry, no maladministration by the Agency could be found.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 328/2013/AN against the European Commission

Mercredi | 17 juin 2015

The case concerned the exclusion of a Spanish citizen from an open selection competition on the ground that she did not have a sufficient knowledge of Spanish. The complainant rejected this explanation and requested a copy of the evaluation sheet concerning her linguistic competencies. During the Ombudsman's inquiry, the Commission provided the complainant with the pre-established criteria used to mark all candidates' written tests, thus settling this part of the complaint. Moreover, the recent case-law of the Civil Service Tribunal concerning the secrecy of the evaluation sheets justified the Commission's refusal to disclose them. Therefore, no maladministration was found as regards this aspect of the case.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 2527/2011/PMC against the European Commission

Mardi | 05 mai 2015

This case concerned the EU Delegation to Armenia's alleged unlawful and/or unfair decision to terminate a grant contract related to a project implemented in Armenia and Jordan, to the detriment of the complainant, an Italian NGO active in the field of development cooperation. After a careful assessment of all the facts and arguments, the Ombudsman concluded that the Delegation's explanation for the termination decision was incomplete. The Ombudsman therefore suggested that the Commission, in its supervisory role over the EU Delegations, provide the complainant with a more comprehensive explanation as to the grounds for terminating the project.

In reply to the Ombudsman's proposal, the Commission declared that the Delegation had taken all the relevant factors into consideration when deciding to terminate the contract. However, it recognised that the explanation for terminating the grant might not have been sufficiently comprehensive. Therefore, it forwarded to the Ombudsman a letter which the Delegation had sent to the complainant explaining all the factors it took into account in its assessment.

Notwithstanding the fact that the complainant expressed its dissatisfaction with the Commission's reply to her proposal for a friendly solution, the Ombudsman considered that the Commission had taken steps to resolve the matter. She thus decided to close the case.