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Décision sur la manière dont la Commission européenne a traité une demande d’accès public à des documents concernant des projets financés par l’Union européenne au Maroc (Affaire 1420/2021/DL)

Vendredi | 07 janvier 2022

La plaignante a demandé l’accès à une liste complète des projets financés par l’Union européenne s’inscrivant dans le cadre du programme national d’assainissement au Maroc (ci-après le «programme»).

La Commission européenne a fourni quelques informations et documents relatifs à la contribution financière de l’Union au programme. Toutefois, la Commission a fait savoir qu’elle n’était pas en possession de la liste demandée par la plaignante.

Après enquête, la Médiatrice a confirmé que la Commission ne détenait pas la liste des projets. Le droit d’accès du public aux documents ne s’appliquant qu’aux documents détenus par l’institution, la Médiatrice a clos l’enquête en concluant à l’absence de mauvaise administration de la part de la Commission.

Décision dans l’affaire 699/2019/AMF portant sur le traitement par la délégation de l’Union européenne en Algérie de la résiliation du contrat d’un expert intervenant dans le cadre d’un projet financé par l’Union

Mercredi | 25 mars 2020

Le plaignant a travaillé comme expert auprès d’un contractant externe de la délégation de l’Union européenne en Algérie. L’objet du contrat était de fournir une assistance technique aux autorités algériennes dans le cadre d’un programme financé par l’Union dans le domaine des transports. La délégation a demandé que le plaignant soit remplacé. Le contractant externe a donc résilié son contrat le même jour. Le plaignant s’est adressé à la Médiatrice en faisant valoir que la délégation ne l’avait pas entendu avant de demander son remplacement.

Que la délégation ait eu ou non l’obligation légale d’entendre le plaignant, la Médiatrice a toujours considéré que les particuliers pour lesquels les institutions demandent un remplacement doivent être entendus avant leur licenciement. En l’espèce, la délégation n’a pas entrepris les démarches suffisantes pour s’assurer, après avoir fait sa demande, que le plaignant avait été entendu. Bien que cela soit regrettable, la Médiatrice relève que le plaignant avait été informé des problèmes durant le projet. La Médiatrice relève également que les améliorations qui ont été introduites dans l’intervalle devraient permettre d’éviter que des incidents similaires se reproduisent à l’avenir. Compte tenu des éléments qui précèdent, elle clôt l’affaire.

Decision in case 1399/2019/FP on how the European Parliament handled a request for public access to documents on the use of EU funds in Albania

Mardi | 12 novembre 2019

The case concerned a request to the European Parliament for public access to documents underlying a mission report of the Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control.

The Parliament was unable to identify any document as falling within the scope of the complainant’s request.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found the Parliament’s position to be reasonable. The Ombudsman closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 1392/2019/FP on the European Commission’s refusal to grant full access to a report on property rights in Albania

Lundi | 21 octobre 2019

The case concerned the Commission’s refusal to grant full public access to a EURALIUS report on the “protection of property in Albania”. After consultation with EURALIUS on the access to document request, the Commission granted partial access and refused access to the remaining parts based on the need to protect international relations and the need to protect legal advice.

The Ombudsman found the Commission’s position to be reasonable. The Ombudsman closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 218/2018/JF on the European Commission’s refusal to pay a higher daily fee to an expert in a twinning project

Vendredi | 24 mai 2019

The case concerned an error contained in a proposal for a twinning project, submitted by two Member States to the EU Delegation to the Republic of Azerbaijan. The error related to the fees of a senior expert involved in the project. Whilst the expert was entitled to a fee of EUR 1 750, she was paid only EUR 1 250 after completing the work. Once alerted, the EU Delegation refused to cover the remaining EUR 500 arguing that the error was of the Member States’ responsibility. The expert then complained to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman pointed out that the complainant had not been paid the correct fee solely because of the error. She took the view that it would have been reasonable for the EU Delegation simply to acknowledge that an error had been made and to release the funds necessary to pay the correct fee. Whilst acknowledging the Commission’s duty to protect the financial interests of the EU, the Ombudsman took the view that that duty should not be interpreted as preventing the Commission from correcting a manifest error committed to the detriment of an individual. She, therefore, made a proposal for a solution to the Commission that it pay the additional EUR 500.

The Commission accepted the proposal and the complainant is satisfied to have received the correct fee. The Ombudsman thereby closes the case.

Decision in case OI/14/2017/MDC on how the European Commission defined the term ‘civil society organisation’ in a call for proposals

Mardi | 11 décembre 2018

The case concerned the European Commission’s refusal to recognise a public university as a ‘civil society organisation’ (CSO) in the context of a call for proposals. The Commission considered that the university in question was a state actor. It rejected the proposal because CSOs had to be non-state actors. The complainant argued that the commonly understood definition of the term CSO includes universities and that the Commission’s rejection of its application was unfair.

The Ombudsman opened an inquiry into the issue and found that, although the Commission’s rejection letter was unclear, the Commission had determined the university’s eligibility in line with the applicable rules. The Ombudsman found no maladministration by the Commission.

The Ombudsman was, however, pleased to note that the Commission acknowledged that in future calls, it should ensure greater clarity with regard to the definition used for ‘civil society organisations’.

Decision in case 86/2017/CEC on how the European Commission treated an external expert who was involved in evaluating the EU Partnership for Peace Programme

Mardi | 13 novembre 2018

The case concerned how the European Commission treated the complainant in the context of his work under the EU Partnership for Peace Programme (EUPfP), a programme aimed at promoting peace in the Middle East. The complainant was the team leader of a group of three experts tasked with evaluating the programme.

The complainant turned to the Ombudsman with a range of allegations against the Commission, the most important of which was that the Commission had instigated his dismissal.

The Ombudsman inquired into the complaint. As regards the complainant’s dismissal, the Ombudsman noted that his employer had stated that the complainant had interfered in its client relationship without its consent, had damaged its reputation, and was not adhering to his contractual obligations. The inquiry did not identify any maladministration on the part of the Commission on this or on any of the other points raised by the complainant.

The Ombudsman thus closed the inquiry.