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Decision in case 1984/2015/JN on the European Commission’s decision to deem ineligible costs claimed by a partner in an EU-funded project for combatting racism against Roma people
Mercoledì | 23 maggio 2018
The case concerned a decision by the European Commission to deem ineligible certain costs claimed by a non-governmental organisation, which participated in an EU-funded project aimed at combatting racism against Roma people. The complainant argued that the Commission had not properly examined the evidence before determining that the costs were ineligible.
The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that there was no maladministration by the Commission.
Decision in case 1512/2015/PD on the European Commission’s recovery of funds relating to several EU-funded projects
Martedì | 03 aprile 2018
The case concerned the European Commission’s decision to recover sums paid out as grants under various EU-funded projects. The decision was taken following audits carried out by an auditor on behalf of the Commission. The complainant disagreed with the audit findings. Amongst other things, the complainant wanted the audits to be reviewed by the national chamber of auditors in its Member State. The Commission did not consider this necessary.
The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that there was no maladministration by the Commission.
Decision in own-initiative inquiry OI/7/2016/MDC on the decision of the European Union Delegation to Armenia not to conclude a Grant Contract
Lunedì | 19 febbraio 2018
This own-initiative inquiry is based on a complaint made by an association of Armenian NGOs called the Citizens' Protection League (CPL). It concerns the decision of the European Union Delegation to Armenia not to conclude a Grant Contract with CPL following the Delegation’s discovery of an error in its initial assessment of the CPL application. CPL argued that the Delegation’s decision was not based on sound reasons.
In the course of the Ombudsman’s inquiry, the European Commission acknowledged that the action taken initially by the Delegation, once it realised that an error had occurred in the evaluation process, was not appropriate. However, the Commission also showed that the error detected required that the evaluation of CPL’s application be redone and, thus, that the Delegation was not in a position to conclude the Grant Contract with CPL.
The Ombudsman therefore closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.
Decision in case OI/1/2016 on the failure by the European Commission to reply to a request for a legal review of a decision by an EU agency
Giovedì | 22 dicembre 2016
The case concerned the failure by the European Commission to reply to the complainant’s request for a legal review of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency’s decision to reject his project from EU funding under the Erasmus+ programme. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the Commission had already replied to the complainant. She therefore considered this part of the complaint as settled by the institution. She also examined the substance of the Commission’s reply and found it comprehensive and reasonable. She therefore decided that there was no maladministration.
Decision in case 136/2016/MDC on the European Commission's refusal to revise a final audit report concerning a project co-financed by the European Union
Martedì | 13 dicembre 2016
The case was brought by an association of legal experts from all over the European Union which carried out a project co-financed by the European Commission. It concerned the alleged unfair recovery, following an audit, of sums wrongly considered ineligible under the Grant Agreement.
The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and concluded that, following her intervention, a solution had been found. She therefore closed the case.
Decision in case 1093/2016/JAP concerning the European Commission’s failure to reply to correspondence about problems with the submission of a grant proposal
Giovedì | 01 dicembre 2016
The case concerned the Commission’s failure to reply to the complainant’s messages concerning its difficulties with the submission of a grant proposal. Due to technical problems, the complainant was not able to apply through the Commission’s system PRIAMOS. Instead, it submitted its proposal by e-mail, which remained unanswered.
The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and asked the Commission to reply. In its reply, the Commission apologised for not having replied earlier. It said that it could not accept the complainant’s e-mail application because the system had functioned properly and the Commission had not been able to identify any attempts by the complainant to send the proposal via PRIAMOS before the deadline.
Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1830/2014/DK concerning the European Commission’s alleged failure to supervise the financial management of a grant agreement
Lunedì | 31 ottobre 2016
Alleged irregularities in a tender procedure
Lunedì | 05 settembre 2016
Decision of the European Ombudsman on complaint 2377/2013/(PMC)DR concerning the European Court of Justice's rules governing a tender procedure in the field of translations
Giovedì | 01 settembre 2016
The case concerned the evaluation by the European Court of Justice of two tenders for legal translation services. The complainant, an unsuccessful tenderer, alleged that the tender procedure did not meet the standards of good administration because (i) the evaluation of the tenders was not properly documented, (ii) there was no opportunity to ask for an internal administrative review and (iii) it did not guarantee anonymity.
The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found no maladministration by the Court. The Ombudsman, however, made three suggestions for improvement to the Court, namely that it (i) require internal evaluators to sign and date the evaluation sheets of tests, (ii) set up an internal review mechanism for dealing with complaints by unsuccessful applicants and (iii) anonymise the tests of tenderers for the purposes of the assessment made by the internal evaluators during the evaluation process.
Decision in case 1874/2013/MG on alleged irregularities in a European Commission tendering procedure
Lunedì | 29 agosto 2016
The complainant is an IT company which participated in a Commission tender. The Commission asked all tenderers to complete two case studies to allow it to evaluate their technical abilities.
The complainant took issue with the fact that one of the case studies was very similar to a tender recently organised by an EU agency. It alleged that this gave the companies which had won that tender a competitive advantage in the Commission tender. The complainant also took issue with the Commission's decision not to disclose the names of the persons who evaluated the proposals for the Commission.
Following her inquiry, the Ombudsman concluded that the Commission's design of the tender procedure did not confer a competitive advantage on the winning tenderer. As regards the disclosure of the names of the evaluators, the Ombudsman suggests that the Commission consider releasing such names in the future.
Decision of the European Ombudsman on complaint 1510/2014/PL against the Research Executive Agency (REA) concerning the rejection of an application for funding
Mercoledì | 17 agosto 2016
The case concerned the rejection of an application for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship on the grounds that the person applying for the fellowship had done an internship in a particular private company.
The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and recommended that, when the Research Executive Agency identifies possible irregularities in a procedure for selecting research fellows for an EU-funded project, it should carry out a proper and timely investigation into the matter with a view to remedying the situation.
The Ombudsman is now satisfied that the REA has accepted her recommendations. She has therefore closed the case.
Decision in case 1354/2014/ANA concerning the handling by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) Joint Undertaking of an alleged conflict of interest in a tender procedure
Lunedì | 04 luglio 2016
The case concerned IMI's handling of an alleged conflict of interest in the tender procedure for a research project on risks and benefits of a vaccination scheme in Europe.
The complainant, a member of a consortium that took part in the procedure, argued that IMI failed to address whether all the members of an evaluation committee were impartial. The complainant argued that two members had links to the winning consortium, which gave rise to a conflict of interests.
The Ombudsman found that IMI applied the relevant rules correctly and found no evidence of unjust treatment of the proposal from the complainant's consortium. Therefore, the Ombudsman found that there was no maladministration concerning this aspect of the complaint. The Ombudsman further considered whether experts in a conflict of interest situation with one proposal should be allowed evaluate a competing proposal. The Ombudsman found that, as the rules followed by IMI were drawn up by the European Commission, no further inquiries into this question are justified within the context of this specific complaint.
Proposal for a solution in own-initiative inquiry OI/7/2016/MDC on the decision of the European Union Delegation to Armenia not to conclude a Grant Contract
Mercoledì | 15 giugno 2016
Alleged irregularities in the evaluation of tenders and in the subsequent redress procedure
Venerdì | 27 maggio 2016
Decision in case 1270/2013/JAS on the European Commission's handling of a grant award procedure.
Martedì | 24 maggio 2016
The European Commission funds research programmes in Europe through Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development. This complaint concerns alleged irregularities in the evaluation of a proposal submitted by a consortium seeking such funding under the programme's energy section.
In February 2013, the Commission informed the complainant that its project proposal was rejected. The complainant then submitted a request for redress to the Commission. As it was unhappy with the results of that redress procedure, it complained to the Ombudsman that the Commission had erred in the evaluation of its proposal. It complained also that a Commission official, in a public forum, had disclosed the results of the selection procedure two weeks before the official results were notified. During the inquiry, the complainant argued that one of the independent expert evaluators had a conflict of interest.
The Ombudsman found no maladministration regarding the evaluation of the complainant's proposal. However, the Ombudsman found that the Commission's premature disclosure of the results of the selection procedure amounted to maladministration.
Furthermore, the Ombudsman found that the Commission failed to manage and address an appearance of a conflict of interest in the case of one of its expert evaluators. This failure amounted to maladministration. With a view to improving the Commission's procedures, the Ombudsman remarked that the Commission should ensure that it acquires, at the outset, all necessary information concerning relevant interests and that it should address any appearances of a conflict of interest which arise.
Absence of a review procedure within EASME for rejected projects
Giovedì | 14 aprile 2016
Decisione nel caso OI/8/2013/OV - Istituzione di un comitato di ricorso indipendente presso l'Agenzia esecutiva per le piccole e medie imprese
Giovedì | 14 aprile 2016
L'Agenzia esecutiva per le piccole e medie imprese (EASME) gestisce per conto della Commissione europea vari programmi dell'UE, tra cui una parte del programma quadro di ricerca e innovazione Orizzonte 2020, COSME, LIFE e il FEAMP.
La Mediatrice europea ha avviato un'indagine di propria iniziativa chiedendo all'EASME di valutare l'istituzione di una procedura volta a consentire ai richiedenti non soddisfatti delle modalità con cui sono stati gestiti inviti a presentare proposte di rivolgersi a un Comitato di ricorso indipendente. Ha formulato due progetti di raccomandazione, in cui si chiedeva all'EASME di: 1) stabilire una procedura di riesame della valutazione per i richiedenti che rispondono a inviti a presentare proposte nell'ambito del programma Orizzonte 2020 e 2) stabilire una procedura di riesame simile per i richiedenti che rispondono a inviti a presentare proposte pubblicati nel quadro di altri programmi dell'UE. La Mediatrice europea ha raccomandato che la procedura di riesame si applichi ai casi in cui i richiedenti denunciano: (i) vizi di procedura, (ii) errori di fatto o (iii) un manifesto errore di valutazione. L'EASME ha accolto entrambi i progetti di raccomandazione e ha adottato misure tempestive ed appropriate per darvi attuazione. La Mediatrice europea ha elogiato l'EASME per la sua risposta. Ha inoltre formulato due osservazioni supplementari dirette al miglioramento dei processi di riesame, suggerendo che l'EASME indichi chiaramente ai richiedenti che il riesame di presunte "carenze procedurali" può anche riguardare manifesti errori di valutazione.
Draft recommendations of the European Ombudsman in own-initiative inquiry OI/8/2013/OV concerning the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME ) Made in accordance with Article 3(6) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman
Venerdì | 17 ottobre 2014
Decisione sul caso 541/2014/PMC concernente la decisione della Commissione europea di cofinanziare contemporaneamente, a diverse condizioni, due programmi di promozione della vendita di olio di oliva nei paesi terzi
Lunedì | 11 aprile 2016
Il denunciante, un consorzio di produttori di olio di oliva italiani, si è rivolto al Mediatore relativamente alla decisione della Commissione di cofinanziare contemporaneamente, a diverse condizioni, due programmi di promozione della vendita di olio di oliva al di fuori dell'UE. Secondo il denunciante, alcune incoerenze fra i termini di tali programmi hanno creato un vantaggio competitivo per i produttori di olio di oliva spagnoli.
Nel corso della sua indagine il Mediatore ha constatato che il legislatore dell'UE aveva adottato nuove normative contenenti disposizioni che prevedono un migliore coordinamento dei due programmi di finanziamento, il che significa che casi come quello in questione non si verificheranno più in futuro. Il Mediatore ha così ritenuto che l'aspetto sistemico della denuncia fosse stato risolto. Tuttavia, il Mediatore ha ritenuto di non essere in grado di affrontare la situazione specifica del denunciante e ha quindi archiviato il caso.
Recommendation of the European Ombudsman in the inquiry into complaint 1510/2014/PHP against the Research Executive Agency concerning the rejection of an application for a fellowship
Giovedì | 22 ottobre 2015