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Decision on how the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) assessed the professional experience of a candidate in a selection procedure for EU staff in the field of audit (case 768/2021/ABZ)

Martedì | 21 dicembre 2021

The case concerned how EPSO assessed the complainant’s professional experience in a selection procedure for recruiting EU staff in the field of audit.

The Ombudsman found that the selection board had examined the replies provided in the complainant’s application and assessed it against the selection criteria. The Ombudsman did not identify a manifest error in how the selection board assessed the complainant’s application, and therefore closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision on the European Investment Bank’s response to concerns about it holding certain personal information of job applicants before recruitment decisions

Mercoledì | 01 dicembre 2021

The case concerned a practice of the European Investment Bank (EIB) of asking job applicants to provide certain personal information, notably related to their family situation, before the EIB’s recruitment decision.

The Ombudsman recognised that the EIB had established this practice to make its procedures as efficient as possible. However, she expressed concern that the gathering of personal information was disproportionate and could negatively impact on trust in the EIB’s recruitment procedures. Not all applicants would necessarily be reassured that the personal information would under no circumstances play a role in their chances of getting the post.

The EIB replied that it had changed its practices to address the concerns raised by the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman welcomed the EIB’s constructive response, and closed the inquiry.

Decisione sul trattamento da parte del Parlamento europeo delle domande di tirocinio di una persona dislessica che aveva richiesto l’applicazione di condizioni speciali (caso 179/2021/VB)

Lunedì | 08 novembre 2021

Il caso riguarda il modo in cui il Parlamento europeo ha trattato due domande di tirocinio presentate da una persona che, in quanto dislessica, aveva richiesto l’applicazione di condizioni speciali nel contesto delle sue domande di tirocinio.

Dopo aver inizialmente respinto la domanda del denunciante, il Parlamento ha deciso di invitarlo per un colloquio e gli ha offerto un tirocinio. Poiché il denunciante è stato a lungo assente durante il tirocinio per motivi di salute, il Parlamento gli ha offerto la possibilità di presentare una nuova domanda che, tuttavia, il Parlamento ha successivamente respinto.

Il denunciante ha contestato il modo in cui il Parlamento ha gestito le sue domande di tirocinio e in cui lo ha informato della possibilità di presentare una nuova domanda.

La Mediatrice ritiene che, per quanto riguarda la possibilità di presentare domanda per un secondo tirocinio, il Parlamento avrebbe dovuto essere più chiaro nella comunicazione con il denunciante. Tuttavia, la Mediatrice non riscontra cattiva amministrazione nel modo in cui il Parlamento ha trattato le domande di tirocinio del denunciante. Analogamente, il fatto che il Parlamento valuti caso per caso le richieste di condizioni speciali presentate dai candidati per un tirocinio è un approccio ragionevole.

La Mediatrice suggerisce al Parlamento di migliorare il modo in cui informa i candidati ai tirocini della possibilità di richiedere assistenza speciale durante la fase di presentazione della candidatura e la procedura selezione e al modo in cui essi debbano presentare tale richiesta.

Decision on how the European Commission changed the sickness and accident insurance policy for Conference Interpreting Agents (552/2021/MMO)

Venerdì | 15 ottobre 2021

The case concerned a new insurance policy that the European Commission concluded with a private insurance company to provide accident and sickness insurance for Conference Interpreting Agents (ACIs).

The complainant is a former ACI who considered that the conditions of the new insurance policy were very disadvantageous compared to the previous policy, and that it discriminated against certain ACIs.

During the inquiry, it became clear that the complainant would be less disadvantaged than he had feared. The Ombudsman found that the Commission’s explanations for the changes in the policy are convincing and reasonable. The inquiry also uncovered no evidence that would call into question the procedure leading to the new insurance contract, which included consultation with the international interpreters’ association.

The Ombudsman closed the inquiry with the conclusion that there was no maladministration by the Commission.

Decision on how the European Commission dealt with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the work of researchers participating in the EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (joint cases 1242/2020/SF and 1380/2020/SF)

Giovedì | 01 luglio 2021

The complaints concerned the European Commission’s decision not to extend funding for those carrying out research under the EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Programme (MSCA) following the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the work of researchers. The complainants considered that the measures the Commission put in place to support MSCA researchers during the COVID-19 crisis were insufficient, as they would not enable them to continue their work.

The Ombudsman opened an inquiry into how the Commission communicated with project partners that received grants under the MSCA, and the researchers carrying out the work for those project partners, about the measures they could take to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on their projects.

During the inquiry, the Ombudsman shared her preliminary findings with the Commission. In particular, the inquiry showed that, overall, the Commission had taken appropriate action to communicate the measures that could be taken to support researchers according to the applicable rules. However, as no solution had been found for the complainants, she urged the Commission to explore whether additional funding could exceptionally be awarded to the complainants and researchers in similarly difficult situations.

The Commission broadly accepted the Ombudsman’s preliminary findings but reiterated that, due to legal and financial constraints, it cannot provide any exceptional funding.

The Ombudsman appreciates the difficult situation faced by many MSCA researchers due to the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, she acknowledges the Commission’s commitment to find solutions within the applicable rules for those researchers impacted. While it is regrettable that a solution could not be found for the complainants and researchers in similar situations, the Ombudsman closed the case as further inquiries would not result in a more satisfactory outcome for the complainants. However, she made two suggestions for improvement.