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Decision on how the European Investment Bank (EIB) handled the move of a former Vice-President to an energy utility company that had received EIB loans (1016/2021/KR)

L-Erbgħa | 27 Lulju 2022

The case concerned the decision of the European Investment Bank to approve a request made by a former vice-president and member of its Management Committee (MC) (the ‘former VP’) to become a non-executive board member of a Spanish energy utility company, which received loans from the EIB.

The complainants, two Members of the European Parliament, raised concerns that the move gave rise to the risk of conflicts of interest. The EIB argued that the former VP had not been involved in the negotiation and implementation of the financing agreements between the EIB and the company.

The Ombudsman found that, in approving the move, the EIB did not properly manage the risk of conflicts of interest to which the former VP’s request arguably gave rise. However, given the EIB has, in the meantime, made improvements to the relevant ethics rules to address these matters, the Ombudsman determined that no further inquiries were justified.

Nonetheless, the Ombudsman made suggestions for improvement with a view to strengthening how the EIB assesses ‘revolving door’ moves by members of its MC to the private sector, and how it ensures compliance where its Ethics and Compliance Committee authorises a move but applies conditions on the individual and their activities.

Deċiżjoni dwar ir-rwol tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea fil-valutazzjoni tas-sostenibbiltà ta’ proġetti tal-gass fil-lista ta’ “proġetti ta’ sinifikat reġjonali” tal-“Komunità tal-Enerġija” (327/2021/KR)

Il-Ġimgħa | 15 Lulju 2022

L-ilmentatur, organizzazzjoni tas-soċjetà ċivili, qajjem tħassib dwar il-valutazzjoni tas-sostenibbiltà ta’ proġetti tal-gass fil-Komunità tal-Enerġija, organizzazzjoni internazzjonali għall-kooperazzjoni dwar l-enerġija bejn l-UE u l-pajjiżi fil-Balkani tal-Punent u fir-reġjun tal-Baħar l-Iswed. Tali proġetti jistgħu jibbenefikaw minn proċeduri simplifikati għall-għoti ta’ permessi u jridu jikkonformaw mal-kriterji stabbiliti fir-Regolament tal-UE dwar in-Network Trans-Ewropew tal-Enerġija (TEN-E), kif applikat ukoll mill-Komunità tal-Enerġija.

Il-Komunità tal-Enerġija mhijiex korp tal-UE u għalhekk taqa’ barra mill-mandat tal-Ombudsman. Madankollu, peress li l-Kummissjoni Ewropea tirrappreżenta lill-UE fil-Komunità tal-Enerġija, l-Ombudsman talbet lill-Kummissjoni tispjega kif tiżgura li s-sostenibbiltà tal-proġetti tal-gass tiġi vvalutata kif xieraq, u r-rwol tagħha fil-proċess.

Fil-kuntest ta’ din l-investigazzjoni, il-Kummissjoni tat ukoll aġġornament dwar l-isforzi tagħha biex ittejjeb il-mod li bih is-sostenibbiltà tal-“proġetti ta’ interess komuni” (PCI) tal-gass tal-UE tiġi vvalutata, li kien is-suġġett ta’ investigazzjoni preċedenti tal-Ombudsman.

L-Ombudsman sabet li l-ispjegazzjonijiet tal-Kummissjoni kienu sodisfaċenti u għalqet il-każ b’sejba tal-ebda amministrazzjoni ħażina.