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Decision on how the European Parliament dealt with traineeship applications from a person requesting special arrangements due to dyslexia (case 179/2021/VB)

It-Tnejn | 08 Novembru 2021

The case was about how the European Parliament dealt with two traineeship applications from a person who requested special arrangements for his applications due to dyslexia.

After first having rejected the complainant’s application, Parliament decided to interview him and offered him a traineeship. As the complainant had a long absence from his traineeship for medical reasons, Parliament offered him the possibility to apply again. However, Parliament rejected the complainant’s new application.

The complainant took issue with how Parliament handled his traineeship applications and with how it informed him that he could reapply for a traineeship.

The Ombudsman finds that Parliament should have been clearer in its communication with the complainant regarding the possibility to apply for a second traineeship. However, she finds no maladministration in how Parliament dealt with the complainant’s traineeship applications. Similarly, the fact that Parliament deals with requests for special arrangements made by traineeship candidates on a case-by-case basis is a reasonable approach.

The Ombudsman makes a suggestion for improvement to Parliament regarding how it informs traineeship candidates of the possibility to request special assistance in the context of the application and selection procedure and of how they should make such a request.

Decision on how the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) handled a complaint about the English test in a staff selection procedure (case 1913/2020/MMO)

Il-Ħamis | 28 Ottubru 2021

The case concerned the assessment of the complainant’s English language skills in a selection procedure organised by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). The complainant failed the oral part of the English test but was not convinced by the reasons given by the contracted test provider and Frontex.

The Ombudsman found that Frontex’s procedure for dealing with review requests and administrative complaints in relation to the language knowledge assessment done by its contractor was largely fit for purpose. Specifically in this case, Frontex’s actions were reasonable. However, in order for the review procedure to be fully effective, the contractor would have to provide Frontex with sufficiently detailed information about its assessment to allow Frontex to detect, on the basis of the concerns put forward by a candidate, indications of substantive errors. The Ombudsman is not convinced that this is the case at present.

In order to avoid similar problems arising in the future, the Ombudsman made a suggestion for improvement and closed the inquiry.

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

Il-Ġimgħa | 15 Ottubru 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.