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Decision on how the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) recruited candidates from a reserve list to its standing corps (case 277/2022/FA)

L-Erbgħa | 17 Mejju 2023

The case concerned how the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) recruited members of its standing corps from a ‘reserve list’ established in the context of a selection procedure. The complainant took issue with Frontex’s decision to recruit some candidates before the completion of the selection procedure, and with the fact that some candidates on the reserve list were recruited to different types of posts to those set out in the selection notice.

The Ombudsman found issues in how Frontex organised the selection procedure. She proposed that Frontex extend the validity of the reserve list for at least one year and inform all candidates that took part in the selection procedure of the issues faced and the changes applied to the terms of the selection procedure. In its reply to the Ombudsman, Frontex did not address the solution proposed and merely explained the steps taken in its recruitment plan. The Ombudsman understands Frontex’s reply as an implicit rejection of the solution proposed.

The Ombudsman found maladministration in Frontex’s failure to comply with the provisions of the selection notice and to inform all candidates of the changes in the conditions of the selection procedure. As the validity of the reserve list has since expired, no purpose would be served by making a recommendation. The Ombudsman therefore closed the case, pointing out that a finding that an EU body has failed to comply with a selection notice is, for her Office, rare and serious. Moreover, in the course of this inquiry, the Ombudsman gave Frontex the possibility to address the concerns raised on three different occasions. Frontex provided limited and unsatisfactory replies. She will emphasise this in her letter to the new Executive Director about this case. The Ombudsman also set out suggestions to Frontex for the future.