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Closing note on the Strategic Initiative with the European Commission to improve the Transparency Register (SI/7/2016/KR)

Donderdag | 27 juni 2019

The Transparency Register was set up by the European Commission and Parliament in 2011 to allow the public to monitor the activities of interest representatives (or “lobbyists”) who seek to influence the formulation and implementation of EU legislation and policy. Overall, the Register has been successful and while there are gaps, it is improving over time.

In 2016, the Commission organised a public consultation on several proposed reforms aimed at improving the Transparency Register.

In this context, the Ombudsman opened a ‘strategic initiative’, to contribute to this important debate and to monitor developments by writing to the Commission on the issue.

In January 2018, inter-institutional negotiations began between the Parliament, the Council of the EU and the Commission on the Commission’s proposal to revise and improve the Transparency Register. These negotiations have not yet led to a successful outcome.

The Ombudsman encourages the incoming Parliament, the Council and the incoming Commission to renew their efforts to improve the Transparency Register given the importance of this matter for public trust in the EU.

Besluit van de Europese Ombudsman in het strategisch onderzoek OI/4/2016/EA naar de wijze waarop de Europese Commissie personen met een handicap behandelt in het kader van het gemeenschappelijk stelsel van ziektekostenverzekering voor EU-personeel

Donderdag | 04 april 2019

In 2015 heeft een VN-comité vastgesteld dat de ziektekostenverzekering voor EU-personeel, het gemeenschappelijk stelsel van ziektekostenverzekering (GSZV), niet in overeenstemming is met het Verdrag van de Verenigde Naties inzake de rechten van personen met een handicap (UNCRPD). Het comité beveelt aan het GSZV te herzien om een omvattende dekking te bieden voor de gezondheidsbehoeften van personen met een handicap.

Nadat de ombudsvrouw klachten had ontvangen van personeelsleden die problemen hadden ondervonden om hun eigen ziektekosten of hun gezinsleden volledig vergoed te krijgen, voerde zij een strategisch onderzoek uit. Zij stelde vast dat het verzuim van de Europese Commissie om effectief gevolg te geven aan de aanbeveling van het comité op wanbeheer neerkwam. Zij heeft de Commissie dan ook aanbevolen de regels voor het GSZV te herzien. Daarnaast deed zij een aantal voorstellen aan de Commissie met betrekking tot de vraag hoe de behoeften van personen met een handicap worden gedekt door het GSZV, alsook over de noodzaak om personeel op te leiden en belanghebbenden naar behoren te raadplegen om ervoor te zorgen dat het GSZV recht doet aan de behoeften van personen met een handicap.

De Commissie antwoordde dat zij de regels voor het GSZV zal herzien en dat zij actie zal ondernemen om gevolg te geven aan de meeste suggesties van de ombudsvrouw.

Aangezien de Commissie gehoor heeft gegeven aan de aanbevelingen, heeft de ombudsvrouw haar strategisch onderzoek gesloten. Gezien het belang van deze kwestie verzoekt zij de Commissie om binnen zes maanden verslag uit te brengen over de tenuitvoerlegging van de aanbeveling. De ombudsvrouw bevestigt ook haar voorstel om de Commissie in staat te stellen haar regels uit 2004 inzake de behoeften van het personeel met een handicap te herzien.

Decision in case 1641/2015/ZA on the European Personnel Selection Office’s refusal to allow the complainant to apply under two concurrent competitions for recruiting translators and failure to explain the reasons for applying this practice

Dinsdag | 17 juli 2018

The case concerned the European Personnel Selection Office’s (`EPSO`) practice of not permitting candidates to apply for more than one concurrent recruitment competition for EU civil servants even where they fulfilled the criteria. EPSO refused to allow the complainant to apply under two concurrent competitions for recruiting translators for the EU institutions, and failed to convincingly explain the reasons for applying this practice.

The Ombudsman found that this practice could have the consequence of hindering the recruitment of the most qualified persons and that, accordingly, EPSO should be able to provide convincing reasoning as to why it has this practice. The Ombudsman found that EPSO´s failure to provide such reasoning to the complainant constituted maladministration. She found also that any continuation of the practice, in the absence of solid reasoning, would necessarily also constitute maladministration. The Ombudsman therefore recommended to EPSO that it immediately review its policy in relation to this practice.

In response, EPSO set up an internal reflection group to conduct a detailed impact assessment of any policy change in this area. The assessment will be presented to EPSO's Management Board by December 2018. The Board must take the final decision. As EPSO is acting on her recommendation, the Ombudsman has decided to close the case.

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

Woensdag | 23 mei 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 1333/2015/MDC concerning the decision of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) to exclude the complainant from a competition on the grounds that his diploma was not relevant

Woensdag | 23 mei 2018

The complainant was excluded in 2013 from a competition to recruit administrators in the field of audit run by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO). He was excluded on the basis that his academic qualifications were not sufficiently relevant to the post advertised. The complainant pointed out in his complaint to the European Ombudsman that several candidates who had been admitted to the same competition in 2010 had diplomas that were the same as, or less relevant than, his diploma. He argued that if the other candidates’ qualifications were sufficient in 2010, then his diploma should be sufficient also in 2013.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the 2013 competition was the same competition as that originally run in 2010 and that the same criteria regarding qualifications should apply in 2013 as in 2010. The Ombudsman found maladministration by EPSO and recommended that EPSO ask the Selection Board to revise its decision on the complainant’s qualifications.

EPSO refused to accept the Ombudsman’s recommendation without providing

convincing reasons for its position. The Ombudsman therefore closed the case with a finding of maladministration.