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Gelijke behandeling [Artikel 5 ECGAG]

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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 1455/2015/JAP on the conditions at a test centre for a selection competition organised by the European Personnel Selection Office

Dinsdag | 07 november 2017

The case concerned the European Personnel Selection Office’s (EPSO) handling of a complaint about the conditions at a test centre for a selection competition for EU civil servants. The complainant had been assigned a computer beside the entrance door, and claimed the disruption caused by people entering and leaving the room negatively affected her performance. Her attempts to have her concerns dealt with by staff at the test centre were unsuccessful and she subsequently complained to EPSO. Dissatisfied with how EPSO dealt with her complaint, she then turned to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and requested that EPSO look into the complaint more thoroughly. The Ombudsman’s inquiry team also met with representatives from EPSO and the contractor responsible for managing the tests, and visited a test centre at EPSO’s headquarters. The Ombudsman concluded that, overall, further inquiries in this case were not justified; however, she made a number of suggestions for improvement to EPSO.

Decision in case 969/2016/JN on the rejection by the European Union Advisory Mission Ukraine of the complainant’s application in a selection procedure

Vrijdag | 13 januari 2017

The case concerned the rejection by the European Union Advisory Mission Ukraine (EUAM) of the complainant’s application in a selection procedure. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that there was no maladministration as regards the rejection of the application. The Ombudsman further found that a one-level administrative review mechanism is sufficient. Finally, the Ombudsman was pleased to be informed that the European External Action Service has now decided to amend the message it sends to rejected candidates in order to include information on available remedies.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 52/2014/EIS concerning the decision of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) to have due regard to the force majeure principle in open competitions

Donderdag | 17 november 2016

The complainant, who works for the Court of Justice of the European Union on a temporary contract, applied for an EPSO competition to recruit conference interpreters. The Notice of Competition stated that completed applications had to be submitted by 6 August 2013 at noon. The complainant missed the deadline. On 7 August 2013, she informed EPSO that she had been hospitalised from 5 to 6 August 2013 and therefore had not been able to complete her application on time. On 7 August 2013, she requested EPSO to extend the deadline. EPSO refused. Its main reason for refusing was, it stated, that it must treat all applicants equally.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and made the preliminary finding that EPSO had failed to consider whether the complainant’s circumstances amounted to a situation of force majeure. She thus recommended that EPSO (i) acknowledge that there are situations where, because of force majeure, it is fair and proper that candidates should be given a new deadline; (ii) clarify the circumstances in which such a new deadline should be set; and (iii) inform candidates accordingly. EPSO initially rejected the Ombudsman's recommendations and argued that it would be difficult to draw a line between different justifications put forward by candidates and to set out how candidates would prove that force majeure had occurred. It added that allowing candidates to invoke force majeure would jeopardise both the smooth running of open competitions and the equal treatment of candidates. It also referred to statistics which, it argued, proved that dealing with all the requests for deadline extensions after the deadline has expired would be an administrative burden for EPSO.

However, following meetings between Ombudsman and EPSO staff, EPSO finally accepted the recommendations of the Ombudsman in principle. As regards the specific case of the complainant, however, the Ombudsman noted that the competition in question had ended. She also noted that the complainant had chosen not to comment on the response of EPSO to her recommendations. In view of this, the Ombudsman considered that there were no grounds for further inquiries into whether the complainant’s case met the requirements of force majeure that EPSO now, in principle, agrees to apply.

Decision in case 1874/2013/MG on alleged irregularities in a European Commission tendering procedure

Maandag | 29 augustus 2016

The complainant is an IT company which participated in a Commission tender. The Commission asked all tenderers to complete two case studies to allow it to evaluate their technical abilities.

The complainant took issue with the fact that one of the case studies was very similar to a tender recently organised by an EU agency. It alleged that this gave the companies which had won that tender a competitive advantage in the Commission tender. The complainant also took issue with the Commission's decision not to disclose the names of the persons who evaluated the proposals for the Commission.

Following her inquiry, the Ombudsman concluded that the Commission's design of the tender procedure did not confer a competitive advantage on the winning tenderer. As regards the disclosure of the names of the evaluators, the Ombudsman suggests that the Commission consider releasing such names in the future.

Decision of the European Ombudsman in case 1083/2015/ANA concerning Eurojust's reimbursement of travel expenses to candidates invited to an interview

Dinsdag | 12 juli 2016

The case concerned Eurojust's policy for the reimbursement of travel expenses of candidates invited to an interview.

The complainant turned to the Ombudsman alleging that Eurojust's reimbursement policy was unfair and discriminatory towards candidates residing outside the EU. In support of his allegation, the complainant noted there was a ceiling of 500 EUR for candidates residing outside the EU whilst, in some cases, a higher ceiling applied for travel from within the EU.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that, by increasing the reimbursement for candidates residing outside the EU to the highest ceiling applicable to candidates travelling inside the EU, Eurojust has taken appropriate action to settle the case.