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Of probeer oude trefwoorden (voor 2016)

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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)

Woensdag | 17 mei 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.

Decision on how the European Commission dealt with three requests for public access to documents concerning EU pilot and infringement procedures (case 383/2022/NK)

Woensdag | 22 februari 2023

The case concerned three requests for public access to documents concerning all EU Pilot procedures and five specific infringement procedures related to procurements in the defence sector. The Commission refused (full) access to the majority of the 153 documents it identified, arguing that full disclosure could undermine the public interest as regards public security, defence and military matters, the financial, monetary or economic policy of Member States, the protection of the privacy and the integrity of the individual and the protection of commercial interests. The Commission also redacted (parts of) some of the documents, arguing that those were outside the scope of the requests.

The Ombudsman inquiry team inspected the documents in question and found that the Commission’s refusal to disclose the relevant parts of the documents was generally justified.

However, the Ombudsman expressed concerns regarding the delay incurred by the Commission in dealing with the requests and, once again, urged the Commission to deal with requests for public access to documents within the applicable deadlines.

Decision on the European Defence Agency's (EDA) refusal to give public access to the minutes of meetings of its 'expert groups' (case 1272/2022/KR)

Maandag | 30 januari 2023

The case concerned a request from a journalist for public access to the minutes of meetings of the working bodies of the EDA. These minutes relate to discussions and exchanges on defence and military matters between technical experts from participating Member States and, in certain cases, experts from defence and security industry groups.

The EDA considered that the request related to a substantial amount of documents (over 9000 pages of documents). The EDA refused access to the documents in question, based on the view that various exceptions applied that are provided in EU legislation on public access to documents.

The EDA also informed the complainant that it makes public general information about the activities of its working bodies, with the aim to provide transparency and ensure accountability.

During the inquiry, the Ombudsman inquiry team inspected a sample of the documents in question, given the substantial amount of documentation concerned. The inspection confirmed that the exceptions to public access that were invoked apply to this sample.

While the Ombudsman therefore found no maladministration, she made the following suggestion for improvement: when dealing with public access requests involving a large volume of documents in scope, the EDA should seek to find a fair solution with applicants. Where, as part of a fair solution, the EDA proposes to rely on a sample of the documents requested, it should clearly communicate and explain this to applicants, provide an overview of the documents requested and propose either that the EDA chooses a representative sample or that applicants choose a reasonable sample.

Decision on how the European External Action Service (EEAS) dealt with the working relationship with an external expert who was employed through a contractor (case 147/2022/KT)

Dinsdag | 13 december 2022

The complainant, who used to work as an external IT expert for the European External Action Service (EEAS) through a contractor, was concerned that the EEAS had shown no flexibility and understanding with regard to his personal circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic. He took issue with how the EEAS had dealt with his request to work remotely (or ‘telework’) outside his place of work, as well as with how it had informed him about the imminent termination of his employment contract.  

The Ombudsman found nothing to suggest that the EEAS had improperly managed the working relationship with the complainant. However, the Ombudsman found that how the EEAS had informed the complainant that it had asked for him to be replaced amounted to maladministration.

Given the circumstances of the case, the Ombudsman considered that a recommendation would serve no useful purpose and closed the inquiry by making suggestions for improvement to the EEAS.

Decision on how the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) dealt with a complaint about alleged irregularities in two selection procedures for contract staff (RCT-2017-00048 and Frontex/17/CA/FGIII/26.1) (case 174/2021/KT)

Woensdag | 30 november 2022

The complainant took part in two selection procedures for contract staff, organised by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) in 2018 and 2019. He was dissatisfied with how Frontex dealt with his administrative complaint about the evaluation of his application in the 2018 selection procedure, in which he was unsuccessful. He also complained that Frontex had failed to reply to his request for feedback regarding the 2019 selection procedure.

In the course of the inquiry, Frontex provided the complainant with feedback regarding the 2019 selection procedure. As regards the 2018 selection procedure, the Ombudsman found nothing to suggest a manifest error in how Frontex had assessed the complainant’s application. However, the Ombudsman considered that Frontex had not dealt with the complainant’s administrative complaint in an entirely satisfactory manner.

Given that the inquiry revealed no manifest error of assessment, the Ombudsman considered that no additional inquiries would be justified into that aspect of the complaint. The Ombudsman suggested, however, that Frontex improve how it communicates to applicants the redress possibilities in the context of its staff selection procedures, as well as how it processes and keeps records of complaints by unsuccessful applicants.