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Decision in case 386/2016/MDC on the Commission's alleged wrongful decision to close an infringement complaint

Piątek | 15 grudnia 2017

The case concerned the European Commission’s failure to reply to correspondence sent in the context of an infringement complaint against Italy and its alleged wrongful decision to close the infringement complaint.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issues and found that, through the reply which the Commission sent to the complainant in the course of this inquiry, it had provided a cogent and comprehensive reply. The Commission had therefore settled the first issue. In particular, the Ombudsman found that the Commission had given a sufficient explanation for its decision not to re-open infringement proceedings in this case. Therefore, with regard to the second issue, she considered that there was no maladministration.

The Ombudsman thus closed the inquiry.

Décision dans l’affaire 593/2016/MDC, concernant la résiliation d’un contrat de services par la Commission européenne et son absence de réponse à une lettre

Piątek | 07 lipca 2017

L’affaire concernait la résiliation d’un contrat de services par la Commission européenne. Le plaignant affirmait que la Commission n’aurait pas répondu à ses lettres, qu’elle aurait résilié le contrat de services sans motif valable et qu’elle aurait tardé à régler les factures qui lui avaient été adressées. Il demandait également à être indemnisé pour les retards de paiements et les dommages.

La Médiatrice a mené l’enquête sur ces allégations. Pour ce qui est de la première, elle a conclu que, puisque la Commission a fini par répondre aux lettres du plaignant, la question avait été réglée. En ce qui concerne la deuxième allégation, qui porte sur la présumée résiliation du contrat sans motif valable, la Médiatrice a conclu qu'il n’y avait pas eu de mauvaise administration de la part de la Commission, puisque le contrat donnait à celle-ci le droit de le résilier à tout moment et que, en tout état de cause, la Commission avait bien fourni un motif valable de résiliation. En ce qui concerne la troisième allégation, la Médiatrice a conclu qu’une solution avait été trouvée au problème des retards de paiement des factures, puisque la Commission a finalement versé au plaignant les sommes dues pour le travail effectué et qu’elle a accepté de verser des intérêts de retard. Enfin, en ce qui concerne la demande d’indemnisation, la Médiatrice a conclu qu'il n’y avait pas lieu de faire d’enquête supplémentaire sur la question, puisque la Commission a versé au plaignant une indemnité pour le préjudice subi et que le contrat ne prévoyait aucune indemnité pour aucun autre type de dommages.

Decision in case 1102/2016/JN on the Commission’s failure to reply to correspondence and to fully disclose a document

Piątek | 13 stycznia 2017

The case concerned the Commission’s failure to reply to the complainant’s correspondence in the context of a financial audit at the Member State level. Following the Ombudsman’s intervention, the Commission replied. It disclosed the document requested by the complainant but redacted some personal data (names of physical persons). The Ombudsman found that the Commission correctly justified the redaction under Regulation 45/2001.

Decision in case 1242/2016/JN on the European Commission’s failure to reply to the complainant’s correspondence

Środa | 21 grudnia 2016

The case concerned the European Commission’s failure to reply to the complainant’s correspondence in which the complainant pointed to an allegedly inaccurate statement by Commissioner Bienkowska regarding firearms. The Commission replied in the course of the inquiry and acknowledged the inaccuracy. The Ombudsman closed the inquiry as the Commission has taken steps to settle the case. However, the Ombudsman suggested to the Commission to consider publishing a correction in order to ensure that the public is accurately informed.

Decision in case 92/2016/JN on EPSO’s failure to properly address the complainant’s concerns regarding his placement on a reserve list and technical issues with his EPSO account

Poniedziałek | 19 grudnia 2016

The case concerned the adequacy of EPSO’s responses to the complainant’s concerns that he may have missed recruitment opportunities due to a technical issue with his EPSO account. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that EPSO’s reply provided in the course of the inquiry adequately addressed the complainant’s concerns. EPSO addressed the technical issue and provided assurances that the complainant had not missed any opportunities.

Decision in case 628/2016/EIS concerning the decision of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) not to allow the complainant to submit a new application after he failed to pass the first tests

Czwartek | 01 grudnia 2016

The case concerned the decision of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) not to allow the complainant to submit a second application in the context of a call for expressions of interest which contained no specific deadline for the submission of applications. The complainant sought to submit a second application after failing to pass the test linked to his initial application under the same selection procedure. The complainant argued that EPSO failed to provide adequate replies to his letters concerning (i) the legal basis for not allowing candidates to reapply in selection procedures without any specific closing dates; and (ii) the conditions, including the behaviour of staff, at the test centre in Spain.

In its response, EPSO referred to the conditions set out in the call for expressions of interest as the legal basis for its actions. It also explained that it had investigated the matter concerning the behaviour of the staff at the test centre.

The Ombudsman found EPSO’s explanation to be reasonable and adequate, so the case was closed.

Decision in case 1171/2016/EIS on the Commission’s handling of correspondence concerning alleged illegalities committed by national courts in Estonia

Czwartek | 24 listopada 2016

The case concerned the Commission’s failure to reply to the complainant’s letter concerning alleged illegalities committed by national courts in Estonia. In that letter, the complainant also criticised the Commission for not taking any action. The Commission explained that it has no competence to intervene in the matter. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the Commission’s explanations were correct, helpful and in line with its statutory powers. The case was thus closed as settled.

Decision in case 911/2016/OV on an alleged failure of EPSO to reply and to delete an EPSO account of a candidate

Piątek | 21 października 2016

The complainant wrote several times to EPSO asking it to delete his EPSO account. EPSO replied that it could not delete his account since two selection procedures he participated in were still open. After the complainant contacted EPSO two more times without receiving a reply, he turned to the Ombudsman alleging that EPSO had failed to reply and claiming that EPSO should delete his account.

Following the Ombudsman’s inquiry, EPSO replied to the complainant. The Ombudsman thus concluded that EPSO had settled the complainant’s allegation. In its reply, EPSO also informed the complainant that the data retention period for the two selection procedures he participated in had not yet expired and that, therefore, it could not yet delete his EPSO account. The Ombudsman found no maladministration in this respect and thus closed the case.  

Decision of the European Ombudsman on complaint 844/2014/(PL)DR concerning the handling by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) of computer problems in an open competition

Wtorek | 30 sierpnia 2016

The case concerned EPSO’s actions following a computer-server crash during a test and EPSO's handling of the complainant's requests for review and for access to documents.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that EPSO (i) did not deal properly with the situation arising from the computer crash, (ii) failed to deal properly with the complainant's request for review and (iii) failed to handle properly the complainant's request for access to documents. Therefore, the Ombudsman made three recommendations to EPSO.

EPSO accepted the Ombudsman's first recommendation regarding how it should deal with technical problems during a computer-based test. The second recommendation was that EPSO should provide the complainant with a detailed explanation of how it had dealt with his request for a review. The Ombudsman did not find EPSO's response on this to be convincing and that EPSO’s handling of the request for a review constituted maladministration. Finally, EPSO did not accept the Ombudsman's third recommendation regarding the provision of access to documents. The Ombudsman found that EPSO’s failure to provide further documents also constituted maladministration. In addition to two findings of maladministration, the Ombudsman also made a suggestion to EPSO on how it could improve its contact service for candidates.  

Decision in case 478/2014/PMC concerning the European Commission's bilingual visual identity used in its press conference room

Czwartek | 31 marca 2016

The case concerned the Commission's visual identity logo, used in its Brussels press conference room since 2012. In the complainant's view, the exclusive use of English and French in that visual identity logo constitutes discrimination on the basis of language.

The present language regime of the EU includes the right of each citizen to communicate with the EU's institutions in his or her own language and the corresponding right to receive a reply in that language. The principles governing this language regime apply also to other forms of communication, such as communication through publications and websites. Any differentiation in the use of languages in such circumstances should be objectively justified. As to whether there is an objective justification in the present case, the Ombudsman agrees that it is technically not possible to present the term "European Commission" in 24 languages on a television screen, either below, alongside or behind a speaker.

As to whether the Commission could have chosen more than two languages, the Ombudsman finds that it was reasonable for the Commission to have chosen just two languages. The choice of the number of languages to use comes down to a judgement call as to whether more than two languages would clutter the visual image in an unacceptable way. The fact that other combinations of languages may also be reasonable choices does not imply that the choice of English and French was not reasonable.

The Ombudsman considers that the policy chosen by the Commission was objectively justified. She thus concluded that the Commission's introduction of a new visual identity logo in its Brussels press conference room did not constitute maladministration.

Failure to reply

Piątek | 19 czerwca 2015

Failure to reply

Piątek | 19 czerwca 2015

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 2527/2011/PMC against the European Commission

Wtorek | 05 maja 2015

This case concerned the EU Delegation to Armenia's alleged unlawful and/or unfair decision to terminate a grant contract related to a project implemented in Armenia and Jordan, to the detriment of the complainant, an Italian NGO active in the field of development cooperation. After a careful assessment of all the facts and arguments, the Ombudsman concluded that the Delegation's explanation for the termination decision was incomplete. The Ombudsman therefore suggested that the Commission, in its supervisory role over the EU Delegations, provide the complainant with a more comprehensive explanation as to the grounds for terminating the project.

In reply to the Ombudsman's proposal, the Commission declared that the Delegation had taken all the relevant factors into consideration when deciding to terminate the contract. However, it recognised that the explanation for terminating the grant might not have been sufficiently comprehensive. Therefore, it forwarded to the Ombudsman a letter which the Delegation had sent to the complainant explaining all the factors it took into account in its assessment.

Notwithstanding the fact that the complainant expressed its dissatisfaction with the Commission's reply to her proposal for a friendly solution, the Ombudsman considered that the Commission had taken steps to resolve the matter. She thus decided to close the case.