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European Ombudsman questions functioning of Commission Directorate at Ispra

The European Ombudsman, Jacob Söderman, has opened an own initiative inquiry into the functioning of the Directorate for Resources of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) at Ispra in Italy. This follows fifteen inquiries launched by the Ombudsman on the basis of complaints received about the JRC at Ispra since the beginning of his mandate. Six of these inquiries confirmed cases of maladministration at the Directorate. To avoid maladministration in the future, the Ombudsman requests the Commission to examine whether there is a need for more effective advice and guidance to staff or for changes to the administrative framework at the Centre. He has asked the Commission to respond before 31 October 2001.

Launching the inquiry, M. Söderman said "I have had to make numerous critical remarks to the Joint Research Centre in Ispra on issues ranging from poor treatment of grant holders to irregular recruitment procedures to unfair contract clauses. I hope that this inquiry will help the Commission get to the root of the problem and put things right."

Basis for the own initiative inquiry

On the basis of complaints received, the European Ombudsman carried out fifteen inquiries involving the JRC at Ispra since 1995. Given the number of findings of maladministration against the JRC - listed below - the Ombudsman has deemed it necessary to launch this own initiative inquiry. The Ombudsman is empowered to conduct inquiries on his own initiative in relation to possible instances of maladministration in the activities of Community institutions and bodies.

Finding - Criticial remark
1479/99/(OV)/MM poor treatment of staff members
878/96/TT/it/PD, 905/96/AGS/it/PD(joint inquiry) poor treatment of grant holders, unfair contract clauses
1057/97/PD unacceptable recruitment procedures
855/97/PD unfair contract clauses
307/2000/IP failure to state reasons for complainant who did not obtain a grant
922/2000/IP failure to indicate clearly relevant facts and legal basis of a decision

The above critical remarks can be accessed by referring to the case number in the decisions index section of the Ombudsman's website at:


The Directorate for Resources, Ispra, Italy

The European Commission's Directorate-General, the JRC, has its Directorate for Resources based in Ispra, Italy. The mission of the Directorate is to ensure sound and efficient management of the resources allocated to JRC and coherent and consistent application of the procedures necessary to achieve the objectives of the JRC.


For further information, please call Ian Harden, Head of the Legal Department, tel. +33 (0) 3 88 17 23 84.

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