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Recommendation on how the European Defence Agency handled the applications of its former Chief Executive to take on senior positions at Airbus (OI/3/2021/KR)

Četrtek | 15 julij 2021

The Ombudsman conducted an inquiry on her own initiative into the decision of the European Defence Authority (EDA) to allow its former Chief Executive to take up two senior positions with Airbus, an aerospace company.

The Ombudsman’s inquiry also looked into how the EDA dealt with the fact that the former Chief Executive took up his new positions before the EDA had authorised him to do so, which is a breach of the EDA’s Staff Regulations.

The Ombudsman found that the conditions imposed on the former Chief Executive by the EDA in its authorising decision were insufficient when measured against the risks, and could not be monitored and enforced. There were also shortcomings in how the EDA assessed the risk of conflicts of interest.

The EDA should have instead applied stronger conditions and forbidden the former Chief Executive from taking up the position which gave rise to the greatest risk of conflict with the EDA’s legitimate interest. Not doing so amounted to maladministration by the EDA.

Based on these findings, the Ombudsman issued two recommendations:

(i) In future, the EDA should forbid its senior staff from taking up positions after their term of office where a clear conflict of interest arises with the legitimate interests of the EDA;

(ii) The EDA should set out the criteria for forbidding such moves, in order to give clarity to senior staff. Applicants for senior EDA posts should be informed of the criteria when they apply.

Recommendation in case 1777/2020/KR on how the European Commission handled concerns about the composition of the High Level Forum on the EU Capital Markets Union and alleged conflicts of interest of some of its members

Torek | 04 maj 2021

The case concerned the High Level Forum on the proposed EU Capital Markets Union, a Commission expert group. The Forum gathered senior industry executives and top international experts and scholars to develop new ideas on related policies for the Commission.

The Forum had two types of members:

Type A - who were appointed in their personal capacity to act independently and in the public interest;

Type B - members who represented a common interest of different stakeholder organisations.

The complainant was concerned that a number of Type A members had links to financial institutions and could, as such, not be considered independent. After the Forum’s recommendations were made public, these members’ declarations of interests were no longer publicly available. In general, the complainant was concerned that the Forum’s composition was insufficiently broad and diverse.

The Ombudsman inquiry found two instances of maladministration:

1. Instead of following its own rules on conflicts of interest for Type A members, the Commission applied general measures to mitigate risks of conflicts of interest. These measures were insufficient.

2. Consequently, the split between the two types of Forum members deviated significantly from the balance that the Commission claimed it struck, and made public.

Based on her inquiry, the Ombudsman recommends that the Commission diligently apply its rules regarding conflicts of interest for individuals applying to be appointed as Type A members of expert groups. Other mitigating measures to address risks of conflicts of interest of Type A members may be taken in addition, but should not substitute the Commission’s rules to this end.

Odločba evropske varuhinje človekovih pravic v skupni preiskavi 853/2020/KR o odločitvi Evropske komisije, da družbi BlackRock Investment Management odda naročilo za izvedbo študije o vključevanju okoljskih, socialnih in upravljavskih ciljev v bančna pravila EU

Ponedeljek | 23 november 2020

Zadeva se nanaša na odločitev Evropske komisije, da družbi BlackRock Investment Management odda naročilo za izvedbo študije o vključevanju okoljskih, socialnih in upravljavskih ciljev v bančna pravila EU. Evropska varuhinja človekovih pravic je po prejemu pritožb poslancev Evropskega parlamenta in koalicije organizacij civilne družbe začela preiskavo. V okviru preiskave je bilo ocenjeno, kako je Komisija ovrednotila ponudbo družbe v okviru razpisa za zbiranje ponudb za izvedbo študije.

Evropska varuhinja človekovih pravic je ugotovila, da ponudba družbe vzbuja pomisleke. Prvič, če ima ponudnik neposreden ali posreden finančni interes v zvezi z dinamiko na določenem trgu, ker v zadevni trg vlaga ali na njem upravlja naložbe, obstaja jasno tveganje, da lahko ti interesi vplivajo na izid njegovega dela, ki utegne biti takšen, da bo njemu v prid. To velja za zadevno družbo. Drugič, zaradi ponderja, ki ga je Komisija uporabila pri vrednotenju, je nizka cena, ki jo je ponudila družba, optimizirala njene možnosti za sklenitev naročila. Dodelitev naročila tej družbi lahko slednji omogoči vpogled v naložbeno področje in uveljavitev njenega vpliva na njem, ki postaja čedalje obsežnejše in pomembnejše za njene stranke in s tem za samo družbo.

Evropska varuhinja človekovih pravic se strinja, da obstajajo upravičeni pomisleki glede tveganja navzkrižja interesov, kar bi lahko negativno vplivalo na izvajanje naročila, saj ima družba očiten interes na področju oblikovanja prihodnjih predpisov EU, ki bodo vplivali nanjo in na njene stranke. Sklenila je, da bi morala biti Komisija strožja in upoštevati širšo perspektivo, ko je v skladu s pravili preverjala, ali je družba v navzkrižju interesov, ki bi lahko negativno vplivali na njeno sposobnost za izvajanje naročila. Vendar dejstvo, da tega ni storila, ne pomeni izpolnitve minimalnega praga za razglasitev nepravilnosti glede na omejitve pravil EU o oddaji naročil v takih primerih za uslužbence Komisije, ki oddajo naročilo.

Varuhinja človekovih pravic predlaga, naj Komisija posodobi svoje smernice za postopke javnih naročil za pogodbe o storitvah, povezanih s politiko, in uslužbencem pojasni, kdaj je treba ponudnike zaradi navzkrižja interesov, ki lahko negativno vplivajo na izvajanje naročila, izključiti. Varuhinja človekovih pravic tudi predlaga, da Komisija razmisli, ali je potrebna tudi posebna posodobitev veljavnih pravil, da bi bila ustreznejša glede na trenutne politične ambicije EU. EU načrtuje obdobje porabe in naložb, kakršnega še ni bilo doslej in ki bo neizogibno vključevalo pomembne povezave z zasebnim sektorjem.

Ta odločba bo posredovana tudi zakonodajalcem EU. Zakonodajalci se morajo dogovoriti o pravni podlagi za zeleni prehod, vključno z ustreznim načinom vpliva na njegov razvoj in uvajanje.