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Decision on whether the Ombudsman could inquire into the handling by the Court of Justice of the European Union of concerns about compliance with its Code of Conduct for Members of the Court (case 1072/2021/NH)

Måndag | 27 juni 2022

The case concerned public comments made by an Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) about the draft EU Digital Markets Act while the legislative process was ongoing. The complainant, a consumer protection organisation, took the view that the CJEU did not properly deal with this potential breach of its Code of Conduct.

The Ombudsman set out a series of questions to the CJEU. The CJEU argued that the Ombudsman did not have the mandate to inquire into the complaint because it concerned the judicial role of the Court.

The Ombudsman’s view on her mandate differed from the view taken by the CJEU. However, as further inquiries would not be meaningful, the Ombudsman closed the case.

Decision on how the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) responded to concerns regarding the composition of an interview panel in a selection procedure for EU staff in the field of taxation (case 1169/2020/KT)

Torsdag | 23 juni 2022

The case concerned how the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) assessed a candidate in an interview in the context of a procedure for recruiting EU civil servants in the field of taxation. The complainant considered that his low score in the interview was due to the fact that the interview panel did not include any expert in taxation. He was dissatisfied with how EPSO addressed his concerns.

In the course of the inquiry, EPSO provided adequate clarifications about the expertise of the selection board. The Ombudsman found nothing to suggest a manifest error in how EPSO had carried out the interview. The Ombudsman therefore closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision on how the European Commission carried out a procurement procedure for the provision of expert medical services (case 1756/2021/LM)

Torsdag | 02 juni 2022

The European Commission organised a call for tenders for the provision of expert medical services for the European Union’s Joint Sickness Insurance Scheme (‘the JSIS’). The complainant submitted a tender but was not successful.

The complainant asked the Commission for information about the successful tender and the contract value, but the Commission did not provide it to him. The complainant thus turned to the Ombudsman, raising concerns about the procurement procedure and questioning how his replies to the technical questionnaire had been evaluated.

The Ombudsman found that the Commission evaluated the complainant’s offer in line with the applicable rules and, therefore, there was no maladministration in this aspect of the complaint. However, the fact that the Commission provided the complainant with the information he had requested only in the course of the inquiry constituted maladministration. To address this, the Ombudsman made suggestions to ensure that, in the future, the Commission has in place measures to safeguard the rights of unsuccessful tenderers to avail of the redress mechanisms at their disposal.

Decision on how the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) carried out a selection procedure for the position of legal officer (case 1818/2021/FA)

Fredag | 20 maj 2022

The case concerned how the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) carried out a selection procedure for the position of legal officer and assessed the complainant’s application.

The Ombudsman found nothing to suggest a procedural error or a manifest error in how the selection board assessed the complainant’s application and therefore closed the case with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision on how the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) carried out a selection procedure (case 921/2021/VB)

Tisdag | 05 april 2022

The case concerned how the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) organised a remote ‘pre-screening written test’ in a selection procedure. The complainant took issue with the EIOPA’s decision to organise the test remotely and with how the test was organised. He also argued that, as the EIOPA offered two different dates on which candidates could take the test, there was a risk that candidates could share test questions with each other.  

The Ombudsman found that both the decision to organise the pre‑screening test remotely and how the test was organised was reasonable. The EIOPA also took sufficient safeguards to minimise the risk that candidates could share test questions with each other.  

The Ombudsman closed the inquiry finding that there was no maladministration by the EIOPA.

Decision on the European Commission’s decision to recover funds from a company that was part of a consortium that was awarded an EU-funded contract (case 523/2021/LM)

Torsdag | 03 februari 2022

The complainant took part in a consortium that was awarded an EU-funded contract in an African country. The European Commission sought to recover funds from the complainant after a partner company in the consortium failed to carry out one of the contracts, concerning the supply of road maintenance equipment. The complainant claims it was unaware of the contract and that its signature on the contract documents had been forged. After almost five years without contact, the Commission wrote to the complainant again, asking it to pay the amount due plus interest. The complainant says it is not contractually liable and filed a complaint to the relevant criminal prosecutor’s office concerning the allegedly forged signature.

As the question of alleged fraud is currently the subject of legal proceedings in Italy, the Ombudsman cannot take a position on the recovery of funds. However, the Ombudsman considers that, should the recovery proceed following the legal action, the complainant should not be liable for any late payment interest for the period during which the Commission was inactive on the file (that is almost three years). The Ombudsman closed the inquiry with the finding that no further inquiries are justified.

Decision on the European Commission’s decision not to invite an organisation to participate in a working group on combating antisemitism (case 2146/2020/TM)

Torsdag | 03 februari 2022

The case concerned the composition of the working group on combating antisemitism, which was set up by the European Commission. The complainant, an umbrella organisation representing European Jewish peace groups, wanted to participate in the working group. The complainant argued that the Commission failed to ensure that the working group had a balanced and pluralistic composition.

The Ombudsman found that the Commission provided reasonable explanations for the composition of the working group and the criteria it applied in inviting organisations to participate in its work. Furthermore, it gave the complainant an opportunity to present its views outside the format of the working group. While the Ombudsman considered that the Commission should have been clearer in its initial correspondence with the complainant’s member organisations on the composition of the working group, she closed the case, finding no maladministration.