The European ombudsman
If unsatisfied by the outcome of a complaint to the EIB Complaints Mechanism, it is also possible to appeal to the european Ombudsman.
Who can file a complaint?
- EU citizens or a person residing or having its registered office in an EU country.
- It should be noted that non-eU nationals can also lodge complaints with the Ombudsman regarding maladministration of the EIB. The Ombudsman will deal with them at his/her discretion.
Under what conditions?
- The complaint must refer to alleged maladministration of the EIB in its actions and/or omissions;
- it must be lodged within two years of acknowledgement of the facts on which the complaint is based;
- it cannot deal with matters that are being settled in court or have already been settled in court;
- it cannot investigate complaints against national, regional or local administrations in the Member States of the european Union, even when the complaints refer to the EIB’s field of activities;
- the remedies provided by the EIB internal complaint mechanisms must have been exhausted; and
- the complaint should be written in one of the 23 official EU languages.
Process and outcome
The European Ombudsman will first encourage conciliation. If such process fails, he/she will make recommendations to solve the case. For instance, the Ombudsman can request corrective action to be taken or formulate critical remarks relating to the maladministration of the EIB Group. The Ombudsman can further address a special report to the european Parliament, if the EIB Group does not concur with his remarks and recommendations. 2
The european Ombudsman’s has been challenged by CSOs, in particular as it can only rule on EIB “maladministration”, and as its recommendations are non-binding. The european Ombudsman has moreover been criticised for not being proactive enough as far as the EIB was concerned. 3