|Author (Person)||Shelley, John|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.27, 5.7.01, p4|
THE European Ombudsman has launched an inquiry into the management of the Commission's multi-million-euro scientific research centre for what he claims is a history of bad management.
Watchdog Jacob Söderman says in the past five years he has received 15 complaints about the Joint Research Centre, based in Ispra, Italy. In six cases he upheld claims of maladministration.
In 1997 he criticised the institution after an applicant was officially offered a job, only to have it later retracted. In 1999, Söderman ruled that a staff member whose chances of promotion had been blocked was mistreated by the centre's managers.
The Ombudsman has also attacked the research centre for the way it draws up its contracts and for its reluctance to give full reasons for refusing grants. "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," said Söderman. "I hope that this inquiry will help the Commission get to the root of the problem and put things right."
In a special report last year, the Court of Auditors accused the centre of not following the rules in awarding contracts and recruiting staff in an irregular manner.
The centre, which has a budget of around €250 million a year, has satellite offices in several EU countries. It employs 2,300 people to carry out research work for a vast range of environmental, agricultural, food safety and other scientific projects.
Barry McSweeney, who took over as director-general of the JRC in April, said the cases the Ombudsman had highlighted were regretable but he said the centre was making "huge efforts" to solve the problems.
The European Ombudsman has launched an inquiry into the management of the Commission's multi-million-euro scientific research centre for what he claims is a history of bad management.
|Subject Categories||Culture, Education and Research|