JUDGMENT OF THE CIVIL SERVICE TRIBUNAL (First Chamber)

9 July 2008

Case F-89/07

Jan Kuchta

v

European Central Bank

(Civil service – ECB staff – Annual salary and bonus review – Exercise for 2006 – Protection of personal data – Comments adversely affecting career – Powers)

Application: brought under Article 36.2 of the Protocol on the Statutes of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank (ECB) Annexed to the EC Treaty, in which Mr Kuchta, a member of the ECB staff, seeks, first, an order for the ECB to compensate him for the non-material damage it allegedly caused him by communicating his assessment report for 2006, in its entirety, to his immediate superior in the new department to which he was assigned at the beginning of 2007, and, secondly, annulment of the decision fixing his individual salary increase on 1 January 2007.

Held: The ECB’s decision fixing the applicant’s individual salary increase on 1 January 2007 is annulled. The remainder of the claims in the application are dismissed. The ECB is to bear all the costs.

Summary

1.      Officials – Non-contractual liability of the institutions – Claim for nominal damages

2.      European Communities – Community institutions and bodies – Exercise of powers – Delegation – Conditions – European Central Bank

(Protocol on the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank, Arts 12.3 and 36.1; Rules of Procedure of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, Art. 5; Conditions of Employment for Staff of the European Central Bank, Annex I, para. 6)

1.      In a claim for compensation brought by an official, the fact that the official has applied for nominal damages does not relieve him of providing conclusive proof of the damage suffered.

(see para. 36)

See:

26/74 Roquette Frères v Commission [1976] ECR 677, para. 24

2.      So far as concerns the delegation of powers within the Community institutions or bodies, the delegating authority, even when entitled to delegate its powers, must take an express decision transferring them and the delegation can relate only to clearly defined executive powers. Consequently, although the Executive Board of the European Central Bank may, under paragraph 6 of Annex I to the Conditions of Employment for Staff of the Bank, delegate the power to determine individual salary increases, a decision on the matter taken by an authority other than the Executive Board is, in the absence of any delegation to that effect, adopted by an authority which is not competent to do so and must therefore be annulled.

Furthermore, the fact that it is impossible to determine who took a decision on an individual salary increase and which authority was deemed to have been empowered to do so through delegation by the Executive Board undermines the principles of good administration in staff management, which require the division of powers within a Community institution to be clearly defined and duly published. In that respect, the management bodies of the European Central Bank are not in any different position from that in which the management bodies of other Community bodies and institutions find themselves in their relations with their staff.

(see paras 53, 54, 59, 61-63)

See:

C-409/02 P Pflugradt v ECB [2004] ECR I‑9873, para. 37; C-301/02 P Tralli v ECB [2005] ECR I‑4071, para. 43