Language of document : ECLI:EU:F:2014:16

(Third Chamber)

12 February 2014

Case F‑73/12

Jean-Pierre Bodson and Others


European Investment Bank (EIB)

(Civil service — EIB staff — Contractual nature of the employment relationship — Reform of the EIB system of remuneration and salary progression)

Application:      under Article 270 TFEU, in which the applicants seek, first, annulment of the decisions contained in their salary slips of April 2012 to apply the decision of 13 December 2011 of the Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank (‘EIB’) capping the increase in the staff budget at 2.8%, and the decision of 14 February 2012 of the EIB’s Management Committee implementing the Board of Directors’ decision, and secondly, an order that the EIB pay them the difference between the amounts due in accordance with the above decisions and under the previous salary scheme, together with damages.

Held:      The action is dismissed. Mr Bodson and the seven other applicants are to bear their own costs and are ordered to pay the costs incurred by the European Investment Bank.


1.      Officials — Staff of the European Investment Bank — Regulatory nature of the employment relationship — Organisation of departments and fixing of staff remuneration — Administration’s discretion

(Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, Art. 21; Staff Regulations of the European Investment Bank, Arts 13 and 20; Rules of Procedure of the European Investment Bank, Art. 31)

2.      Officials — Staff of the European Investment Bank — Remuneration — Reform of the system — Administration’s discretion — Judicial review — Limits

1.      Where employment contracts are concluded with a European Union body entrusted with public interest responsibilities and authorised to lay down, by regulation, provisions applicable to its staff, the consent of the parties to such a contract is necessarily circumscribed by all manner of obligations deriving from those particular responsibilities and incumbent upon both the management bodies of that body and its staff. Pursuant to Article 31 of its Rules of Procedure, the European Investment Bank is authorised to lay down, by regulation, provisions applicable to its staff. Consequently, the EIB’s relationship with its contract staff is essentially regulatory in nature.

In that respect, the EIB, in order to carry out its public interest responsibilities, has discretion to organise its departments and to fix unilaterally the remuneration of its staff, notwithstanding the legal instruments of a contractual nature on which that employment relationship is based.

(see paras 52-53, 55)


14 October 2004, C‑409/02 P Pflugradt v ECB, paras 34 and 36; 22 December 2008, C‑443/07 P Centeno Mediavilla and Others v Commission, para. 60

22 October 2002, T‑178/00 and T‑341/00 Pflugradt v ECB, para. 53

2.      As regards the reform of the European Investment Bank’s system of remuneration and salary progression, the drawing up of the budget of a Union body such as the EIB involves complex political assessments requiring the taking into account of economic developments and financial variables. The wide discretion enjoyed by the EIB in that respect allows only limited judicial review which prohibits the courts from substituting their assessment for that of the EIB. Consequently, the Union judicature must confine itself to examining whether the EIB’s assessments are vitiated by a manifest error or whether it has clearly exceeded the bounds of its discretion.

In order to establish that the administration committed a manifest error in assessing the facts such as to justify the annulment of a decision, the evidence, which it is for the applicant to adduce, must be sufficient to make the findings of the administration implausible. Consequently, a statement by the applicants that economies made by the EIB have been borne solely by the staff is not substantiated in any way and cannot contribute towards establishing a manifest error of assessment.

(see paras 78-79, 90)


9 June 2005, C‑318/03 HLH Warenvertrieb and Orthica, para. 75