Language of document : ECLI:EU:F:2013:159


(First Chamber)

23 October 2013

Case F‑80/11

Joaquim Paulo Gomes Moreira


European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

(Civil service — Temporary staff — Early termination of a fixed-term contract — Breach of trust — Disciplinary misconduct)

Application:      under Article 270 TFEU, in which Mr Gomes Moreira seeks annulment of the decision of the authority empowered to conclude contracts of employment (‘AECE’) of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) of 11 October 2010 to terminate his contract early on 11 December 2010, giving two months’ notice during which he was suspended from his duties, and payment of the sum of EUR 300 000 by way of compensation for the material and non-material damage suffered.

Held:      The decision of 11 October 2010 is annulled in so far as it suspended the applicant from his duties. The action is dismissed as to the remainder. The parties are to bear their own costs.


1.      Officials — Members of the temporary staff — Early termination of a fixed-term contract — Administration’s discretion — Termination with notice and suspension from duties at the same time — Obligation to initiate disciplinary proceedings

(Conditions of Employment of Other Servants, Arts 47 and 49(1))

2.      Officials — Rights and obligations — Duty of loyalty — Scope — Identification of a failure to fulfil obligations — Criteria for assessment

(Staff Regulations, Arts 11, 12, 12b and 17a)

3.      Officials — Members of the temporary staff — Early termination of a fixed term contract — Administration’s discretion — Administration’s duty to have regard for the welfare of its staff — Taking into consideration the interests of the staff member concerned — Judicial review — Limits

1.      The authority empowered to conclude contracts of employment is not entitled to terminate a temporary contract unilaterally, giving notice in accordance with Article 47 of the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants, whilst at the same time suspending the staff member concerned from his duties under the second subparagraph of Article 49(1) of the Conditions of Employment, without initiating disciplinary proceedings against that staff member on grounds of serious misconduct.

(see para. 50)

2.      The provisions of Articles 11, 12, 12b and 17a of the Staff Regulations provide specific expressions of the fundamental obligation of loyalty and cooperation of an official in respect of the Union and his line-managers. They are justified by the public interest tasks incumbent on the European Union, which citizens and the Member States must be assured will be properly carried out. Such obligations are intended primarily to preserve the relationship of trust which must exist between the European Union and its officials and other staff.

An official may not, by oral or written expression or by actions of any other nature, act in breach of his obligations under the Staff Regulations towards the European Union that he is supposed to serve, thereby destroying the relationship of trust between himself and the latter and making it thereafter more difficult, if not impossible, for the work of the European Union to be carried out in cooperation with that official. In such a case, the European Union would be prevented from pursuing its interests and the interests of the service would therefore also be affected.

Those provisions lay down, in addition to the specific obligations arising in the context of the conduct of the specific tasks entrusted to an official, a general duty of loyalty on the part of the official. The respect which an official owes to his position is not confined to the particular time at which he carries out a specific task but is expected from him under all circumstances.

Those obligations are imposed in a general and objective manner. A finding of failure to comply with those obligations is not conditional on the official concerned having caused harm to the European Union or on the existence of a complaint by a person or a Member State alleging harm as a result of the official’s conduct.

(see paras 61-66)


6 March 2001, C‑274/99 P Connolly v Commission, paras 44, 46 and 47

3 July 2001, T‑24/98 and T‑241/99 E v Commission, para. 76; 9 July 2002, T‑21/01 Zavvos v Commission, paras 37 to 40

8 November 2007, F‑40/05 Andreasen v Commission, para. 233 and the case-law cited; 17 July 2012, F‑54/11 BG v Ombudsman, para. 128

3.      Where a fixed-term temporary contract is terminated early on the ground that one or more breaches by the staff member concerned of his professional duties have caused a breakdown in the relationship of trust between it and the staff member and it is not possible to restore that relationship, the competent authority enjoys a broad discretion in assessing the interests of the service. Consequently, the review by the European Union judicature must be limited to the issue of whether the authority concerned has remained within reasonable bounds and has not used its power in a manifestly incorrect way.

When taking a decision concerning the situation of a member of staff, the competent authority must take account of all the factors which may affect its decision and, in particular, the interests of the member of staff concerned. That flows from the administration’s duty to have regard for the welfare of its staff, which reflects the balance of reciprocal rights and obligations established by the Staff Regulations, and by analogy, the Conditions of Employment, in the relationship between the official authority and its staff.

(see paras 67-69)


12 December 2000, T‑223/99 Dejaiffe v OHIM, para. 53