JUDGMENT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION CIVIL SERVICE TRIBUNAL

(Single judge)

23 October 2013

Case F‑98/12

Kathleen Verstreken

v

Council of the European Union

(Civil service — Officials — Promotion — 2008 promotion procedure — 2009 promotion procedure — Decision not to promote the applicant — Statement of reasons — General and stereotypical statement of reasons)

Application:      under Article 270 TFEU, applicable to the EAEC Treaty pursuant to Article 106a thereof, in which Ms Verstreken seeks annulment of the decision of 7 November 2011 not to promote her to grade AD 12 under the 2008 and 2009 promotion procedures, adopted by the Council of the European Union in compliance with the judgment of the Tribunal of 15 December 2010 in Case F‑14/09 Almeida Campos and Others v Council (‘Almeida Campos’).

Held:      The decision of the Council of the European Union of 7 November 2011 not to promote Ms Verstreken under the 2008 and 2009 promotion procedures is annulled. The Council of the European Union is to bear its own costs and to pay the costs incurred by Ms Verstreken.

Summary

Officials — Promotion — Complaint by a candidate who has not been promoted — Rejection decision — Obligation to state reasons — Scope — General and stereotypical statement of reasons equivalent to a complete absence of a statement of reasons

(Staff Regulations, Arts 25, 45 and 90(2))

Although the appointing authority is not obliged to give reasons for its promotion decisions to officials who have not been promoted, it is obliged to state the reasons for its decision rejecting a complaint lodged pursuant to Article 90(2) of the Staff Regulations by an official who has not been promoted, the statement of reasons for that decision being deemed to be the same as the statement of reasons against which the complaint was directed.

Furthermore, the appointing authority cannot be expected, when rejecting a complaint, to provide reasons for its decision which go further than the claims relied on in that complaint, in particular by explaining why the merits of each of the officials eligible for promotion were greater than those of the author of the complaint. Since promotions are made by selection, in accordance with Article 45 of the Staff Regulations, it is enough that the reasons given for the rejection of the complaint relate to the application of the conditions governing promotion laid down by law and the Staff Regulations to the official’s individual situation.

A general and stereotypical statement of reasons for a decision rejecting a complaint which does not contain any information concerning the specific situation of the person concerned and, in particular, which gives no explanation of how the appointing authority applied the criteria laid down in Article 45 of the Staff Regulations to his individual situation is equivalent, in reality, to a complete absence of a statement of reasons.

(see paras 29-32)

See:

20 February 2002, T‑117/01 Roman Parra v Commission, paras 27 and 31; 29 September 2005, T‑218/02 Napoli Buzzanca v Commission, para. 74

28 September 2011, F‑9/10 AC v Council, para. 29; 10 November 2011, F‑18/09 Merhzaoui v Council, paras 71 and 75; 8 February 2012, F‑11/11 Bouillez and Others v Council, para. 22; 14 November 2012, F‑75/11 Bouillez v Council, para. 26