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Appointments EuropeAid                                                     January 2014

There is a new Ombudsman in Brussels, Emily O'Reilly, who was previously Ombudsman in Ireland. Earlier she was a highly regarded journalist and political commentator with the Irish print media. We intend to meet her as soon as we can arrange that. We are interested to see if she would be prepared to handle some of the more common complaints we get from experts, for instance when contractors fail to pay the experts, in breach of their own contracts with the Commission, and the Commission says that such matters are solely between the contractors and the experts. With luck (and perhaps some persuasive lobbying) the new Ombudsman might see things our way. We will certainly try. We will also see if we can have experts' complaints to the Ombudsman fast-tracked. At present it can easily take a year to handle a complaint and this is far too long for experts, especially when there is money (theirs!) involved.

Those of you who have been with us since the beginning will remember that we developed a very good relationship with Mr. Koos Richelle, who was Director-General of EuropeAid when we started the Ban the SoE&A campaign. Unfortunately, he was transferred elsewhere in the Commission and his replacement was not interested in ever meeting us. However, there is now another new DG, Mr. Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, who is Portuguese. We will give him time to settle in, especially as the EuropeAid officials tell us they are very busy finalizing the new PRAG (they seem to have been doing this for ever). We hope this new appointment will be helpful for us.