The applicant, RY, joined the European Commission on 1 November 2014, as a member of the temporary staff recruited under Article 2(c) of the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Union (‘the CEOS’), with a contract for an indefinite period.
In accordance with Articles 2 and 3 of the contract of employment signed by the Director-General of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Human Resources and Security on 11 December 2014, the applicant was appointed Deputy Head of Cabinet of a Member of the Commission with effect from 1 November 2014, and was classified in grade AD 12, step 2.
Pursuant to an amendment to the contract of employment, signed on 2 October 2015 with effect from 1 October 2015, the applicant’s duties were amended; he was placed in the post of Expert in the Cabinet of the Member of the Commission, and was classified in grade AD 13, step 2.
By decision of the Director-General of the Directorate-General for Human Resources and Security of 27 April 2016 (‘the contested decision’), pursuant to Article 47(c)(i) of the CEOS, the Commission terminated the applicant’s contract as a member of the temporary staff with effect from 1 August 2016. That decision provided for a three-month notice period, from 1 May 2016 to 31 July 2016, during which the applicant was to be placed at the disposal of a directorate-general. Taking into account the applicant’s sick leave during the notice period, that period effectively ended on 30 October 2016.
On 27 July 2016, the applicant submitted a complaint against the contested decision to the authority empowered to conclude contracts of employment (‘the AECC’) of the Commission, pursuant to Article 90(2) of the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union. In support of his complaint, the applicant alleged, first, infringement of Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’) and, secondly, infringement of Article 2(c) of the CEOS.
As regards the alleged infringement of Article 41 of the Charter, the applicant submitted, in his complaint, that the contested decision was vitiated by a total failure to state reasons and a breach of the right to be heard. Under Section B of the complaint, entitled ‘Substance’, the applicant, in point 1, stated inter alia that he had not been informed of the reasons that led to the termination of his contract, with the result that he had not been given the opportunity to put forward information vitiating the contested decision before the AECC. In point 2 of the same section, he added that neither the Member of the Commission concerned nor any other person had informed him of a breakdown in the relationship of trust.
By decision of 28 November 2016 (‘the decision rejecting the complaint’), the Vice-President of the Commission, responsible for Budget and Human Resources, acting in her capacity as AECC, rejected the applicant’s complaint.
In that decision, the AECC considered that the obligation to hear the person concerned before dismissal did not apply where, as in the present case, concerning a member of the temporary staff recruited on the basis of Article 2(c) of the CEOS, the decision to terminate the contract was taken on the ground of a breakdown in the relationship of trust. In any event, the AECC considered that the argument alleging a breach of the rights of the defence had to be rejected, since the applicant had been given the opportunity to express his views on his departure from the Cabinet, in particular during meetings held in September and December 2015.
In addition, the AECC considered that the contested decision contained an adequate statement of reasons. In that respect, the AECC stated, inter alia, that the applicant had been informed on several occasions that his performance was not satisfactory and that the possibility of terminating his contract had been raised at least twice during interviews with the Head of Cabinet and with the Member of the Commission. The AECC added that the decision rejecting the complaint provided the applicant with additional reasons.
On those grounds,
THE GENERAL COURT (Ninth Chamber, Extended Composition)
Annuls the decision of the European Commission of 27 April 2016 terminating the contract for an indefinite period of RY;