Communications Networks, Content and Technology
European Commission Directorate General

Legal affairs

Legal affairs

Compliance (Unit R.4)
Goal

To establish a pool of legal excellence and provide a comprehensive legal support service addressing all horizontal legal issues relevant to the achievement of DG CONNECT's main objectives (which cannot be dealt with within a given Directorate) and handling litigation issues in liaison with the Legal service and the European Ombudsman (via the SG). Host of the DG CONNECT Data protection Coordinator (DPC).

Action

To offer a comprehensive in-house legal support service within DG CONNECT.

Situation

A DG with a high decentralisation of legal staff and legal tasks; 7 lawyers' post in R4 to deal with a great number of pending court cases, ombudsman files and 'access to documents' requests; providing legal support to auditors, grant management by operational services, data protection issues, comitology and other horizontal legal questions and litigation issues that cannot be dealt with in other part of the DG; potential high mobility rate due to 50% staff on temporary contracts; constant setting of negative priorities; reduce the response time in order to respect deadlines; still some uncertainty with regard to future tasks in the unit following the centralisation in the CSC-Common Legal Support Service (CSC-CLSS); potential overlapping of legal tasks due to high degree of decentralisation of legal tasks in the DG.

Mandate
FP7, Data protection regulation 45/2001, Access to documents regulation 1049/2001.

Input

Full-Time Equivalent: 
10
Collaboration with other DGs or agencies:
Outputs

Ombudsman

Contact point for the DG with the SG, LS and the European Ombudsman. All Ombudsman cases introduced in 2014 and concerning FP7/Horizon 2020 will in principle be handled by the CSC-CLSS but Unit R4 still handles them because the CLSS is not yet fully operational.

Timeframe: Ongoing activity

Indicators

3545

Ombudsman complaints

Target Number of Ombudsman complaints introduced yearly; number of Ombudsman cases closed on the basis of friendly settlement/further remark/critical remark/no maladministration.

Legal advice, litigation

Ensure that the objectives of the DG can be managed in full respect of the obligations of the Treaties, the Financial Regulations, Data protection provisions and other legal obligations which are generally applicable to the Commission and DG CONNECT or specific to its activities; defence of the EU's financial interest and of the image of the DG as part of the Commission; legal quality check on horizontal legal issues if and when required in the DG; detect potential legal issues as early as possible and to take swift and decisive legal action as and when needed; quality legal input to contestations, litigation, complaints and requests for redress procedures; legal advice on a variety of matters including legislative and regulatory initiatives, institutional matters, comitology, grant management, audit etc. All litigation cases introduced as from January 2014 concerning FP7/Horizon 2020 will in principle be handled by the CSC CLSS once fully operational. Unit R4 deals with these new cases in the meantime. Unit R4 is coordinating comitology issues for DG CONNECT.

Timeframe: Ongoing activity

Indicators

3540

Response time for legal advice requests (lead indicator)

Target 6 days, i.e. maintain baseline response time (January 2015)
Baseline 6 days (January 2014)

Court litigations

Target Number of court litigations initiated per year; number of cases won/lost.

Data protection, access to documents

Ensure that the objectives of the DG can be managed in full respect of the data protection provisions and other legal obligations which are generally applicable to the Commission or specific to the DG's activities (update of notifications); striving for a transparent DG, respect of personal data in and by the DG, good and efficient administration. Handling (own R4 requests) and coordinating 'access to documents' requests from operational units. Contact point for the DG with the SG, the European Ombudsman and the Commission Data Protection Officer (DPO) and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS).

Timeframe: Ongoing activity

Indicators

952

Data protection

Target Completion of update of DP notifications, number of data protection requests handled (access, rectification, blocking, transfers, etc.).

Access to documents

Target Number of access to document requests responded/contributed to in time; number of confirmative applications.
Results/Impacts

Establishment of a pool of legal excellence

Centralisation of legal support in the CSC CLSS brings clarity about legal tasks in unit and avoid overlapping of legal work by other units in the DG; enhanced cooperation on legal issues by all involved in the DG; provide to the DG sufficient assurance of the legality, correctness, fairness, regularity of the actions undertaken including of the sound financial and non-financial management within DG CONNECT; advise in order to protect tax payers' money and reduce to maximum extent possible mismanagement of Commission funds; reduce the reputational risk of DG CONNECT and the Commission; increase compliance with all relevant legal framework and obligations in order to reduce court litigation and Ombudsman complaints.

Timeframe: 2014 and 2015

Indicators

994

Smooth cooperation

Target Increased and smooth cooperation with other services (CSC, SG, LS, etc.).

Mandate

Target Discussion with Management on the future impact of the CSC-CLSS on the tasks of the unit. Mid-2014.

Link to DG CONNECT's Top Level Targets

  • DG CONNECT is a lean, modern, effective and efficient public administration