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The European civil service is committed to the values of service, independence, responsibility, accountability, efficiency and transparency. These values are reflected in the Code of Good Administrative Behaviour, which was adopted by the Commission on 13 September 2000 and which applies to Commission staff in their dealings with the public.

The Code helps to ensure that the principles of good administration are put into practice on a daily basis and that the Commission adheres to its duty of service to the European public.

The Code sets out the principles that must guide administrative conduct: lawfulness, non discrimination, proportionality (measures taken should be proportional to the aim pursued) and consistency. These principles are consistent with the principles laid down by the European Ombudsman in the 'Statement of public service principles for the EU civil service'.

Citizens who think the way they have been treated infringes these rules may submit a complaint.

Content of the Code

PDF formatpdf Choose translations of the previous link 

Complaints procedure

Complaints: in what circumstances?

The Code of Administrative Conduct enables members of the public to file a complaint where the European Commission is in breach of it. This means that failure to comply with the principles of sound administration set out in the Code can be sanctioned.

How can you file a complaint?

A complaint can be filed by ordinary letter or on the special form. The form is not compulsory but it has been designed so as to help complainants make their complaints in a structured way. You are recommended to use it if you can. The complaint form can be sent in electronically Choose translations of the previous link  or on paper (if you prefer to do this, just print out the form in the RTF formatrtf Choose translations of the previous link  ).

To whom should you send your complaint ?

Complaints should be sent to the Secretariat-General of the European Commission Choose translations of the previous link  , which shall forward it to the relevant Commission department.

Who will handle the complaint, and how long will it take?

The relevant Director-General or Head of Department will investigate the substance of the complaint and answer the complainant in writing within two months.

What redress procedures are available, and how much time is allowed for asking for the complaint to be reviewed?

The complainant has one month to ask the Secretary-General of the European Commission to review the outcome of the complaint; time runs from the date when the answer to the complaint was received. The Secretary-General shall reply to the request for a review within one month.

Are there any other ways of filing complaints?

A complaint can also be filed with the European Ombudsman in accordance with Article 228 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union and the Statute of the European Ombudsman.

Contact us

Secretariat-General of the European Commission
SG Unit B/3 – Ethics
1049 Bruxelles/Brussel