PV v European Commission.

JurisdictionEuropean Union
Date23 March 2023
CourtCourt of Justice (European Union)

Provisional text

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT (First Chamber)

23 March 2023 (*)

(Appeal – Civil service – Psychological harassment – Medical opinions – Unjustified absences – Remuneration – Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union – Article 11a – Conflict of interests – Article 21a – Manifestly illegal order – Article 23 – Compliance with laws and police regulations – Disciplinary procedure – Removal from post – Withdrawal of removal – New disciplinary procedure – Fresh removal from post)

In Case C‑640/20 P,

APPEAL under Article 56 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union, brought on 23 November 2020,

PV, represented by D. Birkenmaier, Rechtsanwalt,

appellant,

the other party to the proceedings being:

European Commission, represented initially by T.S. Bohr, B. Mongin and A.‑C. Simon, and subsequently by T.S. Bohr and A.-C. Simon, acting as Agents,

defendant at first instance,

THE COURT (First Chamber),

composed of A. Arabadjiev, President of the Chamber, L. Bay Larsen (Rapporteur), Vice-President of the Court, P.G. Xuereb, A. Kumin and I. Ziemele, Judges,

Advocate General: P. Pikamäe,

Registrar: A. Calot Escobar,

having regard to the written procedure,

after hearing the Opinion of the Advocate General at the sitting on 29 September 2022,

gives the following

Judgment

1 By his appeal, PV asks the Court of Justice to set aside the judgment of the General Court of the European Union of 30 January 2020, PV v Commission (T‑786/16 and T‑224/18, not published, ‘the judgment under appeal’, EU:T:2020:17), by which the General Court dismissed the actions brought by PV seeking,

– in Case T‑786/16, annulment, principally, of PV’s appraisal reports for the years 2014 to 2016, of the decisions of the Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General (DG) for Interpretation of 31 May, 5 July, 31 July and 15 September 2016, relating to deductions from PV’s salary, of the decision of the appointing authority of 28 November 2016 rejecting the complaints lodged against the decisions of 31 May and 5 July 2016 relating to deductions from PV’s salary, of the pre-information letter from the Office for the Administration and Payment of Individual Entitlements (PMO) of 21 June 2016 informing PV that he owed a debt amounting to EUR 33 593.88, of the decision of PMO of 11 July 2016 to suspend payment of PV’s salary from 1 July 2016, of the memorandum from the Director-General of DG Interpretation of 31 July 2016 announcing the intention to consider PV’s absences for the period from 2 June to 31 July 2016 as unauthorised and to make corresponding deductions from his salary, of the pre-information letter from PMO of 21 September 2016 informing PV that he owed a debt amounting to EUR 42 704.74, of the decision of the appointing authority of 17 January 2017 rejecting the complaint brought against those acts, of the decision of the appointing authority of 26 July 2016 to remove PV from his post, of the decision of the appointing authority of 2 February 2017 rejecting the complaint lodged against that removal decision, of the debit note of 20 July 2017, of the decision of the appointing authority of 29 November 2017 rejecting the complaint lodged against that note and of disciplinary procedure CMS 13/087, and

– annulment, in the alternative, of the medical opinions of 27 June and 10 October 2014, of the notes of the medical officer of 16 July, 18 July, 8 August, 4 September and 4 December 2014, of 4 February, 13 April, 4 June, 11 August, 14 October and 4 December 2015, of 5 February, 22 March, 18 April, 3 June, 30 June and 25 July 2016, of the decisions rejecting the requests for assistance of 23 October 2014, of 20 January, 20 March and 30 July 2015 and of 15 March and 18 May 2016, of the decisions of the Director-General of DG Interpretation of 9 February, 30 March, 5 May, 24 June, 1 October and 12 November 2015, of 15 January and 22 April 2016, relating to deductions from PV’s salary, of the decisions of the appointing authority rejecting the complaints lodged against those decisions relating to salary deductions, of the debt letters of 10 March, 11 May, 10 June, 11 August, 13 November and 9 December 2015 and of 18 July 2016, of the decisions of the appointing authority of 12 March, 11 August and 13 October 2015, and of 7 June and 21 September 2016, rejecting the complaints relating to the appraisal exercises from 2013 to 2015 and of the decision of the appointing authority of 14 July 2016 rejecting the complaint concerning PV’s unjustified absences of 16 and 17 March 2016;

– in Case T‑224/18, a finding that PV was the victim of psychological harassment, and

– annulment of disciplinary procedure CMS 17/025, of the decision of the appointing authority of 2 May 2018 rejecting the complaint brought against the decision to initiate that procedure, of the emails from DG Human Resources and Security of 23 October 2017 and 16 March 2018 inviting PV to draft his self-assessment relating to the active service periods 2016 and 2017, of the decisions of the appointing authority of 16 March and 1 June 2018 rejecting the complaints lodged against those emails, of the decision of the appointing authority of 24 July 2017 withdrawing PV’s removal from his post, of the decision of the appointing authority of 15 January 2018 rejecting the complaint brought against that decision withdrawing PV’s removal from his post, of the decision of PMO of 12 September 2017 concerning the set-off of the respective debts between PV and the Commission, of the decision of the appointing authority of 9 March 2018 rejecting the complaint made against that decision to offset the debts and of the decision of the Director-General of DG Interpretation of 13 October 2017 to suspend payment of PV’s salary with effect from 1 October 2017;

– in Cases T‑786/16 and T‑224/18, compensation for the material and non-material damage allegedly suffered by PV.

Legal context

2 Article 1e(2) of the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union, in the version applicable to the dispute (‘the Staff Regulations’), states:

‘Officials in active employment shall be accorded working conditions complying with appropriate health and safety standards at least equivalent to the minimum requirements applicable under measures adopted in these areas pursuant to the Treaties.’

3 Article 11a(1) and (2) of the Staff Regulations provides:

‘1. An official shall not, in the performance of his duties and save as hereinafter provided, deal with a matter in which, directly or indirectly, he has any personal interest such as to impair his independence, and, in particular, family and financial interests.

2. Any official to whom it falls, in the performance of his duties, to deal with a matter referred to above shall immediately inform the Appointing Authority. The Appointing Authority shall take any appropriate measure, and may in particular relieve the official from responsibility in this matter.’

4 Article 12a(1) to (3) of the Staff Regulations provides:

‘1. Officials shall refrain from any form of psychological or sexual harassment.

2. An official who has been the victim of psychological or sexual harassment shall not suffer any prejudicial effects on the part of the institution. An official who has given evidence on psychological or sexual harassment shall not suffer any prejudicial effects on the part of the institution, provided the official has acted honestly.

3. “Psychological harassment” means any improper conduct that takes place over a period, is repetitive or systematic and involves physical behaviour, spoken or written language, gestures or other acts that are intentional and that may undermine the personality, dignity or physical or psychological integrity of any person.’

5 Article 21a(1) and (2) of the Staff Regulations is worded as follows:

‘1. An official who receives orders which he considers to be irregular or likely to give rise to serious difficulties shall inform his immediate superior, who shall, if the information is given in writing, reply in writing. Subject to paragraph 2, if the immediate superior confirms the orders and the official believes that such confirmation does not constitute a reasonable response to the grounds of his concern, the official shall refer the question in writing to the hierarchical authority immediately above. If the latter confirms the orders in writing, the official shall carry them out unless they are manifestly illegal or constitute a breach of the relevant safety standards.

2. If the immediate superior considers that the orders must be executed promptly, the official shall carry them out unless they are manifestly illegal or constitute a breach of the relevant safety standards. At the request of the official, the immediate superior shall be obliged to give such orders in writing.’

6 The first paragraph of Article 23 of the Staff Regulations states:

‘The privileges and immunities enjoyed by officials are accorded solely in the interests of the Union. Subject to the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities, officials shall not be exempt from fulfilling their private obligations or from complying with the laws and police regulations in force.’

7 Article 24 of the Staff Regulations reads as follows:

‘The Union shall assist any official, in particular in proceedings against any person perpetrating threats, insulting or defamatory acts or utterances, or any attack to person or property to which he or a member of his family is subjected by reason of his position or duties.

It shall jointly and severally compensate the official for damage suffered in such cases, in so far as the official did not either intentionally or through grave negligence cause damage and has been unable to obtain compensation from the person who did cause it.’

8 The first and second paragraphs of Article 25 of the Staff Regulations provide:

‘Officials may submit requests concerning issues covered by these Staff Regulations to...

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8 practice notes
  • XC contre Commission européenne.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 9 November 2023
    ...compréhensible du texte de ce pourvoi, qui est formulé de manière obscure et ambiguë à cet égard (voir arrêt du 23 mars 2023, PV/Commission, C‑640/20 P, EU:C:2023:232, points 199 et 200 ainsi que jurisprudence 107 Dans ces conditions, il convient d’examiner la prétendue erreur que le Tribun......
  • Liam Jenkinson v Council of the European Union and Others.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 18 January 2024
    ...de manera específica dicha pretensión, so pena de inadmisibilidad (véase, en este sentido, la sentencia de 23 de marzo de 2023, PV/Comisión, C‑640/20 P, EU:C:2023:232, apartado 199 y jurisprudencia 61 No cumple estos requisitos y debe declararse inadmisible el motivo cuya argumentación no s......
  • European Commission v CK Telecoms UK Investments Ltd.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 13 July 2023
    ...sake of completeness cannot lead to the decision being set aside and are therefore ineffective (judgment of 23 March 2023, PV v Commission, C‑640/20 P, EU:C:2023:232, paragraph 191 and the case-law cited). Even if the first part of the second ground of appeal were well founded, it would not......
  • DI v European Central Bank.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 22 June 2023
    ...noviembre de 2019, LS Cable & System/Comisión, C‑596/18 P, no publicada, EU:C:2019:1025, apartado 25, y de 23 de marzo de 2023, PV/Comisión, C‑640/20 P, EU:C:2023:232, apartado 134 y jurisprudencia 75 En el presente asunto, el recurrente sostiene, en esencia, que el Tribunal General desnatu......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • European Commission v CK Telecoms UK Investments Ltd.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 13 July 2023
    ...sake of completeness cannot lead to the decision being set aside and are therefore ineffective (judgment of 23 March 2023, PV v Commission, C‑640/20 P, EU:C:2023:232, paragraph 191 and the case-law cited). Even if the first part of the second ground of appeal were well founded, it would not......
  • DI v European Central Bank.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 22 June 2023
    ...28 novembre 2019, LS Cable & System/Commission, C‑596/18 P, non publié, EU:C:2019:1025, point 25, ainsi que du 23 mars 2023, PV/Commission, C‑640/20 P, EU:C:2023:232, point 134 et jurisprudence citée). 75 En l’occurrence, le requérant soutient, en substance, que le Tribunal a dénaturé le do......
  • XC contre Commission européenne.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 9 November 2023
    ...dal testo di tale impugnazione, formulata in modo oscuro e ambiguo a tale riguardo (v. sentenza del 23 marzo 2023, PV/Commissione, C‑640/20 P, EU:C:2023:232, punti 199 e 200, nonché giurisprudenza ivi 107 Ciò premesso, occorre esaminare l’asserito errore che il Tribunale avrebbe commesso al......
  • Opinion of Advocate General Collins delivered on 11 April 2024.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 11 April 2024
    ...Cour de cassation (Corte di cassazione) del 1º ottobre 2021 (BE:CASS:2021:ARR.20211001.1F.7). 60 Sentenza del 23 marzo 2023, PV/Commissione (C‑640/20 P, EU:C:2023:232, punti 77 e 78 e giurisprudenza ivi 61 Sentenze del 2 ottobre 2014, Strack/Commissione (C‑127/13 P, EU:C:2014:2250, punto 79......
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