The McCoy Case

Brussels, 21 December 2020

Note for the attention of Mr Petr Blížkovský

Secretary-General of the Committee of the Regions

Subject: The McCoy Case

We would like to inform you of our great satisfaction with the amicable settlement that the CoR has just concluded with our colleague Mr. Robert McCoy.

In this regard, we appreciated your desire to quickly reach such an outcome in the dispute between your institution and a former civil servant, as you announced during your hearing last November, as the new Secretary-General of the Committee of the Regions, before the EP’s Budgetary Control Committee (CONT), in the context of the 2019 discharge.

We were equally appreciative that your commitments were directly followed up and that just after your hearing, M. Knape chair of the CoR’s Commission for Financial and Administrative Affairs immediately wrote to the CONT Commission to confirm that the President of the CoR, Mr. Apostolos Tzizikostas, elected at the head of this institution in February 2020, was going to sit around a table with our colleague Mr. McCoy to find an amicable settlement.

It is therefore an agreement with Mr. McCoy that has just been reached and which we sincerely welcome.

This agreement puts an end to a dispute that has lasted for too long, the beginnings of which date back to the early 2000s.

Despite three trials of the General Court in 2013, 2014 and 2018, condemning the CoR each time, it was then required to wait for the European Parliament, through the CONT, to adopt a clear stance, most recently, during the CoR discharge vote on 26 March 2019, in order that a solution could finally be envisaged.

It should not be forgotten that in its resolution concerning the 2017 discharge, the EP had already requested for mediation between the two parties, stressing that this mediation should also encompass the status of the former auditor as a bona fide whistle-blower, and the fact that he was acting in the interests of the Union by reporting reprehensible acts in the institutions of the Union (point 37 of the decision).

We very well know that in December 2019 the CoR had already offered Mr McCoy a substantial financial arrangement to settle any debt, which our colleague refused, by confirming “this is not about the money, I just wanted to go back to work“.

Today, after a new attempt supervised by the CONT, Mr. McCOY finally agreed to an amicable settlement.

We particularly appreciate that the agreement attained with our colleague aims, above all, to recognize the shortcomings of the CoR with regard to its failure to fulfil the duty of care, to offer all the apologies to which our colleague is entitled, to express to him the institution’s gratitude for the steps he took, at the time, to denounce the defects observed in financial management, which subsequently enabled the CoR to make the necessary corrections.

It is equally important that the CoR acknowledges, by way of this agreement, the fully acceptance of the conclusions of the OLAF report.

And it is only after having definitively recorded these aspects, essential for Mr. McCoy, that the financial aspects’ section can be concluded before the end of the year.

It must, therefore, be highlighted that not always do the institutions seem to understand that the victims’ claims are not limited to purely pecuniary aspects but, above all, are related to the recognition of their professional integrity and to taking into account that their legitimate career prospects have been damaged by the injustices suffered.

Just like in the setting of other similar cases, in this case not everything can be reduced to a simple matter of money!

As in the “EESC case” (link), we, therefore, sincerely thank OLAF for the rigor of the checks carried out, at the time, in connection with this case, and the CONT Committee for its work and vigilance on the use of public resources, in this case the human resources of the institutions.

We particularly appreciated the commitment shown in protecting whistle-blowers, and in defending the rights of the victims of harassment and of other inappropriate behaviour.

And, as part of the conclusion of this amicable settlement with our colleague McCoy, we warmly welcome the commitment of Mr Cristian Ginea as rapporteur for the 2019 discharge of the CoR and Ms Sophie in ‘t Veld as EP mediator.

As the agreement quite properly acknowledges, obviously, the change of persons in decision-making positions at the head of this institution has decisively contributed to a change in attitudes, to resolve entrenched conflicts, and to put an end to deaf dialogues and denials of truth and reality.

The same deaf dialogues and denials of truth and reality that EESC’s representatives have repeatedly displayed towards the victims and before the same CONT Committee for the harassment and other inappropriate behaviours cases confirmed by OLAF in its report.

In any event, we hope that these new premises will enable the CoR, during its 2020-2025 term of office, to exercise its responsibilities and CoR’s staff to carry out their tasks, with renewed confidence.

Cristiano Sebastiani,

President

CC :

Mr A. Tzizikostas, President of CoR

Mr Knape chair of the CoR’s Commission for Financial and Administrative Affairs (CFAA)

Mrs Hohlmeier, President and Vice-Presidents and Members of the Budgetary Control Committee of the European Parliament

Mr C. Ginea rapporteur for the 2019 discharge of the CoR

Mrs Sophie in ‘t Veld EP mediator  

Mrs C. Schweng, President of the EESC

Mr G. Brunetti,Secretary General of the EESC

Mr Guillard Director HR of the EESC

Staff of the Institutions

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