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Document 62020CJ0361

Sentenza tal-Qorti tal-Ġustizzja (Is-Seba’ Awla) tat-13 ta’ Jannar 2022.
YG vs Il-Kummissjoni Ewropea.
Kawża C-361/20 P.

ECLI identifier: ECLI:EU:C:2022:17

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT (Seventh Chamber)

13 January 2022 (*)

(Appeal – Civil service – Official – Promotion – 2017 promotion procedure – Decision not to promote the appellant – Article 45(1) of the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union – Comparison of the merits – Principle of equal treatment – Duty to state reasons)

In Case C‑361/20 P,

APPEAL under Article 56 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union, brought on 4 August 2020,

YG, represented by A. Champetier and S. Rodrigues, avocats,

appellant,

the other party to the proceedings being:

European Commission, represented by L. Hohenecker, L. Vernier and L. Radu Bouyon, acting as Agents,

defendant at first instance,

THE COURT (Seventh Chamber),

composed of I. Ziemele (Rapporteur), President of the Sixth Chamber, acting as President of the Seventh Chamber, P.G. Xuereb and A. Kumin, Judges,

Advocate General: J. Kokott,

Registrar: A. Calot Escobar,

having regard to the written procedure,

having decided, after hearing the Advocate General, to proceed to judgment without an Opinion,

gives the following

Judgment

1        By his appeal, the appellant seeks to have set aside the judgment of the General Court of the European Union of 28 May 2020, YG v Commission (T‑518/18, not published, EU:T:2020:221; ‘the judgment under appeal’), by which the General Court dismissed his action for annulment of the European Commission’s decision of 13 November 2017 not to promote him in the 2017 promotion procedure (‘the contested decision’).

 Legal context

 The Staff Regulations

2        Article 45(1) of the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union, in the version applicable to the dispute (‘the Staff Regulations’), is worded as follows:

‘Promotion shall be by decision of the appointing authority in the light of Article 6(2). Unless the procedure laid down in Articles 4 and 29(1) is applied, officials may only be promoted if they occupy a post which corresponds to one of the types of posts set out in Annex I, Section A, for the next higher grade. Promotion shall be effected by appointment of the official to the next higher grade in the function group to which he belongs. Promotion shall be exclusively by selection from among officials who have completed a minimum of two years in their grade after consideration of the comparative merits of the officials eligible for promotion. When considering comparative merits, the appointing authority shall in particular take account of the reports on the officials, the use of languages in the execution of their duties other than the language for which they have produced evidence of thorough knowledge in accordance with point (f) of Article 28 and the level of responsibilities exercised by them.’

 The GIP

3        Article 4 of Commission Decision C(2013) 8968 final of 16 December 2013 laying down general provisions for implementing Article 45 of the Staff Regulations (‘the GIP’), entitled ‘Basis of the promotion procedure’, is worded as follows:

‘1.      The promotion procedure shall be based on the consideration of the comparative merits of the officials eligible for promotion. The secure electronic system used to administer the exercise shall contain the information required for this comparative examination. For the purposes of that examination, the appointing authority shall take into account, in particular:

(a)      reports on the officials drawn up since their last promotion or, failing that, since their recruitment, and in particular staff reports drawn up in accordance with the general provisions for implementing Article 43 of the Staff Regulations;

(b)      the use by the officials in the execution of their duties of languages other than the language for which they produced evidence of thorough knowledge in accordance with Article 28(f) of the Staff Regulations, and

(c)      the level of responsibilities exercised by them.

2.      If officials eligible for promotion have equal merit based on the three factors referred to in paragraph 1, the appointing authority may give subsidiary consideration to other factors.’

4        Article 5 of the GIP, entitled ‘Promotion procedure’, states:

‘1.      The promotion exercise shall be launched only once the appraisal exercise organised in the same year has been finalised. The end of the appraisal exercise shall be announced by the Directorate-General [(DG)] responsible for human resources by means of the publication of an administrative notice.

2.      At the start of the exercise, the [DG] responsible for human resources shall notify the Directorates-General of the arrangements for the current exercise, giving an indication of the financial resources available for the current year.

3.      Within each [DG], the Directors shall consult the reporting officer referred to in the general provisions for implementing Article 43 of the Staff Regulations.

4.      In each [DG], following the consultation under paragraph 3 above, the Director-General, Deputy Directors-General, Directors and, where appropriate, the Principal Advisers shall proceed with the examination of the comparative merits of the officials eligible for promotion. If [a DG] is parent [DG] of an executive agency, the Executive Director of the executive agency shall also take part in this examination, even if the Executive Director is seconded from another [DG].

5.      Following the examination in paragraph 4 above, the Director-General shall hold a discussion with a delegation appointed by the Central Staff Committee.

6.      Following the discussion in paragraph 5 above, the Director-General shall communicate to all the [DG’s] staff the list of officials he or she wishes to propose for promotion and shall forward this list to the Joint Promotion Committee referred to in Annex I.

7.      The jobholder shall have five working days from the date of publication of this list in which to lodge a complaint with the Joint Promotion Committee against the fact that he or she is not on the list, with supporting arguments. On receipt of the lists referred to in paragraph 6, the Joint Promotion Committee, taking into account any complaints it has received, shall compare the merits of the officials eligible for promotion and present for the attention of the appointing authority the list of officials it recommends for promotion. At the same time, it shall forward the complaints and the discrepancies, if any, referred to in Annex III.

8.      Once it has received the information referred to in paragraph 7, and has at its disposal the files of all the officials eligible for promotion, the appointing authority shall carry out a final comparison of the merits of the eligible officials and, taking into account the budgetary resources available, shall adopt the list of officials promoted. Promotion shall entail the appointment of the official concerned to the next higher grade in the function group to which he or she belongs.

9.      The list of officials promoted shall be published for the attention of all Commission staff, including officials seconded in the interest of the service to an executive agency, by means of an administrative notice. Each official shall be invited to consult his/her promotion file.

10.      Promotions shall take effect on 1 January of the year of the promotion exercise. If, on that date, the official does not have seniority in the grade or does not occupy a post of the type required by Article 45(1) of the Staff Regulations, the promotion shall take effect on the first day of the first full month during which he or she possesses the necessary seniority or occupies a post of the required type.

11.      Publication of the list of officials promoted referred to in paragraph 9 constitutes communication of the decision within the meaning of Article 25 of the Staff Regulations. The period of three months in which to lodge a complaint, provided for in Article 90(2) of the Staff Regulations, starts to run on the day following that of the publication of the list.

…’

 Background to the dispute

5        The background to the dispute is set out in paragraphs 1 to 9 of the judgment under appeal in the following terms:

‘1      The applicant, YG, is an established official at the … Commission in grade AST 8 who has been working in the [DG] for IT since 16 April 2014. [Previously], he worked at the Commission for DG Eurostat from 1 April 2000 and at the European Parliament from 1 March 2009 to 15 April 2014.

2      By 1 January 2017, the applicant had accrued five years’ service in his grade.

3      By publication in Administrative Notices No 013-2017 of 3 April 2017, addressed to all Commission officials, the Commission launched the 2017 promotion procedure.

4      On 19 June 2017, the list of officials proposed for promotion was published in the Commission’s integrated human resources management system, SYSPER. The applicant’s name was not on that list.

5      On 22 June 2017, the applicant brought an appeal against the decision not to include his name on the list of officials proposed for promotion.

6      The appeal was first considered by the Joint Working Group, which issued an opinion to the effect that it did not recommend the applicant for promotion. The Joint Promotion Committee, after considering the file and the comparative merits in the grade, subsequently issued an opinion which concurred with that of the Joint Working Group.

7      On 13 November 2017, the Commission, as appointing authority, published the [contested decision]. The applicant’s name was not on that list.

8      On 25 January 2018, the applicant submitted a complaint pursuant to Article 90(2) of the [Staff Regulations] against that decision.

9      By decision of 23 May 2018, the Commission rejected the applicant’s complaint (“the decision rejecting the complaint”).’

 The procedure before the General Court and the judgment under appeal

6        By application lodged at the Court Registry on 31 August 2018, the appellant brought an action under Article 270 TFEU, by which he requested the General Court to annul the contested decision and the decision rejecting the complaint.

7        That action was based on two pleas in law, alleging, first, infringement of Article 45 of the Staff Regulations, manifest errors of assessment, breach of the principle of equal treatment and an inadequate statement of reasons and, secondly, infringement of the principle of ‘good administration by lack of diligence’.

8        As regards the first plea, the General Court, inter alia, in the first place, examined the assessment of the appellant’s merits by the appointing authority. In that regard, in paragraph 40 of the judgment under appeal, the General Court observed that the setting out of the relevant extracts from the appellant’s staff reports for the years 2012 to 2016 in the contested decision clearly showed that the appointing authority had taken account of the merits described in those extracts for the purposes of the comparative examination.

9        In the second place, as regards the validity of the comparative examination of the appellant’s merits vis-à-vis those of the promoted officials, the General Court observed, in paragraph 47 of the judgment under appeal, that the decision rejecting the complaint indicated, in general terms, and in the light of short extracts from the 2016 staff reports of officials A, B, C, D, E and F, first, that the comparison of the appellant’s merits with those of the promoted officials, including those from the DG for IT, did not disclose any manifest error of assessment and, secondly, that the responsibilities of the promoted officials were similar to those of the appellant. The General Court also stated, in paragraph 48 of the judgment under appeal, that, in response to a request to that effect from the General Court, the Commission clarified that, of the officials referred to in that decision, officials A, B, C, D, E and F did not come from the DG for IT – whereas that was the case in respect of officials X, Y and Z, whose identity and merits the Commission revealed during the proceedings – and produced the 2016 staff reports of seven other officials from that DG promoted to Grade AST 9.

10      The General Court then proceeded, in paragraphs 50 to 53 of the judgment under appeal, to assess the specific complaints challenging the validity of the comparative examination of the appellant’s merits vis-à-vis those of some of the promoted officials, identified in the decision rejecting the complaint, and concluded, in paragraph 54 of that judgment, that, in the absence of a manifest error of assessment, those complaints had to be rejected as unfounded. It also held that the same was true of the comparison of merits with those of other promoted officials in the DG for IT, identified only during the proceedings.

11      In the third place, as regards the adequacy of the statement of reasons for the decision rejecting the complaint, the General Court pointed out, in particular, in paragraph 59 of the judgment under appeal, that the mere inadequacy of the statement of reasons set out in that decision was not such as to justify annulment of the contested decision where additional information was provided by the appointing authority in the course of the proceedings in order to remedy the inadequacy.

12      The General Court therefore rejected the first plea in its entirety as unfounded.

13      As regards the second plea, alleging infringement of the principle of good administration by lack of diligence on the part of the appointing authority, the General Court stated, inter alia, in paragraph 65 of the judgment under appeal, that the appellant had not explained to what extent that plea alleged unlawfulness other than that already relied on in the first plea, with the result that, in paragraph 67 of that judgment, it also rejected that plea as unfounded and the action in its entirety.

14      However, the General Court, taking the view that it was the Commission which led the appellant to bring his action, in particular because of the vague, or even incomplete, statement of reasons for the decision rejecting the complaint as regards the consideration of the comparative merits, held that the Commission must be ordered to bear its own costs and to pay those incurred by the appellant.

 Forms of order sought

15      By the present appeal, the appellant claims that the Court of Justice should:

–        set aside in part the judgment under appeal and declare his action in Case T‑518/18 admissible and well founded, upholding the order for costs against the Commission and, consequently;

–        annul the contested decision and the decision rejecting the complaint, or, failing that,

–        refer the case back to the General Court for judgment.

16      The Commission contends that the Court should:

–        dismiss the appeal in its entirety, and

–        order the appellant to pay the costs.

 The appeal

17      In support of his appeal, the appellant raises two grounds of appeal, alleging, first, distortion of the evidence, infringement of the rights of the defence and errors of law and, secondly, insufficient and contradictory reasoning in the judgment under appeal.

 The first ground of appeal

 The first part

–       Arguments of the parties

18      The appellant claims that, in paragraph 50 of the judgment under appeal, the General Court distorted the evidence and infringed his rights of defence.

19      First of all, the appellant submits that, by holding in paragraph 50 of the judgment under appeal that the Commission could legitimately compare the appellant with officials E and F, the General Court distorted the evidence, in so far as the reports concerning those officials were never compared with those of the appellant during the promotion procedure, since those officials did not work in the DG for IT and apparently did not appeal to the Joint Promotion Committee. Such distortion of the evidence led to an error in law as regards the assessment, by the General Court, of the consideration of the comparative merits as required by Article 45 of the Staff Regulations and by the principle of equal treatment. Next, the General Court also distorted the evidence in that it could not be inferred from the staff reports produced that the appellant had been the subject of ‘fairly strong criticism’. Finally, the appellant’s position in that regard, set out in his reply to the defence before the General Court, was not taken into consideration, which constitutes an infringement of the rights of the defence.

20      The Commission disputes that argument.

–       Findings of the Court

21      It should be noted at the outset that, by the first complaint of the first part of his first ground of appeal, the appellant claims not that there was distortion of the evidence but an error of law, in that the comparison of the merits of the officials eligible for promotion can be carried out not with regard to the institution as a whole, but only with regard to the DG to which those officials belong. Thus, in essence, the appellant disputes the General Court’s assessment, set out in paragraph 50 of the judgment under appeal, that the appointing authority did not make a manifest error of assessment in finding, having regard to the responsibilities in question and the performance in the exercise of their respective duties, that the appellant’s merits were not as good as those of two officials from directorates-general other than the DG for IT.

22      That complaint cannot be upheld.

23      It is clear from the wording of Article 45(1) of the Staff Regulations, read in conjunction with Article 5(8) of the GIP, that, in a promotion procedure, the appointing authority is required to make its choice on the basis of a comparative examination of the merits of the officials eligible for promotion, such an examination having to be extended to all officials eligible for promotion, regardless of the duties they perform. Such a requirement is an expression both of the principle of equal treatment of officials and of the principle that they are entitled to reasonable career prospects. Those principles would be undermined if that examination were limited solely to officials eligible for promotion within the same DG.

24      It follows that the General Court did not err in law in holding, in paragraph 50 of the judgment under appeal, that the appointing authority could, in its comparative examination of the merits, legitimately compare the appellant’s merits with those of officials from directorates-general other than the DG for IT.

25      By the second complaint of the first part of his first ground of appeal, the appellant alleges distortion of the evidence, on the ground that it cannot be inferred from the staff reports produced that he had been subject to ‘fairly strong criticism’.

26      According to the settled case-law of the Court of Justice, it is apparent from Article 256(1) TFEU and the first paragraph of Article 58 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union that an appeal is to be limited to points of law and that the General Court therefore has exclusive jurisdiction to find and appraise the relevant facts and to assess the evidence. The assessment of the facts and evidence does not, save where the facts or evidence are distorted, constitute a point of law, which is subject, as such, to review by the Court of Justice on appeal. Such a distortion must be obvious from the documents on the Court’s file, without there being any need to carry out a new assessment of the facts and evidence (judgment of 10 July 2019, VG v Commission, C‑19/18 P, EU:C:2019:578, paragraph 47 and the case-law cited).

27      Where an appellant alleges distortion of the evidence by the General Court, he or she must, under Article 256 TFEU, the first paragraph of Article 58 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union and Article 168(1)(d) of the Rules of Procedure of the Court of Justice, indicate precisely the evidence alleged to have been distorted by the General Court and show the errors of appraisal which, in his or her view, led to such distortion (judgment of 10 July 2019, VG v Commission, C‑19/18 P, EU:C:2019:578, paragraph 48 and the case-law cited).

28      In the present case, the appellant, after citing, in paragraph 21 of his appeal, a passage from his 2016 staff report which, in his view, could be the only passage referred to in paragraph 50 of the judgment under appeal, merely states, in paragraph 22 of his appeal, that it cannot be inferred from that passage that he had been subject to ‘fairly strong criticism’ and that to state that his work as project manager was the subject of such criticism ‘is a bit too exaggerated with regard to the contents of the reports and even with respect to the assessment made of that work by the [Commission] in the proceedings acts’. First, it is in no way apparent from paragraph 50 of the judgment under appeal that the General Court based its assessment that the appellant’s work as project manager had been subject to ‘fairly strong criticism’ solely on that passage. Secondly, even if the examination to be carried out in that regard had to focus on the passage in question, it should be noted that the appellant has not established that, by interpreting the remark that, ‘as already reported for the past two years, [the appellant’s assignment] requires that he invests further in the management of his project, including team and stakeholder management’ as being a fairly strong criticism, the General Court’s interpretation of that passage was manifestly incorrect.

29      The second complaint of the first part of the first ground of appeal must therefore be rejected.

30      By the third complaint of the first part of the first ground of appeal, the appellant submits that the position set out in his reply to the defence before the General Court was not taken into consideration, which constitutes an infringement of the rights of the defence.

31      In that regard, it must be recalled that, in the context of the appeal, the purpose of review by the Court of Justice is, inter alia, to consider whether the General Court addressed, to the requisite legal standard, all the arguments raised by the appellant (judgment of 25 June 2020, Commission v CX, C‑131/19 P, not published, EU:C:2020:502, paragraph 33 and the case-law cited).

32      Furthermore, the ground of appeal alleging that the General Court failed to address the arguments raised at first instance amounts, in essence, to pleading infringement of the obligation to state reasons arising from Article 36 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union, applicable to the General Court by virtue of the first paragraph of Article 53 of that statute, and Articles 117 and 119 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Court (see, to that effect, judgment of 25 June 2020, Commission v CX, C‑131/19 P, not published, EU:C:2020:502, paragraph 34 and the case-law cited).

33      It is also apparent from the settled case-law of the Court of Justice that the obligation to state reasons does not require the General Court to provide an account which follows exhaustively and one by one all the arguments put forward by the parties to the case, and that the General Court’s reasoning may therefore be implicit, on condition that it enables the persons concerned to know why the General Court has not upheld their arguments and provides the Court of Justice with sufficient material for it to exercise its power of review (judgment of 25 June 2020, Commission v CX, C‑131/19 P, not published, EU:C:2020:502, paragraph 35 and the case-law cited).

34      In the present case, the General Court, in paragraph 50 of the judgment under appeal, held that the appointing authority could not be criticised for having committed a manifest error of assessment in finding that, having regard to the responsibilities in question and the performance in the exercise of their respective duties, the appellant’s merits were not as good as those of two other promoted officials.

35      Since, in the relevant paragraphs of his reply, the appellant merely put forward reasons to explain why he had not been able to meet the expectations of his managers, it must be held that such arguments were irrelevant for the purposes of the comparative assessment of the appellant’s merits with those of the other officials eligible for promotion. Since the General Court does not have, in accordance with the case-law referred to in paragraph 33 of the present judgment, the obligation to adopt a specific position on such arguments, their rejection must be regarded as implicit.

36      In those circumstances, the third complaint of the first part of the first ground of appeal and the first part in its entirety must be rejected.

 The second part

–       Arguments of the parties

37      The appellant submits that the General Court infringed his rights of defence on the ground that, in paragraphs 23 to 30, 41 and 50 to 53 of the judgment under appeal, it did not take into account the information he disclosed in his letter of 21 March 2019 and in his replies to the General Court’s questions of 22 November 2019.

38      In particular, in the judgment under appeal, the General Court focused on a comparison with extracts from staff reports concerning promoted officials who, for the most part, were never compared with the appellant during the promotion procedure because they were not from the same DG as the appellant and did not appeal to the Joint Promotion Committee.

39      The Commission disputes that line of argument.

–       Findings of the Court

40      As regards the alleged infringement of the rights of the defence resulting from the failure to take into account the arguments allegedly raised by the appellant in the proceedings before the General Court, it has been pointed out in paragraph 32 of the present judgment that the ground of appeal alleging a failure by the General Court to address arguments put forward at first instance amounts, in essence, to pleading an infringement of the obligation to state reasons arising from Article 36 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union, applicable to the General Court by virtue of the first paragraph of Article 53 of that statute and Articles 117 and 119 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Court.

41      Moreover, it should also be borne in mind that the obligation to state reasons laid down in Article 296 TFEU is an essential procedural requirement which must be distinguished from the question whether the reasoning is well founded, which is concerned with the substantive legality of the measure at issue. The reasoning of a decision consists in a formal statement of the grounds on which that decision is based. If those grounds are vitiated by errors, the latter will vitiate the substantive legality of the decision, but not the statement of reasons in it, which may be adequate even though it sets out reasons which are incorrect. It follows that objections and arguments intended to establish that a measure is not well founded are irrelevant in the context of a ground of appeal alleging an inadequate statement of reasons or a lack of such a statement (judgment of 18 June 2015, Ipatau v Council, C‑535/14 P, EU:C:2015:407, paragraph 37 and the case-law cited).

42      In that regard, it should be noted, in the first place, that, in his letter of 21 March 2019, the appellant stated, in response to a request from the General Court, that he did not wish to request a hearing. In that letter, the appellant also provided the General Court with certain factual information intended to provide it with clarification as to the level of responsibility for the purposes of the comparison of the merits.

43      Apart from the fact that it was not for the General Court specifically to express a view in the judgment under appeal on the arguments put forward by the appellant for the purposes of his request for a hearing, it is clear that, in paragraphs 46 to 56 of the judgment under appeal, the General Court specifically expressed a view on the comparison of the appellant’s merits with those of the promoted officials.

44      In the second place as regards the information communicated by the appellant by letter of 22 November 2019 in reply to the General Court’s questions, it is clear that, in paragraph 48 of the judgment under appeal, the General Court noted, first, that ‘in his observations on the Commission’s reply, the [appellant] did not dispute that the merits of the officials thus identified justified their promotion in the 2017 promotion procedure, but stated that the duties and levels of responsibility of, in particular, two of those officials were no greater than his and that the knowledge, competences and skills required depend on the tasks to be performed’.

45      Secondly, in paragraphs 49 to 54 of the judgment under appeal, the General Court assessed the appellant’s specific complaints challenging the validity of the comparative examination of his merits with those of the promoted officials identified.

46      It follows that the judgment under appeal is, in that regard, reasoned to the requisite legal standard.

47      Moreover, even if, by this part of the first ground of appeal, the appellant is alleging an error of law in that the General Court did not find fault with the Commission on account of the comparison of the appellant’s merits with those of officials who were not part of the same DG, suffice it to state that such a complaint is indissociable from the first complaint put forward in the first part of the first ground of appeal and must be rejected on the same grounds.

48      In the light of the foregoing considerations, the second part of the first ground of appeal and the first ground of appeal in its entirety must be rejected.

 The second ground of appeal

 Arguments of the parties

49      By his second ground of appeal, directed against paragraphs 60, 61 and 65 of the judgment under appeal, the appellant alleges that the reasoning of the judgment under appeal is inadequate and contradictory.

50      The appellant submits, in the first place, that, in paragraph 60 of the judgment under appeal, the General Court held that the decision rejecting the complaint gave important indications as to why the appointing authority had decided not to promote him. However, that decision, in order to substantiate the argument put forward, contained extracts concerning promoted officials who were not part of the DG for IT and who did not appeal to the Joint Promotion Committee. Furthermore, as regards paragraph 61 of the judgment under appeal, since the reports of seven officials from that DG promoted to grade AST 9 were submitted only at the end of the procedure, at the express request of the General Court, that court’s finding that ‘the [appellant] was unable to clarify and further substantiate his complaints seeking a finding that the appointing authority made manifest errors of assessment or that it did not treat him equally in the comparative examination of merits’ is difficult to understand.

51      In the second place, the appellant complains that the General Court, in paragraph 65 of the judgment under appeal, held that he had failed ‘to explain to what extent the second plea alleges unlawfulness other than that already relied on in the first plea’. In that regard, the appellant points out that his arguments before the General Court were based on the fact that, neither in the decision rejecting the complaint nor in its defence at first instance, had the Commission submitted the relevant natural evidence establishing that a comparative examination of the merits had been conducted fairly.

52      The Commission considers that the first complaint raised in the second ground of appeal is unfounded. The second complaint of that ground of appeal is inadmissible and, in any event, unfounded.

 Findings of the Court

53      It should be borne in mind, first, as has already been pointed out in paragraph 41 of the present judgment, that the obligation to state reasons laid down in Article 296 TFEU is an essential procedural requirement that must be distinguished from the question whether the reasoning is well founded, which goes to the substantive legality of the measure at issue. The appellant, by the arguments raised in support of the first complaint of his second ground of appeal, far from claiming that there was a failure to state reasons in respect of paragraphs 60 and 61 of the judgment under appeal, seeks in reality to challenge the conclusion of the General Court that the appointing authority was entitled, in its comparative examination of the merits, to compare the appellant’s merits with those of officials from directorates-general other than the DG for IT. That line of argument therefore overlaps with that put forward by the appellant in support of his first ground of appeal, to which, moreover, he expressly refers in support of the first complaint of his second ground of appeal.

54      Since, as the Court pointed out in paragraph 24 of the present judgment, the General Court did not err in law in holding, in the judgment under appeal, that the appointing authority could, in its comparative examination of the merits, legitimately compare the appellant’s merits with those of officials from directorates-general other than the DG for IT, the appellant’s arguments relating to paragraphs 60 and 61 of that judgment cannot therefore succeed.

55      Secondly, concerning the possible existence of contradictory reasoning, it should be noted that the appellant simply claims that the last part of paragraph 61 of the judgment under appeal is difficult to understand. However, in paragraph 61, the General Court merely found that its conclusion that the Commission had not infringed its obligation to state reasons, despite the fact that certain additional information had been submitted only during the proceedings at first instance, was confirmed by the fact that, even on the basis of that additional information, the appellant had not been able to clarify and further substantiate his complaints seeking a finding that there were manifest errors of assessment or unequal treatment with regard to him in the comparative examination of the merits. The appellant has not shown how, in drawing that conclusion, the General Court’s reasoning was contradictory.

56      It follows that the first complaint of the second ground of appeal must be rejected as unfounded.

57      As regards the second complaint of that ground of appeal, concerning paragraph 65 of the judgment under appeal, it is sufficient to note that the appellant merely states, without further explanation, that the assessment by the General Court of his second plea is vitiated by the same defects as the assessment of his first plea or, at the very least, by contradictory reasoning.

58      According to the settled case-law of the Court of Justice, it follows from Article 256 TFEU, the first paragraph of Article 58 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union and Article 168(1)(d) and Article 169 of the Rules of Procedure of the Court of Justice that an appeal must state precisely the contested elements of the judgment or order which the appellant seeks to have set aside and also the legal arguments specifically advanced in support of the appeal, failing which the appeal concerned is inadmissible (order of 24 November 2016, Petraitis v Commission, C‑137/16 P, not published, EU:C:2016:904, paragraph 16).

59      In the absence of any indication or detail in that regard, the second complaint of the second ground of appeal is inadmissible.

60      In the light of all the foregoing considerations, the second ground of appeal must be rejected as in part inadmissible and in part unfounded, and the appeal must be dismissed in its entirety.

 Costs

61      Pursuant to Article 184(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the Court of Justice, where the appeal is unfounded, the Court is to make a decision as to the costs.

62      Under Article 138(1) of those rules, applicable to appeal proceedings by virtue of Article 184(1) thereof, the unsuccessful party is to be ordered to pay the costs if they have been applied for in the successful party’s pleadings.

63      Since the Commission has applied for costs and YG has been unsuccessful, he must be ordered to bear his own costs and to pay those incurred by the Commission.

On those grounds, the Court (Seventh Chamber) hereby:

1.      Dismisses the appeal;

2.      Orders YG to pay the costs.

Ziemele

Xuereb

Kumin

Delivered in open court in Luxembourg on 13 January 2022.

A. Calot Escobar

 

K. Lenaerts

Registrar

 

President


*      Language of the case: English.

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