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Summary of the decision in case 1199/2016/DR on a failure to reply by the Commission to a request for review concerning public access to “Brexit” related documents

Verfügbare Sprachen :  en
  • Fall :  1199/2016/DR
    Geöffnet am 01.10.2016 - Empfehlung vom 02.12.2016 - Entscheidung vom 16.06.2017
  • Betroffene Einrichtung(en) :  Europäische Kommission

The case relates to a matter of procedure: the Commission’s failure to reply to a request for review of its decision to refuse public access to minutes of a Commission meeting concerning the February 2016 deal made between the EU and the UK in the lead-up to the “Brexit referendum” of June 2016.

After the opening of an inquiry by the Ombudsman, the Commission replied to the complainant. The Ombudsman thus considered that the Commission has settled the allegation of failure to reply. The Ombudsman however found that the failure to reply within the prescribed deadlines constituted maladministration. She therefore made appropriate recommendations to the Commission.

The Commission has partly accepted the Ombudsman’s recommendations. It has accepted the recommendations that it should always seek to ensure that it complies with the prescribed deadlines, and that it should explain to an applicant the reasons why it needs to extend the period of time to process an application, if faced with an objective need for doing so. However, the Commission has not accepted the recommendation that, in such cases, it should provide the applicant with an indication of how long it will take to process the application and inform the applicant of the time limit for lodging an appeal before the EU courts. The Ombudsman did not find the reasons put forward by the Commission convincing. She therefore closed the case with the conclusion that the Commission has only partly accepted the Ombudsman’s recommendations.