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Ombudsman publishes overview of responses to public consultation on environmental decision making

Respondents to the Ombudsman’s public consultation on the transparency of EU environmental decision making have raised a number of concerns around access to information and participation by civil society.

The 18 respondents - the vast majority from civil society organisations - identified a series of issues that make it difficult for them to follow or contribute to decision-making processes. These include the late publication of information such as agendas, a lack of transparency around lobbying, and difficulties in accessing information about ‘trilogue’ discussions between the European Parliament, Council, and Commission on draft legislation.

Concerns were also raised about how the EU institutions deal with access to documents requests, and the difficulties in obtaining information related to certain EU funds, such as those managed by the European Investment Bank, or funding with an environmental impact, such as under the Common Agricultural Policy.

On the involvement of civil society in policy-making, respondents suggested the Commission should share preliminary positions on policies and legislation, and asked for greater transparency about who participates in public consultations.

The consultation took place between September and December 2022.