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How the European Commission dealt with comments from an 'interested party' about proposed national technical rules under the Technical Regulations Information Systems (TRIS) database

The case concerned a publicly-accessible database hosted by the European Commission, which lists national technical regulations that have been proposed by Member State authorities: the Technical Regulations Information Systems (TRIS) database. Interested parties may submit comments to the Commission on the proposed regulations in sectors affecting them.

The complainant took issue with the fact that, following a request by the German authorities to keep information confidential, the Commission had not published all information about proposed technical rules in the electricity sector, which Germany intended to introduce. The complainant was also dissatisfied with how the Commission had dealt with its comments on the proposed rules.

The Ombudsman found no maladministration in how the Commission dealt with the complainant’s comments. However, she suggested that the Commission provide clearer information on what those who submit comments on proposed regulations can expect from the Commission. She also urged the Commission to carefully monitor what information Member State authorities request to be kept confidential, and to take necessary measures if it suspects abuse of this confidentiality provision.

The Commission responded positively to the Ombudsman’s suggestions.