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How the European Commission dealt with a request for public access to documents concerning the European Defence Industrial Development Programme

The complainant sought public access to documents concerning the evaluation of proposals under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), notably as regards the compliance of the proposals with international law (in particular in view of the impact of defence technologies on human rights). The European Commission refused access, invoking an exception under the EU’s rules on public access to documents, claiming that disclosing the documents could undermine the public interest as regards defence and military matters, and the protection of commercial interests.

The Ombudsman inspected a sample of the documents and found that the Commission’s assessment was reasonable. She thus closed the inquiry, finding no maladministration.