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Showing 1 - 20 of 225 results

Decision in case 175/2019/PL on how the European Investment Bank handled a complaint about a project it financed in Spain

Monday | 23 March 2020

The case concerned the time it was taking the European Investment Bank (EIB) to investigate a complaint about irregularities in a project called “Castilla y León Climate Change”, which the Bank financed.

In the course of the inquiry, the EIB informed the Ombudsman that it had concluded the investigation.

The Ombudsman finds that the time it took the EIB to investigate the matter was reasonable considering the complexity of the issue. Thus, the Ombudsman closes the inquiry finding that there was no maladministration.

Decision in case 194/2019/TM on how the European Commission is dealing with an infringement complaint about a motorway in Bulgaria that may infringe EU environmental law

Tuesday | 10 March 2020

The case concerned the European Commission’s handling of an infringement complaint against Bulgaria. The complainant is concerned about the approval of EU funding for a motorway linking Budapest, Sofia and Thessaloniki. In its view, the part of the motorway that will pass through a Natura 2000 protected site in Bulgaria risks infringing EU environmental law. The complainant took issue with the Commission’s delay in taking a decision on the infringement complaint.

The Ombudsman concluded that the time it is taking the Commission to reach a decision is justified by the specific circumstances of the case and closed her inquiry finding no maladministration. She asked, however, that the Commission keep the complainant informed about progress on the file.

Decision in case 452/2018/AMF on the European Commission’s failure to disclose information on the existence of EU Pilot dialogues and to publish proactively Member State reports on the implementation of the Fisheries Control Regulation

Monday | 16 December 2019

The case concerned a refusal by the European Commission to give an environmental NGO general information about discussions between the Commission and Member States regarding their potential non-compliance with the EU’s Fisheries Control Regulation. The complainant also asked the Commission to publish proactively Member State reports on how they implemented the Fisheries Control Regulation.

The Ombudsman found that the Commission was wrong not to provide the complainant with the information it requested and made a recommendation in that regard. The Ombudsman also suggested that the Commission proactively publish Member State reports on the implementation of the Fisheries Control Regulation. The Commission accepted the Ombudsman´s suggestion but rejected the Ombudsman´s recommendation.

The Ombudsman therefore closed the inquiry with a finding of maladministration.

Decision in case 2142/2018/EWM on the European Commission’s refusal to grant access to Member State positions on a guidance document concerning the risk assessment of pesticides on bees

Tuesday | 03 December 2019

The complainant, an environmental NGO, made a request for public access to documents containing the positions taken by Member States in a committee dealing with the risk assessment of how pesticides affect bees. The Commission refused access to the documents. It argued that its rules of procedure require that the positions of individual Member States not be disclosed and that public disclosure of Member States’ positions would prevent Member States from frankly expressing their views.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the Commission was wrong to refuse access to the documents. She considered that the documents, should benefit from the wider public access granted to ‘legislative documents’. Moreover, she considered that wider public access was needed as the documents contain environmental information. She thus recommended that the Commission disclose the documents.

The Commission has chosen not to follow the Ombudsman’s recommendation. This is disappointing. Transparent decision-making regarding procedures which are of general interest and application is a cornerstone of democracy. This is all the more important when the decision-making relates to the protection of the environment.

The Ombudsman confirms that the Commission’s continued refusal to grant the complainant access to the requested documents constitutes maladministration.

Decision in case 805/2018/MIG on the European Investment Bank’s refusal to grant public access to documents regarding a loan to Volkswagen

Thursday | 28 November 2019

The case concerned the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) refusal of public access to a report and a recommendation by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and to related documents. The documents concerned a loan of EUR 400 million of public money, which the EIB had given to the automotive company Volkswagen and which had been used fraudulently by that company.

The Ombudsman found that the EIB’s refusal of public access to the OLAF report and recommendation in their entirety constituted maladministration. She considered that there was an overriding public interest in disclosing appropriately redacted versions of the documents and made a recommendation accordingly. However, the EIB did not accept the Ombudsman’s recommendation.

The Ombudsman therefore closed the inquiry, reiterating her findings.

Decision in case 1802/2019/EWM on the European Commission's refusal to provide access to a letter to Germany in an infringement procedure for non-respect of the Nitrates Directive

Thursday | 28 November 2019

The case concerned the refusal of the European Commission to grant the complainant public access to a document in an ongoing infringement procedure. The procedure concerns the implementation of the European Court of Justice’s judgment finding that Germany had infringed the Nitrates Directive.

Following an inspection of the documents, the Ombudsman confirmed that the infringement procedure was still ongoing and that the Commission’s refusal was legally justified.

The Ombudsman thus concluded that there was no maladministration on the part of the Commission and closed the case.