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Closing note on the strategic initiative on the transparency of the Eurogroup Working Group (SI/2/2019/MIG)

Tuesday | 03 December 2019

This strategic initiative concerned the transparency of the Eurogroup Working Group (EWG), which prepares Eurogroup meetings of euro area Finance Ministers. The Eurogroup President announced in September 2018 that the Eurogroup would revise its transparency policy. The Ombudsman therefore wrote to the Eurogroup President inviting him to share his views on the possibility of adopting a more ambitious approach to the transparency of the EWG.

The revised Eurogroup transparency policy, adopted in September 2019, sets out enhanced transparency measures, not only for the Eurogroup itself, but also for the EWG. This is welcome. The Eurogroup also committed itself to revising its transparency policy regularly in the future.

The Ombudsman acknowledges the progress that has been made to date and takes note of the President’s statement of the sincere effort that has been made on transparency, under existing constraints. She welcomes the decision to review the transparency policy regularly and, in this context, sets out further ideas to be considered going forward.

Decision in strategic inquiry OI/1/2019/MIG concerning the transparency of the bodies involved in preparing Eurogroup meetings

Tuesday | 03 December 2019

This strategic inquiry concerned the transparency of the three preparatory bodies that are involved in preparing Eurogroup meetings. The focus of the inquiry was on requests for public access to documents concerning the work of the Eurogroup and these preparatory bodies, which the Council of the European Union and the European Commission have received since the Eurogroup took proactive transparency measures in 2016.

The Ombudsman found that both the Council and the Commission had dealt properly with the relevant public access requests. She further noted that, in the meantime, the Eurogroup had taken steps to improve its transparency policy. This includes the plan to create an online repository of publicly available Eurogroup documents and to provide more information about citizens’ right to request documents held by the Council. Further steps have been taken to enhance the transparency of the EWG.

In view of these improvements, the Ombudsman now closes this strategic inquiry.