You have a complaint
against an EU institution or body?

Search cases

Text search

Document type

Institution concerned

Type of settlement

Case number

Language

Date range

Keywords

Or try old keywords (Before 2016)

Showing 1 - 20 of 467 results

Decision in case 1541/2018/JN on the Research Executive Agency’s refusal to provide full access to documents related to its assessment of an EU-funded project

Wednesday | 14 August 2019

The case concerned the Research Executive Agency’s handling of several requests for access to documents made in the context of its assessment of an EU-funded project. The complainant, who represents a consortium having participated in the project, was dissatisfied that the Agency disclosed only redacted versions of the documents and criticised the Agency’s procedural conduct.

The Ombudsman found that the Agency’s handling of the requests was satisfactory both as regards the procedural aspects and the justification provided for partial disclosure only.

Decision in case 2076/2018/LM on the European Commission’s refusal to grant public access to documents concerning an ‘EU Pilot’ procedure on Italy’s compliance with EU health and safety law in the workplace

Tuesday | 23 July 2019

The case concerned a request for public access to documents of the European Commission concerning an ‘EU Pilot procedure’ on Italy’s compliance with the directive on health and safety in the workplace. The Commission refused access, even though the procedure was no longer ongoing, because it was analysing infringement complaints and petitions that could lead it to reopen dialogue with the Italian government on the same issue.

The Ombudsman found that the Commission was justified in not disclosing the documents, as doing so could affect its investigation of the new complaints on the same matter. She thus closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 721/2019/MIG on the European Commission’s refusal to grant full public access to documents relating to audits of potential conflicts of interest in the Czech Republic

Tuesday | 23 July 2019

The case concerned a request for public access to documents drawn up by the European Commission concerning audits it is carrying out in the Czech Republic in relation to potential conflicts of interest. The Commission refused to make public the documents arguing that disclosure would put the successful completion of the audits at risk.

The Ombudsman inspected the documents at issue and found that the Commission was justified in refusing public access to them. She thus closed the inquiry finding no maladministration.

Decision in case 935/2018/EA on the handling of requests for public access to EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia's documents

Monday | 22 July 2019

The case concerned how the European External Action Service (EEAS) and Operation Sophia handled requests from a journalist for public access to documents relating to EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia. Operation Sophia is a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean that seeks to identify, capture and dispose of vessels used by migrant smugglers or traffickers.  Dissatisfied with the responses he received, the complainant turned to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman held a meeting with EEAS representatives and contacted Operation Sophia. The Ombudsman found that the EEAS handled the requests for access to documents properly. The Ombudsman noted that Operation Sophia is not itself an EU body, and is not formally subject to EU access to documents rules. However, the Ombudsman is reassured that Operation Sophia has recognised the importance of having a transparency policy and has now decided to adopt a policy for dealing with access to documents requests. Choosing to take such a position will enhance trust in Operation Sophia and in the EU. The Ombudsman suggests that the EEAS circulate the policy to other civilian and military missions and operations, and urge them to adopt similar rules.

Decision in case 925/2019/MIG on the European Commission’s refusal to grant public access to documents concerning the EU assessment of high-risk third countries in the context of the EU anti-money laundering/countering terrorist financing regime

Wednesday | 17 July 2019

The case concerned a request for public access to documents drawn up by the European Commission assessing the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing in 54 third countries. The Commission refused to make public the documents arguing that disclosure would undermine international relations, public security and the financial, monetary or economic policy of the EU.

The Ombudsman inspected the documents at issue and found that the Commission was justified in refusing access to the documents. She thus closed the inquiry finding no maladministration.

Decision in case 648/2019/MIG on the European Parliament’s refusal to grant public access to a legal opinion concerning the contractual situation of language instructors working in the European Parliament

Monday | 15 July 2019

The case concerned the European Parliament’s refusal to grant public access to a legal opinion concerning the contractual situation of language instructors working in the European Parliament on the grounds that it would undermine the protection of court proceedings and legal advice.

The Ombudsman found that the European Parliament had sufficient reason to refuse public access based on the protection of legal advice in this case.

The Ombudsman therefore closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 1823/2018/FP on the European Anti-Fraud Office’s refusal to disclose a final report on an investigation concerning the awarding of a tender in Albania

Monday | 15 July 2019

The case concerned the refusal of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) to give public access to the final report of its investigation into allegations of corruption concerning the award of a contract under an EU programme in Albania. The case was linked to a previous decision by the European Ombudsman in case 52/2017/DR.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and took the view that the requested document was no longer covered by the presumption of confidentiality at the time OLAF made its decision to refuse access. The Ombudsman therefore proposed that OLAF should review its decision refusing to grant access and consider disclosing the document at least partially.

OLAF stated that it did not accept the Ombudsman’s proposal for a solution; it maintained that it had correctly applied the general presumption of confidentiality. Nevertheless, it was also clear from OLAF’s reply to the Ombudsman’s solution proposal that it had in fact now made an adequate individual assessment of the requested document. On the basis of that individual assessment, it took the view that it was not possible to disclose the document without breaching the personal data rights of persons concerned by the investigation. Having reviewed the document, the Ombudsman agrees with this individual assessment.

The Ombudsman therefore closed the case with the conclusion that no further inquiries are now justified.

Decision in case 595/2019/TE on how the European Parliament dealt with a request for public access to documents relating to a South Africa-European Union Inter-Parliamentary Meeting

Monday | 15 July 2019

The case concerned a request for public access to documents held by the European Parliament related to the 26th South Africa-EU Inter-Parliamentary Meeting in Cape Town.

Parliament identified three documents as falling within the scope of the complainant’s request. It gave full access to one document, provided an internet link to the second document and gave partial access to the third document. Parliament argued that full public access to the third document would undermine the protection of the public interest as regards international relations. The complainant contested Parliament’s refusal to give full access to that document.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue, inspected the document and found no maladministration in Parliament’s handling of the request.

Decision in case 1632/2018/THH on the European Commission’s refusal to grant access to documents relating to infringement proceedings against the United Kingdom for the improper implementation of the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC

Monday | 01 July 2019

The case concerned access to documents held by the European Commission relating to an infringement procedure regarding the United Kingdom’s compliance with EU data protection rules.

In the course of the inquiry, the Ombudsman established that, of the ten issues originally raised with the United Kingdom, nine had been resolved.  As a result, the general presumption under EU law against disclosure no longer applied to the documents relating to those resolved issues. The Ombudsman therefore proposed that the Commission reassess the complainant’s request for public access based on an individual assessment of all the withheld documents.

The Commission did not accept the Ombudsman’s proposal for a solution. The Commission stated it had correctly applied the relevant exception and therefore saw no reason to reconsider its position.

The Ombudsman finds the decision of the Commission not to reconsider its position concerning disclosure of the documents constitutes maladministration.

Decision in case 2089/2018/TE on how the European Parliament dealt with a request for public access to an overview of business trips by Members of the European Parliament

Monday | 01 July 2019

The case concerned the way in which the European Parliament dealt with a request for public access to an overview of business trips by Members of the European Parliament. Parliament informed the complainant that no such “overview” exists.  

The EU’s rules on public access to documents apply only to documents in the possession of the institution concerned. Following a meeting with Parliament, the Ombudsman accepts Parliament’s explanations as to why it had not been able to identify any existing document as falling within the scope of the complainant’s request.

However, Parliament did not provide the complainant, when replying to his request, with any explanation as to why the requested document does not exist. The Ombudsman suggests that, in the future, Parliament should ensure that it provides appropriate explanations in such situations.