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Decision in case 616/2020/DL on how the European Commission dealt with a contractor that had not paid its consultants

Wednesday | 19 May 2021

The complainant worked as an expert for an external contractor to the EU Delegation to Ghana. Not having been paid for her work, the complainant turned to the Ombudsman, claiming that the EU Delegation had failed to ensure that the external contractor respects its obligations towards the experts.

The Ombudsman found that both the EU Delegation and the European Commission had acted in accordance with the applicable rules when withholding some payments under the contract. She also found that they had taken appropriate action vis-a-vis the contractor to try to resolve the situation that affected the complainant. The Ombudsman considers that the Commission has adequate mechanisms in place to monitor contractors, and she trusts the Commission will use these mechanisms to monitor the situation and to take action within its remit if needed.

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

Decision in case 1498/2019/NH on the European Parliament not sending its reply to an access to documents request by e-mail

Thursday | 28 May 2020

The case concerned the refusal by the European Parliament to send a decision refusing public access to documents by e-mail.

The Ombudsman found that Parliament’s reply to the complainant was reasonable in the given context, as the complainant had already received the decision by registered post.

The Ombudsman closed the inquiry with the conclusion that there had been no maladministration by Parliament in this case.

Decision in case 1484/2019/UNK on the European Commission’s handling of a request for full public access to drafts of an article on the copyright directive published on the Commission's website

Monday | 02 December 2019

The case concerned the European Commission’s decision to redact the names of Commission staff members from a document before granting the complainant public access to it.

The Ombudsman found that the Commission was correct to redact the names. She therefore closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.  

Decision in case 552/2018/MIG on the European Commission’s refusal of public access to documents concerning the German Network Enforcement Act

Wednesday | 20 November 2019

The case concerned a request for public access to documents held by the European Commission concerning the German Network Enforcement Act[1], a national law aimed at combating fake news on social networks.

The Ombudsman made a proposal for a solution, asking the Commission to re-consider its (partial) refusal to grant public access to the documents. The Commission did not reply within the deadline specified by the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman then made a recommendation to the Commission.

The Commission responded that it did not accept the Ombudsman’s recommendation.

The Ombudsman regrets that the Commission did not follow her recommendation. She maintains her findings of maladministration.


[1] In German the “Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz”,

Decision in case 1731/2018/FP on the refusal by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency to grant public access to the documents submitted by a public undertaking for a funding approval in the context of a call for proposals by the Connecting Europe Facility

Friday | 04 October 2019

The case concerned the refusal by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) to grant public access to documents submitted by a national cybersecurity authority that was seeking funding from INEA.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and proposed that INEA should partially disclose the requested documents, redacting only information that it considers to be genuinely commercially sensitive or personal data.

INEA rejected the Ombudsman’s proposal, arguing that most of the information that could be disclosed was already in the public domain and the proposed partial disclosure would impose a disproportionate administrative burden on INEA. It also said that it accepted the arguments of the national cybersecurity authority regarding the likely damage disclosure would cause to its commercial interests.

The Ombudsman found INEA’s refusal to grant even partial access to the requested documents to be maladministration and recommended that INEA partially disclose the relevant Grant application.

INEA rejected the Ombudsman’s recommendation. Consequently, the Ombudsman now closes the case, confirming her finding of maladministration.