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Decision in case 439/2021/OAM on the European Commission's refusal to give public access to documents concerning an EU pilot procedure related to a possible infringement of the Habitats Directive by Czechia

Tuesday | 04 May 2021

The case concerned the Commission’s refusal to give access to documents related to an EU pilot procedure concerning Czechia’s compliance with a number of provisions under the Habitats Directive.

After receiving confirmation from the Commission that the EU pilot procedure was ongoing, the Ombudsman found that the decision not to disclose the respective documents was in line with the applicable rules on public access to documents.

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

Decision in case 989/2020/AMF on the European Commission's handling of two infringement complaints concerning fishing practices in the Netherlands

Monday | 25 January 2021

The case concerned the Commission´s handling of two infringement complaints against the Netherlands in relation to the use of electrical pulse current by fishing vessels with beam trawls. The complainant’s main concern is that pulse fishing poses a systemic threat to the survival of marine ecosystems and the coastal communities that depend on them.

The Commission explained to the complainant why it considered that there was no infringement of EU law and informed it of its intention to close the cases.

The Commission enjoys a wide margin of discretion in deciding whether to open an infringement procedure against a Member State. While the Ombudsman acknowledged the importance of the matter raised by the complainant, she found that there was no maladministration in how the Commission had explained its actions in this case. As the Commission had also justified the delay in providing certain explanations to the complainant, the Ombudsman found no grounds to justify further inquiries into this aspect of the case.