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Showing 1 - 20 of 214 results

Decision on the European External Action Service's refusal to grant public access to documents concerning the EU's Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories (case 2051/2021/MIG)

Monday | 07 March 2022

The case concerned a request for public access to documents relating to a civilian EU mission in the Palestinian Territories. The EEAS identified six documents as falling under the scope of the complainant’s access request and refused access. In doing so, it invoked exceptions under the EU legislation on public access to documents, arguing that disclosing the documents could undermine the public interest as regards public security and international relations.

The Ombudsman inquiry team inspected the documents at issue and obtained additional, confidential explanations from the EEAS. Based on this and considering the wide margin of discretion that EU institutions enjoy where they consider that public security and international relations are at risk, the Ombudsman found that the EEAS’s decision to refuse access was not manifestly wrong. Given that the public interest at stake cannot be superseded by another public interest that is deemed more important, the Ombudsman therefore closed the case finding no maladministration.

Decision on the European Commission’s decision to recover grants paid under EU funded projects carried out by a national police authority (case 1733/2020/LM)

Monday | 11 October 2021

The complainant, a national police force, received two grants from the European Commission for projects to fight transnational crime, which it carried out successfully. Following audits of the projects, the Commission found that a big part of the costs were ineligible mainly due to the lack of supporting documents. The Commission therefore decided to recover a considerable part of the grants. The complainant turned to the Ombudsman arguing that the decision was disproportionate and that the Commission had not shown flexibility. The complainant considered that the Commission should have allowed it more time to send additional supporting documents and that it should have done another audit.

The Ombudsman found that it was reasonable for the Commission to conclude that the complainant had violated its contractual obligations under the ‘grant agreement’. The Commission had acted in accordance with EU financial rules and given the complainant ample opportunity to provide comments and submit additional supporting documents as proof of the costs it claimed. The Commission had also shown flexibility by agreeing to review supporting documents submitted late. The Ombudsman thus closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.