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Showing 1 - 20 of 378 results

Recommendation on issues related to how the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) communicates with citizens in relation to its access to documents portal (Joined Cases 1261/2020 and 1361/2020)

Tuesday | 21 June 2022

The case concerned primarily Frontex’s decision not to communicate any more by email with applicants who request public access to documents. Frontex obliges citizens to use its online access portal. This causes a number of unnecessary problems for individual applicants as well as for transparency platforms that civil society organisations have set up to help further the EU’s aim of working as openly as possible. 

The Ombudsman could not find justifications for Frontex’s decision. She therefore issues a recommendation that Frontex should allow applicants to communicate with it by email, in full and without resort to its current access to documents portal.

The Ombudsman moreover suggests that Frontex should dedicate the resources that are required for handling the large number of access requests that it is likely to receive on a regular basis going forward.

Decision on how the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) carried out a selection procedure for the position of legal officer (case 1818/2021/FA)

Friday | 20 May 2022

The case concerned how the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) carried out a selection procedure for the position of legal officer and assessed the complainant’s application.

The Ombudsman found nothing to suggest a procedural error or a manifest error in how the selection board assessed the complainant’s application and therefore closed the case with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision on how the European Investment Bank discloses environmental information in relation to projects that it finances directly (case 1065/2020/PB)

Thursday | 21 April 2022

The case concerned the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) practice regarding the publication of environmental information for projects that it finances directly. The complainants, three civil society organisations, were concerned that, by publishing too little environmental information about these projects and too late in the process, the EIB prevents the public from fully expressing its views on environmental issues before the EIB takes its decision to finance projects.

The obligation to publish environmental information originates in the Aarhus Convention, an international convention that ensures access to information, public participation in decision making and access to justice in environmental matters. It binds the EU, its institutions and the signatory states. The Ombudsman found that the far-reaching objectives underpinning the Aarhus legislation required a more ambitious approach on the part of the EIB to its disclosure practices. She made a series of suggestions to this effect.

The EIB agreed to implement some of the suggestions. It rejected others on grounds that the Ombudsman considered reasonable. For some of the suggestions to which the EIB did not agree, the Ombudsman continues to believe that it would be in the public interest for the EIB to implement these changes. As such, she reiterates those suggestions in this decision.

While the inquiry was ongoing, the EIB revised its internal transparency rules and other related practices. The Ombudsman also made changes to how she will deal, in future, with transparency-related complaints against the EIB. These changes may give effect to some further suggestions made by the Ombudsman and this will be determined on the basis of future complaints.

The Ombudsman therefore closed the case on the basis that further inquiries would not be justified at this point in time. She invites the EIB to reply within six months to the suggestions for improvement listed at the end of the decision.

Decision on how the European Investment Bank discloses environmental information about projects it finances through intermediaries (case 1251/2020/PB)

Thursday | 21 April 2022

The case concerned the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) practice regarding the publication of environmental information for projects that it finances indirectly through intermediaries. The complainants, three civil society organisations, were concerned that, by publishing too little environmental information about these projects, the EIB prevents the public from fully expressing its views on environmental issues with a view to influencing the EIB’s financing decisions.

The Ombudsman found that the EIB neither can nor should seek to hold and publish all environmental information related to projects financed through intermediaries. Improvement should instead be achieved through additional obligations on financing intermediaries. The Ombudsman made related suggestions to address this, as well as additional practical suggestions.

The EIB agreed to implement some of the Ombudsman’s suggestions but otherwise concluded that its main practices suffice. For some of the suggestions to which the EIB did not agree, the Ombudsman believes that it would be in the public interest for the EIB to implement these changes. As such, she reiterated those suggestions and has closed the case.

Decision on the refusal of the European Investment Bank to grant public access to the minutes of Management Committee meetings (case 1252/2020/PB)

Thursday | 21 April 2022

The case concerned a refusal by the EIB to grant a civil society organisation public access to minutes of meetings of its Management Committee at which the possible co-financing of a biomass power generation plant in Spain was discussed (‘Curtis Biomass Power Generation Plant’).

The Ombudsman found that the EIB had not given adequate reasons for refusing to grant access to the minutes. The Ombudsman therefore made a proposal for solution that the EIB grant access to the minutes of the meetings in question.

The EIB replied that it had fully respected the applicable principles and rules. However, it disclosed limited parts of the minutes that concerned the Spanish biomass project.

The Ombudsman invited the EIB to reconsider its approach to requests for public access to such minutes and asked it to inform the Ombudsman within six months of changes to its approach. She closed the case on this basis.