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Affichage 1 - 20 des 230 résultats

Decision in case 2142/2018/EWM on the European Commission’s refusal to grant access to Member State positions on a guidance document concerning the risk assessment of pesticides on bees

Mardi | 03 décembre 2019

The complainant, an environmental NGO, made a request for public access to documents containing the positions taken by Member States in a committee dealing with the risk assessment of how pesticides affect bees. The Commission refused access to the documents. It argued that its rules of procedure require that the positions of individual Member States not be disclosed and that public disclosure of Member States’ positions would prevent Member States from frankly expressing their views.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the Commission was wrong to refuse access to the documents. She considered that the documents, should benefit from the wider public access granted to ‘legislative documents’. Moreover, she considered that wider public access was needed as the documents contain environmental information. She thus recommended that the Commission disclose the documents.

The Commission has chosen not to follow the Ombudsman’s recommendation. This is disappointing. Transparent decision-making regarding procedures which are of general interest and application is a cornerstone of democracy. This is all the more important when the decision-making relates to the protection of the environment.

The Ombudsman confirms that the Commission’s continued refusal to grant the complainant access to the requested documents constitutes maladministration.

Decision in case 805/2018/MIG on the European Investment Bank’s refusal to grant public access to documents regarding a loan to Volkswagen

Jeudi | 28 novembre 2019

The case concerned the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) refusal of public access to a report and a recommendation by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and to related documents. The documents concerned a loan of EUR 400 million of public money, which the EIB had given to the automotive company Volkswagen and which had been used fraudulently by that company.

The Ombudsman found that the EIB’s refusal of public access to the OLAF report and recommendation in their entirety constituted maladministration. She considered that there was an overriding public interest in disclosing appropriately redacted versions of the documents and made a recommendation accordingly. However, the EIB did not accept the Ombudsman’s recommendation.

The Ombudsman therefore closed the inquiry, reiterating her findings.

Decision in case 1802/2019/EWM on the European Commission's refusal to provide access to a letter to Germany in an infringement procedure for non-respect of the Nitrates Directive

Jeudi | 28 novembre 2019

The case concerned the refusal of the European Commission to grant the complainant public access to a document in an ongoing infringement procedure. The procedure concerns the implementation of the European Court of Justice’s judgment finding that Germany had infringed the Nitrates Directive.

Following an inspection of the documents, the Ombudsman confirmed that the infringement procedure was still ongoing and that the Commission’s refusal was legally justified.

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

Decision in case 1404/2019/FP on how the European Commission dealt with a request for public access to a letter of formal notice concerning an infringement procedure against France on the non-compliance with the transposition of Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information

Vendredi | 04 octobre 2019

The case concerned the refusal of the European Commission to grant the complainant public access to the Commission’s letter of formal notice in an infringement proceeding against France.

In the course of her inquiry, the Ombudsman found that the Commission’s decision was in line with the applicable rules on 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 349/2019/MMO on the European Commission’s alleged mismanagement of an EU funded environmental project in Turkey

Jeudi | 26 septembre 2019

The case concerned an environmental project funded by the European Union in Turkey. The complainant was employed to work on the project but he left early as he considered that there were shortcomings in its implementation. He subsequently claimed that he was not paid for two months work. He tried to raise those issues with the European Commission but received no substantive response.

In the course of the Ombudsman’s inquiry, the Commission replied to the complainant. The complainant found the reply to be reasonable. The Ombudsman concluded that the Commission had taken concrete action to ensure the sound implementation and effective monitoring of the project. It had also looked into the matter of the complainant not being paid.

The Ombudsman closed the inquiry finding that there was no maladministration.

Decision in case 236/2019/TE on the European Commission’s decision not to disclose documents related to the EU’s participation in the environment committee of the UN International Civil Aviation Organisation

Vendredi | 13 septembre 2019

The case concerned a refusal by the European Commission to give an MEP public access to documents submitted by the Commission to the environment technical committee of the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). ICAO develops standards and recommended practices and policies in the civil aviation sector. Many of these standards and practices are later incorporated into EU law.

The Ombudsman considers the transparency of international rule making a matter of crucial importance, particularly where such rules are subsequently incorporated into EU law and become legally binding in all Member States. This is arguably even more important in an area such as international civil aviation, given the implications for transport safety and environmental protection. The adoption of standards in such an area demands public scrutiny and, thus, transparency.

As regards the particular documents in this inquiry, the Ombudsman found, however, that the Commission was legally justified in refusing public access. At an inspection, the Ombudsman’s inquiry team confirmed that the documents were not stand-alone Commission-authored documents, but rather co-authored by the European Commission, several EU Member States and third countries. They were then submitted to ICAO as the “European position”.

In line with the EU law on public access to documents, the Commission consulted the co-authors about the request for access and a number of the non-EU countries objected to disclosure. The Ombudsman therefore considers that it was reasonable for the Commission to consider that disclosing the documents could undermine international relations, between the EU and these third countries.

The Ombudsman also accepted the Commission’s argument, in this context, that maintaining a relationship of trust with these third countries made it more likely that they would join with the EU in forming a European position at ICAO, thus strengthening the influence of the EU in ICAO.

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

Decision in case 1585/2018/MH on how the European Commission dealt with concerns raised by an Italian region about a steel plant acquisition

Lundi | 09 septembre 2019

The case is about how the European Commission dealt with concerns surrounding the acquisition of a steel plant in Italy. An Italian region complained to the Ombudsman that the Commission had not given it sufficient opportunity to raise its concerns, before approving the acquisition under the EU Merger Rules.

The Commission’s competition department had a call with the complainant before it approved the acquisition. On that call, it gave the complainant reasonable explanations about why its legal concerns were not relevant to the Commission’s assessment. It also became apparent during that call that the complainant was focussing on the environment rather than on competition matters. The Commission thus referred it to the relevant department, in line with the principles of good administration. The complainant then had the opportunity to provide that department with further information on its environmental concerns.

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