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Summary of the decision in case 1708/2015/MH on the European Commission’s refusal to grant public access to documents on the use of GMOs as food or feed

This complaint, made by Greenpeace, concerns the European Commission's refusal to grant full public access to four documents, which the Commission took into account when preparing its proposal to amend EU legislation on the use of GMOs as food or feed.

The Commission refused access to three documents in their entirety and withheld parts of a fourth document, relying on the exceptions protecting the decision-making process. The Ombudsman found that the Commission had failed to justify properly its refusal. She therefore recommended that the Commission disclose all the documents in full.

The Commission did not follow the Ombudsman’s recommendation, on the basis that its original decision was legally correct at the time. The Ombudsman regrets that the Commission did not follow her recommendation. She confirms her view that the Commission’s continued refusal to give full access to the documents constitutes maladministration.