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How the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex) dealt with multiple requests for public access to documents concerning contracts with private companies

The complainant sent a series of public access requests seeking access to documents concerning contracts between the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex) and private companies, notably related to airborne surveillance (drones). As Frontex considered that dealing with the requests would entail a disproportionate workload, it asked the complainant to consider a 'fair solution', such as by dealing with the requests separately and sequentially. Dissatisfied with how Frontex was dealing with his requests, the complainant turned to the Ombudsman.

In the context of the inquiry, the Ombudsman proposed that Frontex should immediately recommence processing the complainant’s access requests, beginning with the most urgent one. She also proposed that Frontex provide the complainant with a list of all documents at issue to enable him to determine the priority of each request.

Frontex accepted the Ombudsman’s proposal, and the Ombudsman therefore closed the case, calling on Frontex to make every effort to ensure that the complainant’s requests are now processed quickly. The Ombudsman also encouraged Frontex to improve its communication with applicants when attempting to find a fair solution on how to process extensive requests.