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Ombudsman to identify good practices on how the EU administration keeps records of work-related text and instant messages

The Ombudsman has written to several EU institutions and agencies to ask what measures they have in place for documenting work-related text and instant messages.

In a letter to the Commission, Council, Parliament, European Chemicals Agency, European Food Safety Authority, European Medicines Agency, Frontex and the European Central Bank, the Ombudsman noted that any decision to record information in the administration’s document management system should be dependent on its content and not on its format.

To get an overview of the current situation, the Ombudsman asked for details on the rules that are  in place when it comes to recording text and instant messages, and how these rules are implemented.

The aim is to draw up a list of good practices to help guide the EU administration on the issue.

The Ombudsman’s information request takes place in the context of discussions on the issue in several Member States - including Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland. It also follows an access to documents inquiry in 2020 related to mobile phone based messages sent in 2018 by the then European Council President to heads of state and government.

The Ombudsman has asked to receive the information by 15 November 2021.