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The European Defence Agency's (EDA) refusal to give public access to the minutes of meetings of its 'expert groups'

The complainant asked the European Defence Agency (EDA) to grant public access to the minutes of meetings of its 'expert groups'. In its reply, the EDA provided a link to information that it has made public on its work. It furthermore indicated it had identified a large number of documents as falling under the scope of the request, to which it refused access. In doing so, it invoked exceptions set out under the EU's legislation on public access to documents, in particular concerning the protection of defence and military matters.

During the inquiry, the Ombudsman inquiry team inspected a random sample of the documents in question, given the substantial amount of documents concerned. The inspection confirmed that the EDA was justified in withholding the inspected documents, based on the exceptions it invoked. The Ombudsman therefore found that there was no maladministration by the EDA. However, she made a suggestion to the EDA for how to better deal with future requests for public access involving a large volume of documents.