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Refusal of the European Investment Bank to grant public access to the minutes of meetings of its management committee concerning a biomass project in Spain

The case concerned the refusal by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to grant a civil society organisation public access to minutes from meetings of its Management Committee, at which the possible co-financing of a biomass power generation plant in Spain was discussed.

The Ombudsman found that the EIB had not given adequate reasons for refusing to grant access to the minutes. While the inquiry was ongoing, the Ombudsman therefore made a proposal for solution that the EIB grant access to the minutes of the meetings in question.

The EIB replied that it had fully respected the applicable principles and rules. However, it disclosed to the complainant parts of the minutes that concerned the Spanish biomass project.

Based on the inquiry, the Ombudsman invited the EIB to reconsider its approach to requests for public access to such minutes and asked it to inform the Ombudsman within six months of changes to its approach. She closed the case on this basis.