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The European Investment Bank's failure to proactively disclose environmental and social information on projects prior to decisions on funding

The complainant, a non-governmental organisation, asked the European Investment Bank (EIB) to give public access to a document concerning environmental and social information (the Environmental and Social Data Sheet - ESDS) on a transport project in Nairobi. The EIB refused to disclose the document until after a decision had been taken to grant a loan. In doing so, it invoked an exception under the applicable rules, arguing that disclosure could undermine the ongoing decision-making process related to the project. The complainant took issue with the failure to publish this document in advance and was concerned that the EIB systematically fails to disclose such documents in advance of funding decisions.

The Ombudsman opened an inquiry and set out a series of questions to the EIB.