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Letter from the European Ombudsman to the European Parliament regarding a short guide for the EU administration on policies and practices to give effect to the right of public access to documents (SI/7/2021/DL)

Mr David-Maria Sassoli


European Parliament


Dear Mr President,

Transparency is a core priority that guides my work and that of my Office. Ensuring that individuals can exercise the right of public access to documents is essential for enhancing transparency, thereby strengthening public trust in the EU. To this end, it is crucial that the EU administration has comprehensive and user-friendly rules and practices in place to give effect to this right.

Over the years, my Office has dealt with many complaints concerning public access. Our experience in this field allowed us to identify areas in the EU administration where improvements could be made. Drawing on this, I have produced a short guide for the EU administration, setting out policies and practices to give effect to this important right. This guide covers what I consider to be good administrative practice in this area, and my Office will draw on it in dealing with complaints concerning access to documents.

I would encourage you to share this guide with your staff. By applying these practices and policies, EU institutions can help to avoid maladministration and to create a space and means for citizens to best exercise this right. In applying this guide, I encourage you also to take into account my practical recommendations for the EU administration on the use of EU languages in communicating with the public[1].

Please note that I am writing to the heads of all EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies to share the guide with them.

May I also take the opportunity to share information about the conference “Access to EU documents: what next?” that I am hosting on 15 November 2021 in Brussels. The programme and information on how to register for the conference are available on my Office’s website[2].

Yours sincerely,

Emily O'Reilly
European Ombudsman

Strasbourg, 27/10/2021




A short guide for the EU administration on policies and practices to give effect to the right of public access to documents (SI/7/2021/DL)


The same letter has been sent to the following institutions and agencies:

European Commission
European Parliament
The Council of the EU
The European Council
Court of Justice of the EU
Court of Auditors 
European Economic and Social Committee
Committee of the Regions
European Central Bank
European Investment Fund
European Investment Bank
European Data Protection Board
European Data Protection Supervisor
European Labour Authority
EULEX Kosovo
Innovative Medicines Initiatives (IMI)
European Union Intellectual Propery Office (EUIPO)
Publications Office
EU agency for the Cooperation of Energy regulators (ACER)
Agency for Support to BEREC
Single Resolution Board
Translation Centre for bodies of the EU
European Union Agency for Law Enforcement training (CEPOL)
Community plant variety office (CPVO)
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
European Asylum Support Office (EASO)
European Banking Authority (EBA)
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
European CHemcials Agency (ECHA)
European Environemnt Agency (EEA)
European Agency for operational managament of large-scale information systems (EU-lisa)
European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA)
Euroepan Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
European Institute for General Equality (EIGE)
European Insurance and occupational pensiosn authiorty (EIOPA)
Euroepan Medicines Agency (EMA)
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug addiction (EMCDDA)
European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA)
European Agency for Cibersecurity (ENISA)
Euroepan securities and markets authority (ESMA)
European training foundation (ETF)
European Union agency for railways (ERA)
The EU agency for criminal justice cooperation (Eurojust-
European healht and digital executive agency (hadea)
European Union agency for fundamental rights (FRA)
European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex)
European Union Agency for the Spacye Programme
Eurpean Agency for Safety and Health at Work (osha)
European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)
Fusion for Energy (F4E)
Euratom Supply Agency (ESA)
Euroepan Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA)
European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA)
European Reserach Exectuive Agency (REA)
European Cliamte, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA)
European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA)
European Defence Agency (EDA)
European Union Institute for Security Studies (ISS)
European Union Satellite Centre (SATCEN)
Bio-based industries joint undertaking (BBI)
Clean sky joint undertaking
Computer emergency response team (CERT_EU)