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Letter from the European Ombudsman to the European External Action Service (EEAS) on its refusal of public access to the European Peace Facility's Integrated Methodological Framework

Acting Head of Division

EEAS SG.AFFGEN.2 "Parliamentary Affairs”

European External Action Service

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

We have received a complaint against the European External Action Service (EEAS). The complaint is that the EEAS was wrong to refuse public access to two documents concerning the Integrated methodological framework for assessing and identifying the required measures and controls for assistance measures under the European Peace Facility.

We have decided to open an inquiry into this complaint.

Regulation 1049/2001 states that applications for access should be handled promptly. It is in line with this principle that we also seek to deal with cases such as this as quickly as possible.

As a first step, we consider it necessary to review the documents at issue in the complainant’s request. We would be grateful if the EEAS could provide us with the following documents that the EEAS identified as falling within the scope of the request:

1. Integrated methodological framework for assessing and identifying the required measures and controls for assistance measures under the European Peace Facility, Council WK 4458/2020 REV1 dated 11 December 2020;

2. Integrated methodological framework for assessing and identifying the required measures and controls for assistance measures under the European Peace Facility, Council WK 4458/2020 REV2 dated 16 December 2020.

The documents should be sent preferably in electronic format through encrypted e-mail, by 25 January 2022.

The documents subject to the public access request will be treated confidentially, along with any other material the EEAS chooses to share with us that it marks confidential. Documents of this kind will be handled and stored in line with this confidential status and will be deleted from the Ombudsman’s files shortly after the inquiry has ended.

The EEAS’s position has been set out in its confirmatory response, dated 21 May 2021. However, should the EEAS wish to provide additional views, to be taken into account during my inquiry, they should be provided to us within fifteen working days of receipt of this letter, that is, by 8 February 2022.

If you consider that it would be helpful to schedule a meeting between the EEAS and the Ombudsman’s inquiry team to discuss this case, please contact the inquiries officer responsible for this inquiry, Mr Nicholas Hernanz, who can be reached to arrange the details of this meeting.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the inquiries officer.

Yours sincerely,

 

Rosita Hickey
Director of Inquiries

Strasbourg, 20/01/2022