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Meeting request from the European Ombudsman to the European Union Satellite Centre on its refusal to give public access to documents concerning the situation at the Belarus-Poland border

Head of Legal Services

 

Dear Mr X,

On 4 February 2022, the Ombudsman opened an inquiry into the above complaint, which concerns SatCen’s refusal to grant public access to the “Latest three reports and latest map series on the Belarussian border migrant situation”.

As a first step, we had asked SatCen to provide us with a copy of its rules on public access to documents. After having reviewed SatCen’s rules we have now concluded that, for the purposes of our inquiry, it would be useful to hold a meeting with relevant representatives of SatCen to obtain some clarifications on SatCen’s confirmatory decision and its practices regarding the handling of requests for public access to documents.

It would also be useful for the inquiry team to inspect the documents at issue before the meeting. We would be grateful if SatCen could contact the responsible inquiries officer (details below) with a view to arranging that.

We would be grateful if SatCen representatives could explain in greater detail during the meeting:

  • how disclosure of the requested documents would undermine the protection of the public interest with regard to defence and military matters as well as international relations; and
  • more generally, SatCen‘s internal procedures for handling public access to document requests.

We would be grateful if your office could contact Ms Silvia Fuller,  who is in charge of this inquiry, to agree the arrangements for the meeting to take place in the week of 25 April 2022.

Information or documents that SatCen considers to be confidential will not be disclosed to the complainant or any other person without your prior agreement.[1]

Yours sincerely,

 

Rosita Hickey
Director of Inquiries

Strasbourg, 08/04/2022

 

[1] Encrypted emails can be sent to our dedicated mailbox. Information and documents of this kind will be deleted from the European Ombudsman’s files shortly after the inquiry has ended.