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Decision on how the European Commission handled a complaint about how Italy transposed EU legislation on appropriate remuneration of doctors (case 1358/2020/LM)

Woensdag | 29 september 2021

The case concerned how the European Commission handled a complaint alleging that Italy has failed to fully transpose Directive 82/76/CCE on the mutual recognition of diplomas in medicine into national law. The complainant contended that the Italian legislation transposing the Directive, as well as related case law, does not guarantee appropriate remuneration for all doctors who attended training for medical specialists from 1982 to 1991.

The Ombudsman opened an inquiry asking the Commission to address in more detail the complainant’s arguments. In the course of the inquiry, the Commission set out its position that there was no breach of EU law in a clear and reasonable manner. The Ombudsman finds no manifest error by the Commission and thus closes the case with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision on the European Data Protection Board’s refusal to grant public access to the preparatory documents for its guidelines on the processing of personal data in the context of the provision of online services (case 386/2021/AMF)

Dinsdag | 07 september 2021

The complainant asked the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) for public access to all documents related to the preparation of its guidelines on the processing of personal data in the context of the provision of online services to individuals. The EDPB identified 11 documents as falling under the scope of the complainant´s request, but granted access to only parts of two of those documents. In doing so it invoked exceptions provided for in the EU's rules on public access to documents, arguing notably that disclosure would undermine its internal decision-making process.

The Ombudsman’s inquiry team inspected the relevant documents and found that wider disclosure was unlikely to seriously undermine the EDPB´s decision-making process, given that it is already in the public domain that there were dissenting voices in the process of adopting the Guidelines. The EDPB had also not explained specifically how granting access to anonymised views of its members could lead to external pressure on them.

The Ombudsman therefore made a proposal for a solution to the EDPB that it reconsider its decision on the complainant´s request with a view to granting the widest possible access to the identified documents. 

The EDPB reacted positively to the Ombudsman´s proposal and granted wider access to the requested documents, in line with the Ombudsman´s observations. The complainant was satisfied with the EDPB´s reply. The Ombudsman therefore closed the case.

 

Decision on how the European Commission handled the complainant’s request about the meeting appointments of its Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life (case 809/2021/MIG)

Maandag | 23 augustus 2021

The case concerned a request for information on meetings the European Commission’s Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life held with representatives of the State/Government of Israel. The Commission said that it did not hold such a list but compiled a ‘list of meetings held with high-level representatives’. The complainant understood this to be an unfair limitation of his request.

In the course of the inquiry, the Commission clarified that the list provided to the complainant was complete and that no other pre-arranged meetings with representatives of the State/Government of Israel had been held. The Ombudsman considered the explanations provided by the Commission to be reasonable and therefore closed the inquiry finding no maladministration.

Decision on the European Data Protection Supervisor’s (EDPS) refusal to grant public access to documents related to a report concerning the Schrems II judgment (case 274/2021/TE)

Vrijdag | 20 augustus 2021

The case concerned the European Data Protection Supervisor’s (EDPS) refusal to grant public access to documents related to an investigation into the EU institutions’ compliance with the Schrems II ruling. In that judgment, the Court of Justice ruled on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-US Privacy Shield, with considerable consequences for the way personal data can be transferred to third countries, in particular to the United States. The EDPS took the view that disclosing the documents would undermine an ongoing decision-making process.

The Ombudsman’s inquiry team inspected the documents in question and found that, while it is reasonable to consider that the disclosure of some information contained in those documents is likely to undermine the purpose of investigations, several documents also contain information that cannot reasonably be understood to undermine that purpose. The Ombudsman therefore proposed to the EDPS to review its position on the complainant’s request, with a view to granting the widest possible public access.

In its reply, the EDPS agreed to grant partial public access to some of the documents identified. It refused access to two documents, arguing that these documents contain information about the EDPS’s internal methodologies and that their disclosure could compromise the effective use of the EDPS’s means of investigation in the future. By agreeing to grant partial public access to the documents at issue, the Ombudsman considers that the EDPS has resolved the complaint. She therefore closed the case.

Decision in case 55/2021/PL on how the European Labour Authority assessed the professional experience of a candidate in a staff selection procedure for programming and reporting officers

Vrijdag | 23 juli 2021

The case concerned how the European Labour Authority’s (ELA) assessed the complainant’s professional experience in a selection procedure for recruiting programming and reporting officers.

The Ombudsman found nothing to suggest a manifest error in the selection committee’s assessment of the complainant’s qualifications. The Ombudsman therefore closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.