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Decision in case 77/2018/AMF on the European Commission’s refusal to grant access to a file concerning the complainant’s son

Dostępne języki :  en.fr
  • Sprawa :  77/2018/AMF
    Otwarta 2018-04-06 - Decyzja z 2018-04-06
  • Dotyczy(Dotyczą) instytucji :  Komisja Europejska

Background to the complaint

1. The complainant is the mother of a boy, whose father is a civil servant with the European Commission. The boy has special educational needs. In October 2017, the father requested financial assistance from the Commission to cover the expenses related to these special educational needs, in accordance with his rights as an EU staff member[1].

2. On 9 January 2018, the complainant asked the Commission to provide her with a copy of the file concerning the application for financial assistance for her son.

3. On the 10 January 2018, the Commission informed the complainant that, as the file concerned an application by her son´s father, as a Commission staff member, it could not grant her access to the file. The Commission also explained that it expects ex-partners to keep each other informed about matters relevant to their children.

4. Following this, the complainant turned to the Ombudsman.

The European Ombudsman's finding

5. The Commission is correct in stating that the subject of the file in question is her son’s father, who applied for financial assistance as an EU staff member, and not the complainant’s son. As such, the Commission cannot give the complainant access to the file without the father’s consent. The Commission was thus correct to refuse access to the file.

6. It was also reasonable for the Commission to consider the matter to fall under the parents’ joint parental responsibilities.

7. In light of the above, there does not appear to be any maladministration by the Commission.

8. The Ombudsman would like to inform the complainant that, for issues regarding requests for access to personal data, the European Data Protection Supervisor[2] is the competent, and more specialised, body.


Tina Nilsson

Head of Inquiries - Unit 4

Strasbourg, 06/04/2018


[1] Article 76 of the EU Staff Regulations: Regulation 31 (EEC), 11 (EAEC) laying down the Staff Regulations of Officials and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community, OJ 1962 L 45, page 1385

[2] https://edps.europa.eu/