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European Ombudman gives Council three months to act -Ombudsman says the Council has to give an up-to-date list of its decisions in the field of Justice and Home Affairs to a journalist

The European Ombudsman Mr Jacob SÖDERMAN has proposed to the Council of the European Union that it should make available to the public on request a list of all measures it has approved in the field of Justice and Home Affairs. The Council has to react to the formal recommendation of the Ombudsman by the end of January 1999.
The Ombudsman made his recommendation after conducting an inquiry into a complaint by a British journalist, Mr Tony BUNYAN who had asked for such a list. He had been informed by the Council that it did not possess one.
The Ombudsman tried to find a friendly solution between the Council and the complainant, proposing that the Council could agree to maintain an up-to-date list of its decisions in the field of Justice and Home Affairs. Stressing the basic principle of good administrative behaviour that a public authority should maintain adequate records, the Ombudsman considered that failure by the Council to maintain an up-to-date list of its decisions could constitute an instance of maladministration. The Council informed the Ombudsman that the General Secretariat of the Council does indeed maintain a list of these decisions.
The Ombudsman then recommended that, in accordance with the rules of public access to documents, the Council makes the existing list available to the journalist. The Council can accept the draft recommendation made by the Ombudsman and describe how it has implemented it. If it does not accept it, the Ombudsman could report the instance of maladministration to the European Parliament.
For further information please call Mr Ian HARDEN, Head of Secretariat, tel. 33 (0)3 88 17 23 84

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