The case concerned a request for public access to documents held by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concerning lead in ammunition. The complainant was dissatisfied with the time taken by EFSA to deal with the request, arguing that EFSA had not given adequate explanations for the delay, and that the delay meant it could not participate meaningfully in a related public consultation.
The Ombudsman found that how EFSA dealt with the complainant’s access request and, specifically, its failure to comply with the time limits set out in the EU legislation on public access to documents, constituted maladministration. The Ombudsman made two recommendations aimed at improving how EFSA deals with requests for public access to documents.
EFSA replied positively to the Ombudsman’s recommendations, and committed to changing its rules and practices to ensure that requests for public access to documents are processed swiftly. The Ombudsman closed the inquiry, welcoming EFSA’s positive response.