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Proposal of the European Ombudsman for a solution in case 129/2019/MIG on the European Commission’s refusal of public access to documents concerning the expenses incurred in relation to the official visit of a Commissioner to the United States of America

Monday | 06 May 2019

Made in accordance with Article 3(5) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1] Background to the complaint 1. In November 2017, the complainant requested from the European Commission public access[2] to “[a]ll documents related to the official visit of Commissioner Günther Oettinger to the United-States (7-11 October 2016). Documents should include travel expenses, travel plans, official calenda...

Proposal of the European Ombudsman for a solution in case 279/2018/JN on the European Commission’s decision to recover funds from a company that participated in an EU-funded project in Namibia

Wednesday | 13 March 2019

Made in accordance with Article 3(5) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1] Background to the complaint 1. The complainant, a German company, participated in an EU-funded project in Namibia between 2010 and 2014. The project was managed by the EU Delegation to Namibia and the National Planning Commission Secretariat of Namibia (the National Contracting Authority), with the European Commission...

Proposal of the European Ombudsman for a solution in case 552/2018/MIG on the European Commission’s refusal of public access to documents concerning the German Network Enforcement Act

Tuesday | 12 March 2019

Made in accordance with Article 3(5) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1] Background to the complaint 1. The inquiry relates to public access to documents held by the Commission. 2. On 28 July 2017, the complainant, a Member of the European Parliament, requested the European Commission to give her public access to its internal and inter-service communications regarding or in connection with...

Proposal of the European Ombudsman for a solution in case 805/2018/THH on the European Investment Bank’s refusal to grant public access to documents regarding a loan to Volkswagen

Thursday | 13 December 2018

Made in accordance with Article 3(5) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1] Background to the complaint 1. In 2009, the European Investment Bank (EIB) gave Volkswagen a loan of EUR 400 million to finance a research and development project called “Volkswagen Antrieb RDI” that aimed to reduce polluting car emissions. The loan was fully repaid by 2014. As concerns were raised that Volkswagen had...

Proposal of the European Ombudsman for a solution in case 1302/2017/MH on the European Commission’s handling of a request for public access to the opinions of its Legal Service concerning the Transparency Register

Monday | 03 December 2018

Access Info Europe asked the European Commission to give public access to the legal advice it received from its Legal Service in 2006 and 2007 on the introduction of a transparency register and in 2013 on the choice of legal basis for a mandatory transparency register. The Commission gave partial access to these documents. As the complainant was dissatisfied both with the level of access given and with the delay in dealing with the requests, it turned to the European Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issues raised and inspected the requested documents and the Commission’s file on the case.

The Ombudsman suggests that, as the factual and legal situation has changed since the drafting of the documents, the reasons for refusal may no longer apply.

The Ombudsman therefore proposes that the Commission grant full access to the requested documents.

Proposal of the European Ombudsman for a solution in case 1632/2018/EWM on the European Commission’s refusal to grant access to documents relating to its infringement proceedings against the United Kingdom for the improper implementation of the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC

Friday | 09 November 2018

Made in accordance with Article 3(5) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1] Background to the complaint 1. This complaint is about access to documents held by the European Commission relating to an infringement procedure regarding compliance by the United Kingdom with EU data protection rules. 2. In July 2004, the Commission opened an infringement procedure (“infringement procedure 2004/2099”...

Proposal of the European Ombudsman for a solution in case 612/2016/JF on the refusal by a EU Delegation to analyse additional evidence in support of costs incurred in a project financed by the 9th European Development Fund

Friday | 27 April 2018

The case concerns a EU Delegation’s refusal to assess alternative evidence of costs incurred during work financed by the 9th European Development Fund in a third country.

The complainant, a UK company assisting the government of the third country in public works, submitted evidence of its costs to the government and received the funds to cover those costs from the local EU Delegation. When, following an audit, the Delegation refused to release the final payment for lack of appropriate evidence, the complainant asked whether it could submit alternative evidence. Dissatisfied with the Delegation’s replies, the complainant sought redress with the European Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman finds that the Delegation gave the impression that it would review and assess information and documents of which it might not have been made aware previously. She also finds that assessing the new evidence proposed by the complainant would be compatible with the audit rules and the obligation to prevent and minimise irregularities and fraud. The Ombudsman therefore proposes as a solution to the complaint that the Commission arranges for the Delegation to provide a safe channel for the complainant to submit the evidence and for the Delegation then to review it accordingly.

Proposal of the European Ombudsman for a solution in case 1272/2017/ANA on the Council of the European Union’s refusal to give public access to the opinion of its Legal Service concerning an interinstitutional agreement on a Transparency Register

Friday | 04 August 2017

Made in accordance with Article 3(5) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1]

The case is about an access to documents request made by an MEP, to the Council of the European Union. The requested document is the opinion of the Council Legal Service on the possible participation of the Council in the interinstitutional agreement on the transparency register.

The Ombudsman is not convinced by the Council’s reasons for refusing full access to the document. The Council should review its decision. The Ombudsman considers that the Council should reconsider its position in light of the changed factual and legal situation as it now stands and proposes that the Council  grant full access to the requested document to resolve the complaint.

 

[1] Decision of the European Parliament of 9 March 1994 on the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman's duties (94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom), OJ 1994 L 113, p. 15.

Proposal of the European Ombudsman for a solution in case 1009/2017/PL on the European Commission’s handling of two infringement procedures against the United Kingdom on how it applied the Free Movement Directive

Friday | 16 June 2017

Made in accordance with Article 3(5) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1]

The case concerned the amount of time it is taking the European Commission to conclude two infringement procedures against the United Kingdom on how it is applying the ‘Free Movement Directive’. The complainant is Member of the European Parliament, Sophie in ‘t Veld.

The Ombudsman opened an inquiry into the complaint and met with the Commission and inspected its files on the two infringement procedures. The Commission explained the complexity of the cases, which have been delayed due to related EU court rulings and changes in the relevant UK laws during the infringement proceedings.

The Ombudsman proposes as a solution that the Commission should provide the complainant with a more detailed account of the steps it has taken in these infringement procedures, and the reasons for which they have been delayed.

 

[1] Decision of the European Parliament of 9 March 1994 on the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman's duties (94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom), OJ 1994 L 113, p. 15.

Proposal of the European Ombudsman for a solution in case 1343/2014/NF on the eligibility of certain costs for a project under the EACEA’s Lifelong Learning Programme

Thursday | 15 June 2017

Made in accordance with Article 3(5) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1] The background to the complaint 1. This case concerns an EU grant made under the Lifelong Learning Programme(LLP), the EU’s 2007-2013 programme for education and training[2]. The complainant is an Austrian company. It was a member of a consortium chosen to carry out a project under a grant agreement managed by the Edu...