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Closing summaries of cases

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Summary of the decision in case 1275/2018/THH on the European Commission’s refusal to grant full public access to the minutes of the meetings of the Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles from September 2016 to January 2017

Friday | 03 May 2019

The case concerned the failure of the European Commission to ensure transparency in the process by which Member State representatives discuss and decide upon EU rules regarding emissions from motor vehicles. The Ombudsman found that the Commission’s refusal to grant public access to the positions of the representatives of the Member States related to environmental information constituted maladmini...

Summary of the decision in case 1708/2015/MH on the European Commission’s refusal to grant public access to documents on the use of GMOs as food or feed

Monday | 06 May 2019

This complaint, made by Greenpeace, concerns the European Commission's refusal to grant full public access to four documents, which the Commission took into account when preparing its proposal to amend EU legislation on the use of GMOs as food or feed. The Commission refused access to three documents in their entirety and withheld parts of a fourth document, relying on the exceptions protecting th...

Q4/2018/JAP - Query from the Belgian Federal Ombudsmen on the application of Citizens’ rights directive (Directive 2004/38/EC) concerning problems with obtaining entry visas for non-EU family members of EU citizens (concerns over sham marriage)

Thursday | 25 April 2019

The applicable law Pursuant to Article 5(2) of Directive 2004/38/EC,[1] Member States may, where the EU citizen exercises the right to move and reside freely in its territory, require the family member, who is a non-EU national, to have an entry visa. Member States must grant such persons every facility to obtain the necessary visas, which must be issued as soon as possible and on the basis of an ...

Summary of the decision in case 1861/2018/KR on the European Commission’s refusal to disclose documents pertaining to interactions between financial organisations and the Brexit Taskforce

Wednesday | 17 April 2019

The case concerned the refusal of the European Commission to grant the complainant public access to documents drawn up in the context of the on-going negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (“Brexit”). The documents relate to meetings of the Commission’s Brexit Taskforce with economic actors from the financial sector. Having reviewed the documents, the Ombudsman is of the view that the Com...

Summary of the decision in case 962/2018/JN on the delay by the European Commission in processing an application to authorise the use of the chemical substance chromium trioxide

Tuesday | 16 April 2019

Chromium trioxide is a chemical substance used in various sectors including aerospace, automotive, defence, engineering and construction. It has carcinogenic and mutagenic properties. This inquiry followed a complaint to the Ombudsman by an industry group, and concerned the delay by the European Commission in processing an application to authorise different uses of chromium trioxide. As the Commis...

Summary of the decision in case 687/2018/TE on the European Commission’s prolongation of the approval of certain active substances used in pesticides

Monday | 08 April 2019

The inquiry concerned the practice by which the European Commission extends the approval of ‘active substances’ used in pesticides, while the associated risk is being reassessed. The Ombudsman inquired into the issue after a complaint by an NGO, which was concerned that potentially hazardous substances continue to be available on the EU market while reassessments are ongoing. The Ombudsman noted t...

Summary of the decision in case 758/2017/MDC on Frontex’s allegedly discriminatory language policy

Tuesday | 02 April 2019

The case concerned an Italian citizen’s request to obtain an Italian language version of a document from the European Border and Coastguard Agency (Frontex). The Ombudsman’s inquiry focused on Frontex’s language policy in its external communications. The Ombudsman recommended that Frontex make general information about the Agency available on its website in all the EU languages. She also recommend...

Summary of the Decision in case 1579/2018/KR on a request to review Commission Decisions authorising the import of three types of genetically modified soybeans

Monday | 25 March 2019

This complaint concerns the European Commission’s decisions to authorise the importation of products containing, consisting of or produced from three genetically modified soybeans. The complainant was of the view that the Commission wrongly authorised the importation. The arguments it presented to the Ombudsman were scientific in nature. Given the Ombudsman’s limited role in reviewing decisions in...

Summary of the decision in case 1485/2018/MH on how the European Commission dealt with the complainant’s question about EU funding to Hungary

Monday | 25 March 2019

The complainant wrote to the European Commission asking it to take a position on whether there is a legal basis for it to suspend EU funding to Hungary. He complained to the European Ombudsman because the Commission had not addressed this specific question in its replies to him. The Ombudsman asked the Commission to reply to the complainant’s question. In its reply, the Commission described in det...

Summary of the decision in case 1276/2018/FP on the European Commission’s alleged failure to disclose the names of the national authorities participating in the High-Level Expert Group on Information System and Interoperability

Wednesday | 20 March 2019

The case concerned a request for access to documents by a complainant who wanted the Commission to provide him with the names of the national authorities that participated in the High-Level Expert Group on Information System and Interoperability. In response to the complainant’s request, the Commission initially stated that it was not in possession of this information, and that the relevant rules ...