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The European Commission’s refusal to give public access to a document concerning a mineral exploration research project that received EU funds under the Horizon 2020 programme

The complainant is an environmental non-governmental organisation that asked the European Commission to give public access to documents concerning a mineral exploration research project that received EU funds under the Horizon 2020 programme. The Commission identified five documents as falling under the scope of the complainant's request. It refused to disclose one document and granted partial access to four documents. In support of its decision, it invoked various exceptions under the EU's legislation on public access to documents, arguing that disclosure could undermine the commercial interests of a natural or legal person and the  protection of personal data. 

The Ombudsman opened an inquiry and sought to inspect the documents at issue.