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How the European Commission dealt with a request for public access to documents related to EU environmental strategy and legislation

The complainant asked the European Commission for public access to specific emails and other exchanges related to EU environmental policies and legislation. The Commission granted access to part of the documents it identified as falling within the scope of the request. In support of its decision to redact some information, it invoked various exceptions under the EU's legislation on public access to documents, arguing that disclosure could undermine the public interest as regards the privacy and the integrity of the individual, commercial interests and the decision-making process. Regarding the emails requested, the Commission said they were not registered as it did not consider them to fall under its criteria for registering documents due to their content and short-lived nature. 

The Ombudsman opened an inquiry and sought to inspect the documents at issue, she subsequently asked the Commission for clarification on certain issues.