PRESS RELEASE Nr 14/2000

19 July 2000

EUROPOL ACCEPTS THE EUROPEAN OMBUDSMAN'S RECOMMENDATIONS ON PUBLIC ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS

The European Law Enforcement Organisation Europol has accepted the recommendation made by European Ombudsman, Jacob Söderman, that it should adopt rules on public access to its documents.

Europol director, Jürgen Storbeck, told the Ombudsman on 6 July 2000 that Europol will apply the same rules on public access to the documents it holds as the Council of Ministers. He has already given the necessary instructions to Europol staff. The public will be informed of the new policy through Europol's web site at http://www.europol.eu.int.

The Europol Management Board will re-examine the Europol rules in the light of the future outcome of discussions on new rules for the Council, Commission and European Parliament on public access to documents.

Notes for editors

Europol, based in the Netherlands at The Hague, aims at improving the effectiveness and co-operation of police forces in the Member States in preventing and combating terrorism, unlawful drug trafficking and other serious forms of international organised crime. Europol was brought within the Ombudsman's mandate by the Treaty of Amsterdam.

The Ombudsman's draft recommendation to Europol followed an own-initiative inquiry (OI/1/99/IJH) launched by the Ombudsman in April 1999. As well as Europol, the inquiry covered the European Central Bank, the Community Plant Variety Office and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, which have also adopted rules on access to their documents.

For further information, please call Mr Ian HARDEN, Head of Legal Department, tel. + 33 (0)3 88 17 23 84.