European Ombudsman VIII


Purpose: investigation into the refusal by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) to give public access to documents concerning a search and rescue operation

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Investigative body: European Ombudsman

Started: September 2021

Status: Closed January 2022


Summary of the investigation

The Ombudsman investigated 13 documents identified as relevant to a request for access to documents regarding a search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean in May 2021, to which access was denied by Frontex on grounds of public security. The Ombudsman acknowledged the wide margin of discretion allowed to EU institutions in considering risk to public security, and found that it was not wrong to deny access to the majority of the documents in question, though recommended that Frontex reconsider its decision regarding a number of photographs, as "it was not clear that certain photographs contained in the documents could not be disclosed".

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European Ombudsman VII

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European Ombudsman IX


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