EU: Ombudsman launches EU-wide consultation on access to databases

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Press release (pdf)

Letter (pdf)

Statement (pdf)

and the Original Complaint (pdf)

"The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has launched a consultation process within the European Network of Ombudsmen on access to information contained in databases. This follows a complaint from a Danish journalist about the refusal of the European Commission to disclose data on beneficiaries of EU agricultural subsidies. The Commission justified its refusal on grounds of confidentiality. Furthermore, it argued that the EU's rules on access to documents apply to databases only if the data can be easily retrieved.

The Ombudsman was not convinced by this approach. He therefore contacted his colleagues in the Member States to find out about "best practices" at the national level aiming to ensure maximum public access to databases. This consultation is particularly important given that this issue at stake forms part of the current debate on the reform of the EU's rules on access to documents."

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