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EU: Regulation on public access to EU documents: European Ombudsman finds that the European Commission "has no intention of trying to complete its registers"
01 January 2010
European Ombudsman finds that the European Commission "has no intention of trying to complete its registers" See: Ombudsman: Follow-up to Critical and further remarks: How the EU institutions: How the EU institutions responded to the Ombudsman's Recommendations in 2008
(December 2009, see p35-36, pdf). In 2006 Statewatch lodged a complaint with the European Ombudsman against the European Commission for its failure to maintain a proper public register of documents as required under Article 11 of the Regulation on access to EU documents. The Ombudsman found there was a case of maladministration and that "The Commission should, as soon as possible, include references to all the documents within the meaning of Article 3(a) that are in its possession in the register foreseen by Article 11 of this regulation, to the extent that this has not yet been done."
The Commission reject the Ombudsman's Recommendation.
In compiling his Follow-up report the Commission was invited to comment on any progress and again refused to accept that it had any obligation to list references to all documents as it is required to do under Article 11 of the Regulation: President Barroso's letter to the Ombudsman
(pdf). The Ombudsman's Follow-up Report comments:
"The Ombudsman recalls that during his inquiry, the Commission consistently argued that it was going to expand the scope of its registers and led the Ombudsman to believe that the problem was mainly a technical one (i.e., the absence of a harmonised data base for the registration of documents). The Ombudsman notes, with regret, that the Commission’s new argument suggests that it has no intention of trying to complete its registers."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"Public access to documents is the life-blood of democracy and EU public registers listing all documents provide a rich resource for public debate, discussion and participation. The Commission continued intransigence undermines the democratic process and is utterly contrary to the much cited principles of openness, transparency and accountability in the EU."
Background: Statewatch Analysis & Postscript: Statewatch wins European Ombudsman complaint against the European Commission over its public register of documents – but it refuses to comply