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European Observer on fundamental right's respect

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Other Acts COM (2009)331 (02/07/2009)

Type: Acts of the European Union: Report from the Commission on the application in 2008 of regulation (EC) no 1049/2001 regarding public access to European parliament, Council and Commission documents

Authority: European Authorities - European Union: European Commission

Date: 07/02/2009

Subject: The Commission points out the constant increase in the number of initial applications in particular from the academic world. The main area of interest are the following: transport and energy, the internal market, competition, cooperation in judicial matters, the environment and enterprise policy. The percentage of initial applications receiving positive responses has risen besides the cases in which applications were granted in full after initial refusal. The main grounds for confirming refusal of access are the following: the protection of the purpose of investigations; the protection of commercial interests; protecting the Commission's decision-making process. The report also takes into consideration the Court of First Instance case-law according to which there is a requirement in principle for concrete and individual assessment of documents to which access is requested; the specific interest that an applicant may claim is not relevant for assessing the validity of a decision refusing access; the investigation/audit exception applies throughout the investigation/audit; the Ombudsman procedure is distinct from the judicial procedure, these being alternative procedures; institutions must be allowed to protect their internal consultations and deliberations, notably against targeted external pressure, where it is necessary in the public interest in order to safeguard their ability to carry out their tasks in particular when they are exercising their administrative decision-making powers; nevertheless, they have to establish the reality of such external pressure with certainty and show that there is a reasonably foreseeable risk that the decision to be taken would be substantially affected, particularly in the legislative field; an implicit refusal is still a refusal without stating reasons, and can therefore be annulled on those grounds alone.

Classification: Citizens’ rights - Art. 42 Right to access documents of EU institutions

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