World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


EU: lack of public access to documents on defence

Ombudsman criticises Council in case of public access to documents on defence cooperation

The European Ombudsman, P.Nikiforos Diamandouros, has criticised the Council of the European Union for failing to deal with a request for public access to documents properly and carefully. This follows an inquiry which revealed that, contrary to the Council's initial response to the complainant concerning the number of relevant documents, many additional documents in fact existed. As a result of the Ombudsman's investigation, the complainant was given access to the additional documents. As the Council has introduced new internal rules in this area, the Ombudsman trusts that problems of the sort identified in the present case will no longer occur in the future.

The case

In March 2005, the complainant asked the Council of the European Union for any documents related to a specific agreement between EU Member States in the field of defence cooperation. Following the Council's initial response, he insisted that, considering the scope of the agreement and that the drafting process had lasted for two years, more than the document itself and the three revisions thereof must exist. He accused the Council of not fully complying with its obligations under Regulation 1049/2001 on public access to documents. The Council replied that "following a thorough examination, no further documents of relevance to the application had been identified." The complainant maintained his view that more documents must exist.

After the intervention of the Ombudsman and an intensive search, the Council confirmed that indeed ten revisions of the document existed. According to the Council, they had not been included in the electronic archive and had thus been considered as "annulled during production". The Council apologised to the complainant for the "clerical error" in this matter.

The Ombudsman argued that the maladministration identified in this case was more serious than that. He stated that he failed to understand why the documents concerned had not been identified earlier and how the department in charge could, as the Council claimed, have assumed that they had been annulled. He concluded that the Council had failed to deal with the complainant's request properly and carefully and that this constituted maladministration. In the light of the Council's assurances regarding its new rules, he closed the case with a critical remark.
The complainant had also asked for a list of sensitive documents. It was only after repeated requests that the Council stated that no sensitive documents on the matter existed. In his decision, the Ombudsman added that it would be useful if, in future cases, the Council provided such information to applicants as soon as possible. To read the decision, please visit:

http://www.euro-ombudsman.eu.int/decision/en/051875.htm

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>

ALSO:

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news