European Ombudsman: the European Commission grants access to documents on UK opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights after a decision of the Ombudsman

Friday, October 4, 2013

The European Commission has agreed to release five documents that the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) had requested concerning the UK opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Commission had initially refused to release them referring to the need to protect the legal advice it receives and its internal decision-making process. ECAS then lodged a complaint with the European Ombudsman, who found that the Commission's arguments for non-disclosure were not convincing and that, given the importance of the documents for the rights of EU citizens, the Commission's failure to engage constructively with the analysis put forward by him had constituted a "serious instance of maladministration". After these critical remarks, ECAS requested again access to the same documents, which the Commission then released.

The documents are numbered JUR(2007)30329 (and a supplementary note thereto) and JUR(2007)55081, containing opinions from the Commission's legal service, and JUR(2007)30464 and a note of the Secretary General of the European Commission dated 15 October 2007 which relate to the negotiations of the Lisbon Treaty.

See the Ombudsman's decision and a press release on the European Ombudsman's website.

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Charter of Fundamental Rights
European Ombudsman
European Commission