After having telephoned with the official responsible at the EU Ombudsman for my complaint against the EU Commission, today I have received the following confirmation from the Ombudsman’s office:
“Dear Mr Patz,
On 9 November 2011, you submitted a complaint to the European Ombudsman against the Commission concerning its handling of your request for access to document […].
I understand your allegation and claims to be the following:
The Commission failed to handle the complainant’s request for access […] according to the time limits set out in Regulation 1049/2001.
The Commission should:
- Take a decision as to whether or not to provide public access to the document requested, taking account of the case-law of the EU courts as regards access to documents concerning legislative procedures;
- Give substantive reasons why the time limits laid down in Regulation 1049/2001 were exceeded;
- Agree not to exceed the maximum time limit in future applications.
The Ombudsman has instructed me to contact the Commission’s services in order to explore the possibility of finding a rapid solution to your first claim, namely the failure thus far to take a decision on the request for access to the document in question. I will get back to you as soon as the Commission informs me of its position.
The Ombudsman will deal in full with your allegation and claims in his future correspondence with you. Any additional allegations and claims you wish to submit, in the light of the response you receive from the Commission to your request for access to the document in question, will be dealt with in the context of your current complaint.
As you can see, we have agreed that the Ombudsman would start with what is called “the telephone procedure“, a procedure through which the Ombudsman’s office first tries to find a solution to the concrete problem behind the complaint – i.e. talking with the Commission to finally get me a decision.
The complaint procedure itself will continue afterwards as the time limits have in any case been exceeded. The letter also clarifies that in case there are further problems – e.g. that the access to the documents will be refused – this would also be dealt with by the Ombudsman without the need to start a new procedure.
As a decision has been announced for next week by the Commission, we’ll soon see how this will continue – and especially if and when I can continue my research for which I need the document(s) requested.