* Admissibility date reflects the date the case was officially registered. All other dates pertain to the date in which a stage was completed.
20 October 2009 CEE Bankwatch Network lodged a complaint to the EIB Complaints Inbox concerning the Project Slovak Motorways D 1 (SLOVAK MOTORWAYS PPP D1 PHASE I 2008-0070).
The complainant alleged that the EIB would have failed to consult the Slovak authorities as regards her request for disclosure of the Public Sector Comparator calculation and the affordability assessment for the public budget; moreover the Complainant contested the motivation provided by the EIB when rejecting her application for disclosure of the documents provided by the Slovak authorities (including the concession agreement) and used by the EIB in its appraisal of the economic and financial feasibility of the Project. Finally, she challenged the EIB’s decision not to disclose a full copy of the Appraisal Report including the cost-benefits analysis and claimed access to such information. As a result, the complainant argued that, in the context of the contested request for access to information, the EIB would have failed to comply with its own Public Disclosure Policy (PDP) as well as with Regulation 1049/2001.
EIB-CM Action On 3 November 2009 the EIB Complaints Office (CO) acknowledged the receipt of the complaint. The complainant was informed to the fact that the CO was carrying out a review of her complaint as well as of the date by which she may expect an official reply from the EIB. Following a preliminary analysis on the admissibility of the complaint, the CO deemed appropriate to carry out further inquiries with a view to gathering additional information on the complaint. In this context, the CO reviewed the information provided by the complainant as well as the submissions by the competent services of the EIS. Finally, it conducted an inter-services consultation on the issue raised by the complainant.
Conclusions and Recommendations As regards the alleged failure to consult the Slovak authorities about the disclosure of the Public Sector Comparator calculation and the Affordability assessment for the public budget, on the basis of the information provided by the competent services of the EIB, it appears that the requested documents were not held by the EIB which, as a result, did not commit any irregularity in referring the communicant to the competent authorities. However, in light of the principles of Good Administration stemming from the European Code of Good Administrative Behaviour and the case law of the European Ombudsman, it is recommended that the EIB services responsible for the handling of application for information liaise with the national counterparts in order to raise the latter’s awareness on the EIB’s policies in the field and facilitate the handling of info-requests in accordance with the provisions of the European Code of Good Administrative Behaviour and the precedents of the European Ombudsman.
Based on the information gathered during the inquiry on the complaint, it appears that the rejection of the documents provided by the Slovak authorities and used by the EIB in its economic appraisal was grounded on the basis of the appropriate provision of the PDP as the information requested was covered by confidentiality agreements between the EIB and the client. However, it is recommended that in the future the EIB services responsible for the handling of applications for access to documents adequately specify the reasoned opinion behind the rejection of the application, a fortiori when the PDP’s paragraph referred to contains several constraints to public disclosure.
On the basis of the inquiry carried out by the CO, the latter considers that the EIB’s competent services should have dealt with the request for access to the Appraisal Report according to the instructions given in this Report and recommend to proceed to a formal partial disclosure of the requested document in accordance with §35 of the PDP.