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Every December, EU fisheries ministers agree on the majority of Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for the Northeast Atlantic. The December Council meeting, and the preparatory meetings leading up to it, take place behind closed doors. This makes it very difficult for civil society to follow and meaningfully engage in the decision-making process. Following three years of Access to Information Requests the Council and the Commission regarding the December Council TAC-setting process, ClientEarth therefore submitted a complaint to the European Ombudsman regarding this lack of transparency.
On 24 October 2019, the European Ombudsman published her findings on this matter, agreeing with our concerns, and recommending that the Council ‘should proactively make public documents related to the adoption of the TAC Regulation at the time they are circulated to Member States or as soon as possible thereafter’.