Auteur: Marit Ruuda
The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg has ruled in favour of a Finnish citizen who demanded access to several documents concerning the external relations of the EU, but had been forbidden to see them by a Finnish court ruling.
Former Foreign Ministry official Olli Mattila asked the European Commission and the Council for access to 11 documents concerning the relations of the European Union with Russia and Ukraine.
"The Commission and the Council refused to grant access to ten documents on the grounds that they were covered by the exception based on protection of the public interest in the field of international relations", states the Court press release.
The European Court of Justice overturned the Finnish ruling last week and both the Commission and the Council were ordered to pay Mr Mattila's court costs.
In June 2000, Finland's Supreme Court decided in a separate case that Mr Mattila was guilty of espionage, revealing official secrets, violating official duties, and unauthorised revelation of the contents of a document, writes the Helsingin Sanomat.
The Court gave Mr Mattila a suspended prison sentence of one year and two months. He was found guilty of passing confidential EU documents to Russian diplomats.
However, Mr Mattila's lawyer Zacharias Sundström did not comment on the possible implications that it would have on his client's espionage conviction in Finland, writes the Finnish newspaper.