Ref. Ares(2016)5727421 - 03/10/2016
Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
ECHO.D - General Affairs
D.1 - Policy Coordination, International and Multilateral Relations, Legal Affairs
ECHO.D1 KS Ares(2016)
Sent by e-mail
Mr A. Vaillancourt
Södra Strandgatan 37
553 20 Jönköping
Your application for access to documents – Ref GestDem No 5255/2016
Dear Mr Vaillancourt,
We refer to your e-mail dated 19/09/2016 in which you make a request for access to documents,
registered on 20/09/2016 under the above-mentioned reference number.
The handling of your request involves the assessment of a very large number of documents
partially originating from third parties. The analysis of these documents, together with the need to
consult the third parties concerned in accordance with Article 4(4) and 4(5) of Regulation
1049/2001, cannot be expected to be completed within the normal time limits set out in Article 7
of Regulation 1049/2001.
However, the Regulation provides for a possibility to confer with applicants in order to find a
fair solution when an application relates to a very long document or concerns a very large
number of documents. Article 6(3) of the Regulation provides that
in the event of an application
relating to a very long document or to very large number of documents, the institution concerned
may confer with the applicant informally, with a view to finding a fair solution.
In accordance with the case law of the EU Courts, such a solution can only concern the content
or the number of documents applied for, not the deadline for replying.1 This means that the scope
of the request must be reduced in a way that would enable its treatment within the extended
deadline of 15 + 15 working days.
Based on the above-mentioned provision, we would kindly ask you to specify the objective of your
request and your specific interest in the documents requested2, and whether you could narrow down
1 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 2 October 2014 in case C-127/13, Guido Strack v Commission
, paragraphs 26-
2 Ibid, paragraph 28; Judgment of the General Court (then 'Court of First Instance') of 22 May 2012 in case T-
344/08, EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg v Commission
, paragraph 105.
Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111
the scope of your request (i.e. the timeframe covered), so as to reduce it to a more manageable
amount of documents.
If that is not possible and if you maintain your request for access to all documents concerned by
your application, we propose to handle your application in successive stages. If you accept this
proposal, you could indicate an order of priority, which we would try to follow as much as possible
in handling your application. This means that parts of your application would be considered to
have been introduced in successive stages and will be dealt with within the corresponding new
time-limits. You would in that case receive, at regular intervals, batches of documents which have
been cleared for full or partial release and/or a reasoned reply explaining why some (parts of the)
documents cannot be disclosed.
Alternatively, you can formally withdraw those parts of your request that cannot be handled within
the extended deadline of Regulation 1049/2001 (30 working days, counting from the date of
registration of your application on 4/11/2016), and re-introduce applications for access to these parts
in successive stages.
In order to help you to narrow down your request, please note that at this stage 355 contracts have
been identified as falling under the scope of your request, many of which are not available in the
In order to enable us to respect the time-limits of Regulation 1049/2001, we would ask you for a
swift reply to our invitation to propose a fair solution, within five working days at the latest
by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions concerning the invitation, you can contact us at the same address
by email at: email@example.com
by telephone at: (+32) (0) 22 98 01 93
In the absence of a reply within five working days, we will unilaterally restrict the scope of your
application to those parts that can be dealt with within the extended deadline of 30 working days,
counting from the registration of your application.
Thank you in advance for your understanding.
Acting Head of Unit
Electronically signed on 03/10/2016 15:10 (UTC+02) in accordance with article 4.2 (Validity of electronic documents) of Commission Decision 2004/563