Dies ist eine HTML Version eines Anhanges der Informationsfreiheitsanfrage 'Correspondance about environmental standards in relation to TTIP'.



 
Ref. Ares(2017)805972 - 14/02/2017
EUROPEAN COMMISSION 
Directorate-General for Trade 
 
The Director General 
   
 
 
Brussels,  
Trade.dga1.d.3/HJ/ir/(2017)402156 
 
By registered letter with acknowledgment of 
receipt 

Thibault Devoldere 
Renaat de Rudderlaan 6 
8500 Kortrijk 
Belgium 
 
Advance copy by email:  
[FOI #3542 email] 
 
 
Subject: 
Your application for access to documents – Ref. GestDem No 2016/6180 
Dear Mr Devoldere, 
I refer your email of 1st November 2016 in which you make a request for access to 
documents in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/20011 (“Regulation 
1049/2001”), registered on 3 November under the above mentioned reference number. 
In particular, you would like to receive access to: 
−  "all correspondence (including emails), agendas, minutes of meetings and any 
other reports of such meetings between officials of DG Trade (including the 
Commissioner and his/her Cabinet) and representatives of NGOs, companies, 
business associations and law firms with whom environmental and food safety 
standards were discussed in relation to TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and 
Investment Partnership). Environmental and food safety standards include, but 
are not limited to, rules on the use of growth hormones in livestock farming; on 
pesticide residues; on chlorine-washed chicken; on endocrine disrupting 
chemicals; on tar sand oil, and on genetic engineering (GMOs); 

−  all documents held by DG TRADE (including minutes/memos/notes/reports for 
internal use) and all correspondences (including emails) relating discussions 
within the World Trade Organization (WTO) on maximum residue levels (MRLs) 
and/or crop protection product residues in general; 

Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111 
 

−  all correspondence (including emails), agendas, minutes of meetings and any 
other reports of such meetings between officials of DG Trade (including the 
Commissioner and his/her Cabinet) where maximum residue levels (MRLs) 
and/or crop protection product residues in general were discussed". 

You specified in your email that you are "requesting all documents within the time frame 
January 2012 till November 2016"
 and that you would prefer to receive the documents 
"on a rolling basis, rather than waiting until the full response is ready". 
In accordance with Article 6(2) of Regulation 1049/2001 concerning the possibility for 
an institution which is the addressee of a request for access to documents to reach a “fair 
solution” with the applicant, you agreed on 9 November to receive the documents in 
successive batches and to reduce the time frame for the documents requested under the 
first bullet point to the period from January 2012 until December 2013. 
On 29 November 2016 we provided you with a reply covering the first bullet point of 
your request in relation to tar sand oil (Ares(2016)6673301).  
On 23 December 2016 we provided you with a reply covering the first bullet point of 
your request in relation to pesticide residues and GMOs, as well as the second and third 
bullet points of your request (Ares2017)300771). 
The present letter addresses the first bullet point of your application as far as the topics of 
“growth hormones in livestock farming” 
and “chlorine-washed chicken” are concerned2.  
In particular, we have identified the following documents: 
(1)  an e-mail containing the report of a meeting between the European Livestock and 
Meat Trading Union (“UECVB”) and DG TRADE, which took place on 14 June 
2013 (Ares(2013)2484816) (“document 1”); 
(2)  an e-mail dated 20 September 2013 containing the report of a meeting between 
COPA-COGECA and DG TRADE (Ares(2013)3115628) (“document 2”); 
(3)  a letter from Friends of the Earth to DG TRADE dated  13 November 2013 
(Ares(2013)3115628), enclosing a position paper on TTIP and a briefing concerning 
the inclusion of ISDS in TTIP (“document 3”)3; 
                                                                                                                                                 
1   Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2001 
regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, OJ L 145, 
31.5.2001, p. 43. 
2   DG TRADE will provide the documents that fall under the remaining parts of your request in a 
subsequent reply. 

 
These attachments are also publicly available; see at 
https://www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/foee_briefing_ttip_oct13.pdf and 
http://www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/foee_factsheet_isds_oct13.pdf. 


(4)  a submission to a public consultation from the Confederation of British Industry 
(CBI) dated 28 January 2013 (Ares(2013)99285) (“document 4”); 
(5)  a letter from Zentralverband der Deutschen Geflügelwirtschaft e.V., dated 
30 August 2013 (Ares(2013)2948968) (“document 5”); 
(6)  an email containing a letter to former Commissioner De Gucht and Ambassador 
Froman from US and EU civil society organisations on the potential impacts of TTIP 
on food systems in both regions (Ares(2013)2483737) (“document 6”). 
Please note that we have not considered in our search correspondence in which DG TRADE 
was merely copied for information. 
We enclose for ease of reference a list of these documents in Annex I. For each of them, 
the list provides a description (e.g. date, type of document) and indicates whether parts 
are withheld and if so, under which ground pursuant to Regulation 1049/2001. Copies of 
the accessible documents are enclosed. 
2. ASSESSMENT AND CONCLUSIONS UNDER REGULATION 1049/2001 
In accordance with settled case law4, when an institution is asked to disclose a document, it 
must assess, in each individual case, whether that document falls within the exceptions to 
the right of public access to documents set out in Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001. Such 
assessment is carried out in a multi-step approach: first, the institution must satisfy itself that 
the document relates to one of the exceptions, and if so, decide which parts of it are covered 
by that exception; second, it must examine whether disclosure of the parts of the document 
in question pose a “reasonably foreseeable and not purely hypothetical” risk of 
undermining the protection of the interest covered by the exception; third, if it takes the 
view that disclosure would undermine the protection of any of the interests defined under 
Articles 4(2) and 4(3) of Regulation 1049/2001, the institution is required "to ascertain 
whether there is any overriding public interest justifying disclosure"
5. 
In view of the objectives pursued by Regulation 1049/2001, notably to give the public the 
widest possible right of access to documents6,  "the exceptions to that right […] must be 
interpreted and applied strictly"
7
Having carefully examined the documents identified above in light of the applicable legal 
framework, I am pleased to inform you that full access is granted to document 4 and the 
annexes to document 3
, while partial access is granted to the remaining documents.  
                                                 
4  Judgment 
in 
Sweden and Maurizio Turco v Council, Joined cases C-39/05 P and C-52/05 P, 
EU:C:2008:374, paragraph 35. 
 Id., 
paragraphs 37-43. See also judgment in Council v Sophie in’t Veld, C-350/12 P, EU:C:2014:2039, 
paragraphs 52 and 64. 
6   See Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, recital (4). 
7   Judgment in Sweden v Commission, C-64/05 P, EU:C:2007:802, paragraph 66. 


In particular as regards documents 2, 5, 6 and cover letter in document 3, only personal data 
have been redacted, pursuant to Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation 1049/2001 and in 
accordance with Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 ("Regulation 45/2001")8. Hence, the main 
content of these documents is accessible.  
In document 1, in addition to personal data protected under Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation 
1049/2001, additional information was redacted in accordance with Article 4(2) first 
indent of Regulation 1049/2001 (protection of commercial interest of a natural or legal 
person). Moreover, parts of document 1 have been marked as “out of scope of the 
request” as they concern subject-matters other than TTIP. 
The reasons justifying the application of the abovementioned exceptions are set out below 
in Sections 2.1 and 2.2. Section 3 provides an assessment of whether there exists an 
overriding public interest in the disclosure of certain parts of document 1.  
2.1 
Protection of privacy and integrity of the individual  
Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation 1049/2001 provides that “[t]he institutions shall refuse 
access to a document where disclosure would undermine the protection of: […] privacy 
and the integrity of the individual, in particular in accordance with Community 
legislation regarding the protection of personal data". 

The Court of Justice has ruled that "where an application based on Regulation 1049/2001 
seeks to obtain access to documents containing personal data"
  "the provisions of 
Regulation 45/2001, of which Articles 8(b) and 18 constitute essential provisions, become 
applicable in their entirety"
9
Article 2(a) of Regulation 45/2001 provides that "'personal data' shall mean any 
information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person […]"
. The Court of 
Justice has confirmed that "there is no reason of principle to justify excluding activities of a 
professional […] nature from the notion of 'private life"
10 and that "surnames and 
forenames may be regarded as personal data"
11, including names of the staff of the 
institutions12. 
According to Article 8(b) of this Regulation, personal data shall only be transferred to 
recipients if they establish "the necessity of having the data transferred" and additionally "if 
there is no reason to assume that the legitimate interests of the data subjects might be 
                                                 
8   Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and the of the Council of 18 December 2000 
on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community 
institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data, OJ L 8, 12.1.2001, p. 1. 
9   Judgment  in  Guido Strack v Commission, C-127/13 P,  EU:C:2014:2250, paragraph 101; see also 
judgment in Commission v Bavarian Lager, C-28/08 P, EU:C:2010:378, paragraphs 63 and 64. 
10   Judgment in Rechnungshof v Rundfunk and Others, Joined cases C-465/00, C-138/01 and C-139/01, 
EU:C:2003:294, paragraph 73. 
11   Judgment in Commission v Bavarian Lager, C-28/08 P, EU:C:2010:378, paragraph 68. 
12   Judgment in Guido Strack v Commission, C-127/13 P, EU:C:2014:2250, paragraph 111. 


prejudiced". The Court of Justice has clarified that "it is for the person applying for access 
to establish the necessity of transferring that data"
13
Documents 1, 2, 5, 6 and the cover letter in document 3 contain names and other personal 
information that allow the identification of natural persons.  
I note that you have not established the necessity of having these personal data 
transferred to you. Moreover, it cannot be assumed, on the basis of the information 
available, that disclosure of such personal data would not prejudice the legitimate 
interests of the persons concerned. Therefore these personal data shall remain 
undisclosed. However, names of senior managers of the Commission at Director level or 
above, and names of senior managers of private entities (e.g. CEO, Director) are 
disclosed. 
2.2 Protection 
of 
commercial interests 
Article 4(2) first indent, of Regulation 1049/2001 provides that “[t]he institutions shall 
refuse access to a document where disclosure would undermine the protection of: […] 
commercial interests of a natural or legal person, including intellectual property […] 
unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure"

While not all information concerning a company and its business relations can be 
regarded  as falling under the exception of Article 4(2) first indent14, it appears that the 
type of information covered by the notion of commercial interests would generally be of 
the kind protected under the obligation of professional secrecy15. Accordingly, it must be 
information that is "known only to a limited number of persons",  "whose disclosure is 
liable to cause serious harm to the person who has provided it or to third parties"
 and for 
which  "the interests liable to be harmed by disclosure must, objectively, be worthy of 
protection
"16. 
Document 1 is a report of a meeting held by DG TRADE with representatives of 
companies that are members of the UECBV at national level. It contains views, concerns 
and interests by certain companies and industry associations in relation to investment and 
regulatory issues in third countries, and their assessment of commercial priorities, 
strategies and concerns in relation to the TTIP negotiations. These were shared with the 
Commission in confidence in order to provide useful input and support for the EU’s 
objectives in the TTIP negotiations.  
In order to ensure a high degree of transparency while preserving the commercial 
interests of the entities involved, only the identity of the representatives participating in 
                                                 
13   Id, paragraph 107; see also judgment in Commission v Bavarian Lager, C-28/08 P, EU:C:2010:378, 
paragraph 77. 
14   Judgment in Terezakis v Commission, T-380/04, EU:T:2008:19, paragraph 93. 
15   See Article 339 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. 
16   Judgment in Bank Austria v Commission, T-198/03, EU:T:2006:136, paragraph 29. 




the meeting were redacted. In particular, the disclosure of their identities in relation to 
specific comments they made at the meeting would undermine the commercial interests 
of the entities involved by exposing their specific interests and positions in relation to the 
TTIP negotiations. There exists a reasonably foreseeable and not purely hypothetical risk 
that this information be exploited by competitors to their advantage and be used to 
undermine the commercial positions of the companies and entities concerned. 
3. OVERRIDING PUBLIC INTEREST IN DISCLOSURE 
The exception laid down in Article 4(2) first indent of Regulation 1049/2001 applies 
unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure of the documents. Such an 
interest must, first, be public and, secondly, outweigh the harm caused by disclosure. 
Accordingly, we have also considered whether the risks attached to the release of the 
withheld parts of document 1 are outweighed by the public interest in accessing the 
requested document. We have not been able to identify any such public interest capable 
of overriding the commercial interests of the stakeholders concerned. The public interest 
in this specific case rather lies on the protection of the legitimate confidentiality interests 
of the stakeholders concerned to ensure that the Commission continues to receive useful 
contributions for its ongoing negotiations with third countries without undermining the 
commercial position of the entities involved. 
*** 
In accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, you are entitled to make a 
confirmatory application requesting the Commission to review this position. 
Such a confirmatory application should be addressed within 15 working days upon receipt 
of this letter to the Secretary-General of the Commission at the following address: 
European Commission 
Secretary-General 
Transparency unit SG-B-4 
BERL 5/282 
B-1049 Bruxelles 
or by e-mail to: [Emailadresse] 
  
Yours sincerely, 
 
 
                                                                                       Jean-Luc DEMARTY 
Enclosures:  
•  Annex I: list of documents 
•  Released documents 

Electronically signed on 13/02/2017 14:22 (UTC+01) in accordance with article 4.2 (Validity of electronic documents) of Commission Decision 2004/563

Document Outline