Dies ist eine HTML Version eines Anhanges der Informationsfreiheitsanfrage 'Interactions with Microsoft'.



 
Ref. Ares(2019)3109073 - 10/05/2019
EUROPEAN COMMISSION 
DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS, CONTENT AND 
TECHNOLOGY 
 
  The Director-General 
 
Brussels, 10th May 2019 
CONNECT/R4 
Ms Laura Kayali 
POLITICO  
Rue de la Loi 62 
1040 Bruxelles  
Belgium 
 
Email: 
ask+request-6580 [Emailadresse] 
REGISTERED LETTER WITH ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT 
Subject: Your application for access to documents GestDem 2019/1355 
Dear Ms Kayali, 
We refer to your application for access to documents dated 08/03/2019 and registered on the 
same date under the above-mentioned reference number. We also refer to our email dated 
28/03/2019 (our reference Ares(2019)2207406), whereby we informed you that the time 
limit for handling your application was extended by 15 working days pursuant to Article 7(3) 
of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 on public access to documents (hereinafter ‘Regulation 
1049/2001’). 
 
1.  SCOPE OF YOUR APPLICATION 
 
You requested access to: 
 
“For the period between November 2014 and March 2019:  
- List of lobby meetings held with your DG, with Microsoft or its intermediaries. The list 
should include: date, individuals attending + organisational affiliation, the issues discussed,   
- Minutes and other reports of these meetings   
- All correspondence including attachments (i.e. any emails, correspondence or telephone 
call notes) between your DG (including the Commissioner and the Cabinet) and Microsoft or 
any intermediaries representing its interests.   
- All documents prepared for the meetings and exchanged in the course of the meetings 
between both parties.” 
 
This access to documents request was one of 25 requests you submitted on 07/03/2019 to 15 
Directorates-General, Directors-General, Commissioners and members of their Cabinet. The 
majority of these requests cover the same period, have an almost identical wording and cover 
the same categories of documents relating to lobby meetings with a number of companies and 
any intermediaries representing their interests.  
 
Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111 
[Emailadresse] 
 

 
Given the involvement of so many services in the Commission and the wide scope of your 
requests, on 26/03/2019 the Secretariat-General of the European Commission (hereinafter, ‘the 
SG’) contacted you with a view to finding a fair solution based on Article 6(3) of Regulation 
1049/2001 (Ares(2019)2103981).  
The SG asked you to specify the objective of your request and your specific interest in the 
documents requested1, and whether you could significantly narrow down the scope of your 
request, so as to reduce it to a more manageable amount of documents. It informed you of the 
various steps required for the handling of your numerous simultaneous requests, which involve 
the simultaneous work of multiple Commission services and Cabinets. It further informed that 
the search and analysis of the documents, together with the need to possibly consult the third 
parties concerned cannot be expected to be completed within the normal time-limits set out in 
Regulation 1049/2001.  
With a view to reaching a fair solution concerning the handling of your request, the SG provided 
you with a list of lobby meetings published in the Transparency register2, which took place since 
01/12/2014 between the services concerned and the relevant companies or any intermediaries 
representing their interests. Moreover, it provided you with three alternative options for limiting 
the excessive administrative burden relating to the handling of your requests: (a) restriction of 
the temporary scope to a period of your choice not exceeding six months and limitation of 
the scope only to meetings published in the Transparency Register; (b) limitation of the 
scope to 8 requests of your choice; (c) limitation of the scope of your requests to 15 meetings 
of your choice published in the Transparency Register. 
In your reply to our fair solution proposal, which was received on 03/04/2019, you did not 
specify the objective of your request and your specific interests in the documents requested. 
Moreover, you do not accept any of the several fair solution proposals put forward by the SG 
to render the disproportionate administrative burden more manageable. Also, no alternative 
fair solution proposal was put forward. At the same time, you do not contest the 
administrative burden that the handling of your requests would entail.  
For the reasons outlined above and given that we have to deliver what is possible within the 
time-limits outlined in Regulation 1049/2001 and given also the need to safeguard the 
interests of good administration, we see ourselves obliged to balance your possible interest in 
being granted access against the workload resulting from the processing of your application. 
This is in line with the case law of the EU Courts3. 
 
In light of the above, we have proceeded to unilaterally restrict the scope of your application 
to the documents for which we considered that it can be dealt with within 30 working days 
counting from the date of registration of your application. Based on the information available 
we have not been able to identify any other conceivable way of dealing with your request.  
Consequently, your application is understood to cover documents (briefings, minutes/reports, 
correspondence) relating to the meetings between the Commission and Microsoft listed in the 
Transparency Register, between 01/01/2017 and the date of your request. 
 
                                                 
1 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 2 October 2014, Guido Strack v Commission, C-127/13, 
EU:C:2014:2250, paragraph 28; Judgment of the Court of First Instance, of 22 May 2012, EnBW 
Energie Baden-Württemberg v Commission
, T-344/08, EU:T:2012:242, paragraph 105.  
2 http://ec.europa.eu/transparencyregister/public/homePage.do 
3 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 2 October 2014 in case C-127/13, Strack v Commission, paragraphs 
27-28. 


 
2.  DOCUMENTS FALLING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE REQUEST 
Within the statutory time limits foreseen by Regulation 1049/2001, DG CONNECT has been 
able to identify the following documents falling within the scope of your application: 
- Meeting between Carl-Christian Buhr, Cabinet member of Mariya Gabriel and 
Microsoft on 5/10/2017 

1. BTO meeting 5/10/2017 
- Meeting between Laure Chapuis and Juhan Lepassaar, Cabinet members of Andrus 
Ansip and Microsoft on 18/10/2017 

2. Meeting with Microsoft on ePrivacy 
- Meeting between Vice-President Andrus Ansip, Juhan Lepassaar, Cabinet members 
of Andrus Ansip and Microsoft on 15/02/2017
 
3. Briefing Meeting_Microsoft_20170215 
4. Meeting VP Ansip with Microsoft 
- Meeting between Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and Microsoft on 27/06/2018 
5. Briefing meetings Webit_June2018 
- Meeting between Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and Microsoft on 31/05/2018 
6. Briefing Digital Economy Accelerator for Growth 
- Meeting between Vice-President Andrus Ansip, Mariya Gabriel and Microsoft on 
09/01/2018 

7. Briefing for MG illegal content 9.1 
8. Briefing for VP AA - Roundtable with CEOs of various online platforms 
9. Annex 1 
10. Annex 1bis 
11. Annex 2 
12. Annex 3 
13. Short report illegal content 9 January 
14. STATEMENT-18-63_EN 
15. Notes of afternoon meeting on illegal content on 9.1 
16. Notes of the roundtable IR 
17. Notes of the roundtable 
 


 
3.  ASSESSMENT UNDER REGULATION 1049/2001 
Having examined these documents under the provisions of Regulation 1049/2001, we have 
arrived at the conclusion that full access can be given to two documents whereas partial 
access can be granted to nine documents. Access must be refused for six documents since an 
exception under Article 4 of the Regulation applies. 
a.  Full access 
Please find enclosed a copy of document 11 and 14. 
Document 11 is an internal, preparatory document for a meeting, which is part of a briefing (see 
documents 7 and 8). It does not reflect the position of the Commission and cannot be quoted as 
such. 
Please note that document 14 is also publicly available via the following link: 
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-18-63_en.htm 
You may reuse document 14 free of charge for non-commercial and commercial purposes 
provided that the source is acknowledged, that you do not distort the original meaning or 
message of the document. Please note that the Commission does not assume liability stemming 
from the reuse. 
b.  Protection of privacy and integrity of the individual 
Pursuant to Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation 1049/2001, access to a document has to be refused if 
its disclosure would undermine ‘the protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual, in 
particular in accordance with European Union legislation regarding the protection of personal 
data’
.  
The applicable EU legislation in this field is Regulation (EC) No 2018/1725 of the European 
Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with 
regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies 
and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and 
Decision No 1247/2002/EC  (‘Regulation 2018/1725’). 
Parts of documents 1-8, 10 and 12 contain personal data (names, contact details and 
handwritten signatures) of Commission staff or third parties. 
Indeed, Article 3(1) of Regulation 2018/1725 provides that personal data ‘means any 
information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person […]
’. The Court of Justice 
has specified that any information, which by reason of its content, purpose or effect, is linked 
to a particular person is to be considered as personal data.4 
In its judgment in Case C-28/08 P (Bavarian Lager), the Court of Justice ruled that when a 
request is made for access to documents containing personal data, the Data Protection 
Regulation becomes fully applicable  
Pursuant to Article 9(1)(b) of Regulation 2018/1725, personal data shall only be transmitted 
to recipients established in the Union other than Union institutions and bodies if  ‘[t]he 
recipient establishes that it is necessary to have the data transmitted for a specific purpose in 
                                                 
4 Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 20 December 2017 in Case C-434/16, Peter 
Nowak v Data Protection Commissioner
, request for a preliminary ruling, paragraphs 33-35, 
ECLI:EU:C:2017:994.     


 
the public interest and the controller, where there is any reason to assume that the data 
subject’s legitimate interests might be prejudiced, establishes that it is proportionate to 
transmit the personal data for that specific purpose after having demonstrably weighed the 
various competing interests’

According to Article 9(1)(b) of Regulation 2018/1725, the European Commission has to 
examine the further conditions for a lawful processing of personal data only if the first 
condition is fulfilled, namely if the recipient has established that it is necessary to have the 
data transmitted for a specific purpose in the public interest. It is only in this case that the 
European Commission has to examine whether there is a reason to assume that the data 
subject’s legitimate interests might be prejudiced and, in the affirmative, establish the 
proportionality of the transmission of the personal data for that specific purpose after having 
demonstrably weighed the various competing interests. 
In your request, you do not put forward any arguments to establish the necessity to have the 
data transmitted for a specific purpose in the public interest. Therefore, the European 
Commission does not have to examine whether there is a reason to assume that the data 
subject’s legitimate interests might be prejudiced. 
Notwithstanding the above, please note that there are reasons to assume that the legitimate 
interests of the data subjects concerned would be prejudiced by disclosure of the personal 
data reflected in the documents, as there is a real and non-hypothetical risk that such public 
disclosure would harm their privacy and subject them to unsolicited external contacts.  
Consequently, the above-mentioned parts of documents 1-8 and 12 have been blanked out. A 
written indication thereof (‘personal data') can be found next to the corresponding passages. 
With respect to document 10, which contains the CVs of representatives of companies 
invited to the meeting on illegal content on 09/01/2019, the remaining parts of the document 
after all personal data have been redacted would be meaningless. Therefore, access to this 
document must be refused5. 
c.  Protection of the ongoing decision-making process 
The second subparagraph of Article 4(3) of Regulation 1049/2001 provides that ‘access to a 
document containing opinions for internal use as part of deliberations and preliminary 
consultations within the institution concerned shall be refused even after the decision has 
been taken if disclosure of the document would seriously undermine the institution's 
decision-making process, unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure.’ 
Documents 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17 contain information about discussions between the 
Commission and the companies with regard to illegal content. The meeting to which these 
documents relate was held on 09/01/2018 under the “Chatham House” rules, meaning that 
neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may 
be revealed. This particular rule was agreed in order to allow a free exchange of views 
between the Commission and the involved companies on a sensitive topic (illegal content). 
Disclosing these passages would not only reveal the options under consideration by all actors 
and their opinions on these measures, it would also enable the general public to identify the 
authors of these statements. This would harm the Commission’s efforts for building 
constructive and open working relationships with these companies, who would most 
                                                 
5 See Judgment of the Court of first Instance of 12 July 2001 in case T-204/99, Mattila v Council and 
Commission, para. 69 


 
probably refuse to participate in future meetings held under the “Chatham House” rule or, at 
least, refrain from expressing their point of view openly.  
The Commission’s decision-making process would be harmed without the possibility to 
obtain the industry’s point of view. The companies would also be less likely to engage into a 
constructive dialogue with the Commission in order to agree on a self-regulatory approach. 
The risk of harming the future decision-making process by disclosing these documents is 
therefore real and non-hypothetical. 
The exception laid down in the first indent of Article 4(3) of Regulation 1049/2001 apply, 
unless there is an overriding public interest in the disclosure of the documents. Such an 
interest must, firstly, be a public interest and, secondly, outweigh the harm caused by 
disclosure. We have examined whether there could be an overriding public interest in the 
disclosure of this document, but we have not been able to identify such an interest. 
Considering the above, he corresponding passages of document 12 have been redacted with a 
written indication ‘decision-making process’ on the right of the document. 
We have further considered whether partial access to documents 13, 15, 16 and 17 could be 
given. However, the remaining passages after having redacted all sensitive parts harming the 
decision-making process would be meaningless. Access to these documents must therefore 
be refused. 
* * * 
Documents 1, 2 and 4 were drawn up for internal use under the responsibility of the relevant 
services of the DG CONNECT and the Vice-President’s and Commissioner’s Cabinets. They 
solely reflect the services’ interpretation of the interventions made and do not set out any 
official position of the third parties to which the document refer, which were not consulted 
on their content. They do not reflect the position of the Commission and cannot be quoted as 
such. 
Documents 3, 5-8 and 12 are internal, preparatory documents for meetings which do not 
reflect the position of the Commission and cannot be quoted as such. 
 
d.   Out of scope 
With respect to document 9, this document contains a list and description of all companies 
which were invited to the meeting of 09/01/2019 on illegal content. The remaining parts of 
the document after redaction of parts which do not fall within the scope of your request 
would be meaningless. Therefore, access to this document is refused6. 
 
4. POSSIBILITY OF CONFIRMATORY APPLICATION 
 
In accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, you are entitled to make a 
confirmatory application requesting the Commission to review the above positions.  
 
                                                 
6 See Judgment of the Court of first Instance of 12 July 2001 in case T-204/99, Mattila v Council and 
Commission, para. 69 



 
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, Document Management & Access to Documents (SG.C.1)  
BERL 5/282 
B-1049 Bruxelles 
or by email to: [Emailadresse] 
 
 
Yours sincerely, 
P.O. Claire Bury 
(e-Signed) 
 
Roberto Viola 
 
Enclosures: 11 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Electronically signed on 08/05/2019 18:48 (UTC+02) in accordance with article 4.2 (Validity of electronic documents) of Commission Decision 2004/563