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Access to information regarding total allowable catches (TACs) of EU fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic discussed and adopted on 16 and 17 December 2019, and exemptions from the landing obligation

We're waiting for Anne Friel to read recent responses and update the status.

Dear DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries,

In accordance with Article 2 of Regulation 1049/2001 and Article 3 of Regulation 1367/2001, ClientEarth would like to have access to the following information related to the total allowable catches (TACs) for fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic for 2020:

1. Any records, minutes or notes of meetings/discussions that took place between the Commission and the Member State representatives on the TACs for 2020, including any minutes or notes of Council working party/ministerial meetings taken by Commission staff, and any internal Commission briefings on the subject. We do not seek access to the Commission's legislative proposals for the 2020 TACs, unless such documents are annotated and/or contain negotiation directives. We also do not seek access to the documents that are publicly available in the Council’s document register, filed under interinstitutional code 2019/0235 (NLE) at the date of this request.

2. A full table of all proposed and agreed quota adjustments (such as those previously referred to as quota top-ups or any deductions) to account for a) catches that could be discarded before the introduction of the landing obligation, but now will have to be landed and b) exemptions from the landing obligation (in tonnes and %), and TACs before the adjustments (top-ups or deductions) were applied;

3. A detailed description of the methodology used to calculate quota adjustments (top-ups or deductions) insofar it differs from the approach taken last year, as explained in documents available at https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/6376... letter Helene Clark to chairs Redacted.pdf.pdf and https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/6376... 2019 and Top downs Presentation to AT Pres and MS Redacted.pdf.pdf

4. The calculations that the proposed and agreed quota adjustments (top-ups or deductions) were based on, ideally in Excel spreadsheet format. Please note that we have already received access to the following documents from the Council and do not require to receive these again from the Commission:
• WK 11790/2019 ADD 1 of 25/10/2019: Proposal for a Council Regulation fixing for 2020 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters - Calculation Tables for 2020 Discard Plan Exemptions and Deductions.
• WK 11790/2019 INIT of 25/10/2019: Proposal for a Council Regulation fixing for 2020 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters - Calculation Tables for 2020 Discard Plan Exemptions and Deductions.
These documents seem to contain the Commission’s quota adjustment calculations (and the proposed adjustments) and tables from the STECF regarding the discard data per exemption which these calculations are based on. We particularly seek access to the Commission’s calculations in Excel format and any updates that might have been drawn up by the Commission after 25 October 2019, as well as the calculations regarding the final adjustments agreed by the Council insofar these differ from the calculations and results presented in the above-mentioned documents.

5. We would also like to have access to any documents relating to exemptions from the landing obligation for 2020 in the North Sea, North Western Waters and South Western Waters in the period between the STECF’s Expert Working Group 19-08 of June 2019 and the Commission’s adoption of the discard plans in October 2020, including any correspondence between the Commission and the Member States and any records, minutes or notes of meetings/discussions that took place between the Commission and the Member States regarding this matter.

In the interests of good administration, ClientEarth requests that the response clearly identifies the documents in the Commission’s possession in relation to each of these categories and clearly indicates to which category the disclosed documents relate.

Yours faithfully,

Anne Friel
Lawyer - Environmental Democracy
ClientEarth
60 Avenue du Trone
1050 Brussels

Jenni Grossmann
Science and Policy Advisor - Fisheries
ClientEarth

CARDOSO PINTO Filipa, Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

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[4]Ares(2020)462102 - GESTDEM 2020/0450 - ACKR

Sent by CARDOSO PINTO Filipa (MARE) <[email address]>.
All responses have to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par CARDOSO PINTO Filipa (MARE)
<[email address]>. Toutes les réponses doivent être
effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Madam,

 

Thank you for your email dated 23/01/2020.  We hereby acknowledge receipt
of your application for access to documents, which was registered on
24/02/2020 under reference number GestDem 2020/0450.

 

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, your application
will be handled within 15 working days. The time limit will expire on
14/02/2020.  In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be
informed in due course.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

MARE ACCESS DOCUMENTS team

 

References

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4. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...

ve_mare.acces.documents (MARE), Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

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[4]Ares(2020)789213 - Your application for access to documents – Ref
GestDem No 2020/0450

Sent by ve_mare.acces.documents (MARE)
<[email address]>. All responses have to be sent to this
email address.
Envoyé par ve_mare.acces.documents (MARE)
<[email address]>. Toutes les réponses doivent être
effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Madam,

We refer to your request dated 23/01/2020 in which you make a request for
access to documents, registered on 24/01/2020 under the above mentioned
reference number.

Your application is currently being handled. However, we will not be in a
position to complete the handling of your application within the time
limit of 15 working days, which expires on 14/02/2020.

An extended time limit is needed as your application. In order to retrieve
the documents requested, large files have to be examined.

 

Therefore, we have to extend the time limit with 15 working days in
accordance with Article 7(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding
public access to documents. The new time limit expires on 06/03/2020.

We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.

Yours faithfully,

MARE ACCES DOCUMENTS

 

References

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ve_mare.acces.documents (MARE), Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

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[4]Ares(2020)1410140 - your GestDem request 2020/0450

Sent by ve_mare.acces.documents (MARE)
<[email address]>. All responses have to be sent to this
email address.
Envoyé par ve_mare.acces.documents (MARE)
<[email address]>. Toutes les réponses doivent être
effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Ms Friel,

 

Please find attached reply to your request GestDem 202/0450. Please note
that the cover letter will be send to you via registered mail, the annexes
will be send electronically only.

 

Please note that as the number of annex documents is high, we need to send
more than one email with annex documents attached.

 

Best regards.

 

MARE ACCESS DOCUMENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

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2. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
3. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
4. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...

Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Friel,

 

Please find attached reply to your request GestDem 202/0450. Please note
that the cover letter will be send to you via registered mail, the annexes
will be send electronically only.

 

Please note that as the number of annex documents is high, we need to send
more than one email with annex documents attached.

 

Best regards.

 

MARE ACCESS DOCUMENTS

 

 

Dear Maritime Affairs and Fisheries,
Thank you for your response and the files you have sent. Unfortunately, we have not managed top open some of the files in the second zipped file you sent. Specifically, we cannot open the following files:
Ares(2019)4908673 Annex v2 Hiden informaton removed
Ares(2019)4908673 Updating Discard Plan after Scientific Assessment
Ares(2019)5095653 2nd Revised JR for amendment of North Sea discard plan
Ares(2019)5095653 Email from Schevening Group re 2nd Revised JR
Ares(2019)5095653 Letter to Mr Friess on 2nd Revised JR for amendment of the NS demersal discard plan redact
Ares(2019)5131646 3rd Revised JR for amendment of NS discard plan 07.082019_redacted
Ares(2019)5131646 Email re 3rd revised JR-redacted
Ares(2019)5159823 2019-08-08_JR NWW 2020-21_rev2
Ares(2019)5159823 Email_Redacted
Ares(2019)5159823 Letter to Commission on JR NWW_8th of Aug 2019
Ares(2019)5242485 Email to JR NWW 29072019_redacted
Ares(2019)5242485 Letter to Commission on JR NWW_29th of July 2019
Ares(2019)5266596 Email transmitting the JR of SWW_redacted
Ares(2019)5266596 Joint Recommendation of South Western Waters _2020-2021 Rev 09-08
Ares(2019)5369980 2019-08-22_JR NWW 2020-21_rev3v2_Redacted
Ares(2019)5369980 Emailing transmistting 3rd revised JR NWW_Redacted
GestDem 2020-0450 list of documents Categories 1&5

We would be grateful if you could send these documents again at your earliest convenience.

Yours faithfully,
Anne Friel

Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

7 Attachments

  • Attachment

    Ares 2019 4908673 Annex v2 hidden information removed.pdf.pdf

    2.0M Download View as HTML

  • Attachment

    Ares 2019 4908673 Updating Discard Plan after Scientific Assessment v2 Redacted.pdf.pdf

    153K Download View as HTML

  • Attachment

    Ares 2019 5095653 2nd Revised JR for amendment of North Sea discard plan 01.08.2019 Redacted v2.pdf.pdf

    932K Download View as HTML

  • Attachment

    Ares 2019 5095653 Email from Schevening Group re 2nd revised JR Redacted.pdf.pdf

    233K Download View as HTML

  • Attachment

    Ares 2019 5095653Letter to Mr.Friess on 2nd revised JR for amendment of the NS demersal discardplan redact.pdf.pdf

    36K Download View as HTML

  • Attachment

    Ares 2019 5131646 3rd Revised JR for amendment of NS discard plan 07.08.2019 Redacted v2.pdf.pdf

    930K Download View as HTML

  • Attachment

    Ares 2019 5131646 Email re 3rd revised JR Redacted.pdf.pdf

    94K Download View as HTML

Dear Ms Friel,

Here are the first seven documents.

Zitate anzeigen

Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

5 Attachments

Second batch

Zitate anzeigen

Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

4 Attachments

  • Attachment

    Ares 2019 5266596 Email transmitting the JR of SWW Redacted.pdf.pdf

    1.3M Download View as HTML

  • Attachment

    Ares 2019 5266596 Joint Recommendation of the South Western Waters 2020 2021 Rev 09 08v2.docx Redacted.pdf.pdf

    528K Download View as HTML

  • Attachment

    Ares 2019 5369980 2019 08 22 JR NWW 2020 21 rev3v2.docx Redacted.pdf.pdf

    649K Download View as HTML

  • Attachment

    Ares 2019 5369980 Email transmitting 3rd revised JR NWW Redacted.pdf.pdf

    91K Download View as HTML

Third batch

Zitate anzeigen

Dear Maritime Affairs and Fisheries,
Thank you for your prompt reaction. Would it also be possible to send the final document, Gest Dem 2020-0450 list of documents Categories 1 & 5?

Many thanks!
Anne Friel

Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Friel,

Apologies for coming back to you only now.

Is this the document you are referring to ?

MARE ACCES DOCUMENTS

Zitate anzeigen

Dear Sir/madam,

RE: Confirmatory application in relation to the Commission's decision not to disclose information on total allowable catches (TACs) of EU fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic discussed and adopted on 16 and 17 December 2019, and exemptions from the landing obligation

In accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding public access to European Parliament Council and Commission documents (the "Regulation"), ClientEarth hereby submits a confirmatory application with regard to the Commission's initial reply to its request for documents with reference GestDem 2020/0450 relating to the adoption of the fishing opportunities for the Northeast Atlantic for 2020 under Article 16 of Regulation (EC) No 1380/2013 and exemptions from the landing obligation.

On 23 January 2020 ClientEarth requested access to the following information related to the total allowable catches (TACs) for fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic for 2020:

1. "Any records, minutes or notes of meetings/discussions that took place between the Commission and the Member State representatives on the TACs for 2020, including any minutes or notes of Council working party/ministerial meetings taken by Commission staff, and any internal Commission briefings on the subject. We do not seek access to the Commission's legislative proposals for the 2020 TACs, unless such documents are annotated and/or contain negotiation directives. We also do not seek access to the documents that are publicly available in the Council’s document register, filed under interinstitutional code 2019/0235 (NLE) at the date of this request.

2. A full table of all proposed and agreed quota adjustments (such as those previously referred to as quota top-ups or any deductions) to account for a) catches that could be discarded before the introduction of the landing obligation, but now will have to be landed and b) exemptions from the landing obligation (in tonnes and %), and TACs before the adjustments (top-ups or deductions) were applied;

3. A detailed description of the methodology used to calculate quota adjustments (top-ups or deductions) insofar it differs from the approach taken last year, as explained in documents available at https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/6376... letter Helene Clark to chairs Redacted.pdf.pdf and https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/6376... 2019 and Top downs Presentation to AT Pres and MS Redacted.pdf.pdf

4. The calculations that the proposed and agreed quota adjustments (top-ups or deductions) were based on, ideally in Excel spreadsheet format. Please note that we have already received access to the following documents from the Council and do not require to receive these again from the Commission:
• WK 11790/2019 ADD 1 of 25/10/2019: Proposal for a Council Regulation fixing for 2020 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters - Calculation Tables for 2020 Discard Plan Exemptions and Deductions.
• WK 11790/2019 INIT of 25/10/2019: Proposal for a Council Regulation fixing for 2020 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters - Calculation Tables for 2020 Discard Plan Exemptions and Deductions.
These documents seem to contain the Commission’s quota adjustment calculations (and the proposed adjustments) and tables from the STECF regarding the discard data per exemption which these calculations are based on. We particularly seek access to the Commission’s calculations in Excel format and any updates that might have been drawn up by the Commission after 25 October 2019, as well as the calculations regarding the final adjustments agreed by the Council insofar these differ from the calculations and results presented in the above-mentioned documents.

5. We would also like to have access to any documents relating to exemptions from the landing obligation for 2020 in the North Sea, North Western Waters and South Western Waters in the period between the STECF’s Expert Working Group 19-08 of June 2019 and the Commission’s adoption of the discard plans in October 2020, including any correspondence between the Commission and the Member States and any records, minutes or notes of meetings/discussions that took place between the Commission and the Member States regarding this matter."

The Commission replied on 7 February 2020, extending the deadline by a further 15 working days to 6 March 2020. On 6 March the Commission sent its initial decision (the "Initial Decision") disclosing a large number of files. It also stated that it did not hold any documents relating to points 2 and 4 of the request. Finally, it decided not to disclose the following information: personal information contained in documents under points 1 and 5 of the request in accordance with Article 4(1)(b) of the Regulation; part of the document under point 1 on the basis of Article 4(3), second subparagraph of the Regulation.

ClientEarth hereby requests a re-examination of the Initial Decision on the following grounds:

FAILURE TO FULLY DISCLOSE COMMISSION RECORDS OF DISCUSSIONS AT THE AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES COUNCIL OF 16 AND 17 DECEMBER 2019

The Initial Decision seems to indicate that there is only one document within its possession that would fall under point 1 of the request, i.e. the Commission's report of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of 16 and 17 December 2019. And indeed we only received one document that contains Member State positions on the TACs Regulation. However, there is some confusion in the Initial Decision because it also refers to documents in the plural, e.g. "The opinions included in these documents only reflect the understanding of the authors of the positions of the Members states expressed during the early stages of the negotiations and they were drafted under the legitimate expectation that they would not be made public." (emphasis added). In addition this sentence does not seem to apply to the one document disclosed, which does not seem to relate to the early stages of the negotiations. Therefore, we would first ask for clarification on this point.

The Initial Decision states that the parts of the document that were redacted (as well as other documents that may not have been disclosed or identified in the Initial Decision) are covered by the exception in Article 4(3) of the Regulation, second subparagraph. The redacted parts of the document "contain the description of the positions of the Member States, as well as the opinions thereon of the representatives of the European Commission, expressed during the negotiating phase, preceding the adoption of the decision on total allowable catch in December 2019."

According to the Initial Decision, the Commission was entitled to apply the exception because the document was drafted for internal purposes under the understanding that it would not be made public. Also, because it includes opinions that "reflect the understanding of the author of the positions of the Member States expressed during early stages of the negotiations". The Commission explains that "[f]or the negotiations to have a successful outcome, it is essential that there is an atmosphere of mutual trust between the negotiating parties and that the frank exchange of views in a preparatory phase of Commission officials can be protected from public disclosure." In addition to this, although the decision-making procedure has come to an end, the process of fixing fishing opportunities continues throughout the year.
These reasons do not meet the legal standard required by the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) for the application of the exception in Article 4(3) of the Regulation.
According to that consistent case law, “if an EU institution hearing a request for access to a document decides to refuse to grant that request on the basis of one of the exceptions laid down in Article 4 of Regulation No 1049/2001, it must, in principle, explain how access to that document could specifically and actually undermine the interest protected by that exception." Moreover, the risk of the interest being so undermined must be reasonably foreseeable and must not be purely hypothetical. (C 280/11 P, Council v Access Info Europe, para. 31 and the case-law cited.) The present decision does not give any explanation of why disclosure of Member State and Commission positions would “specifically and actually” undermine the decision-making process for setting fishing opportunities in the NorthEast Atlantic. The Initial Decision does not refer to any specific consequences, let alone to any consequences that could be considered as not being “merely hypothetical”.

More specifically with regard to Art. 4(3) of the Regulation, the CJEU has made clear that there is a high threshold to justify its application. For instance, it clarified that "[…] the mere reference to a risk of negative repercussions linked to access to internal documents and the possibility that interested parties may influence the procedure do not suffice to prove that disclosure of those documents would seriously undermine the decision-making process of the institution concerned." (C-60/15 P Saint-Gobain Glass v Commission, para. 83.) This requirement is an expression of the general principle that exceptions "must be interpreted and applied strictly" because they "depart from the principle of the widest possible public access to documents." (C 64/05 P Sweden v Commission, para. 66, C 506/08 P Sweden v MyTravel and Commission, para. 75 and C-60/15 P Saint-Gobain Glass v Commission, para. 63.)
The threshold is further increased by the fact that the document in question is a legislative document that contains environmental information.

Article 12(2) of Regulation 1049/2001 provides a clear definition of "legislative documents", that is "documents drawn up or received in the course of procedures for the adoption of acts which are legally binding in or for the Member States". The document at issue meets this definition because it was drawn up in the course of the procedure for the adoption of the TACs Regulation, which is legally binding in and for the Member States.

Furthermore, the Aarhus Regulation defines "environmental information" as, inter alia:
1. "any information in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form on:
2. …
3. (iii) measures (including administrative measures), such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements, and activities affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in points (i) and (ii) as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements".
The elements referred to in point (i) are:

4. "the state of the elements of the environment, such as air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms, and the interaction among these elements."

The document contains information about the TACs for 2020, which regulate the exploitation of stocks of fish and other marine species. Therefore, they have a direct impact on biological diversity in coastal and marine areas. As such, it contains "environmental information" within the meaning of the Aarhus Regulation.

Based on the second sentence of Art. 6(1) of Regulation 1367/2006, read in light of recital 15 thereof, the exception in Art. 4(3) of the Regulation is accordingly "to be interpreted in a restrictive way as regards environmental information, taking into account the public interest served by disclosure of the requested information, thereby aiming for greater transparency in respect of that information" (C-57/16 P ClientEarth v Commission, para. 100). Therefore, the requirement to interpret the exceptions to disclosure restrictively "is all the more compelling where the documents communication of which is requested contain environmental information" (C-60/15 P Saint-Gobain Glass v Commission, para. 78). Accordingly, the justification for non-disclosure provided by the Commission should have equally been more compelling.
The justification provided in the decision does not meet the high standard of justification that follows from the Court's jurisprudence summarized above.

It is also relevant that to have access to positions taken by Member States is of fundamental importance to ensure transparent and democratic decision-making, rather than undermining a decision-making procedure. Citizens have a right to know what positions Member State governments take on EU level in order to ensure that they can be held accountable at national level. In the absence of such transparency, Member State governments can blame EU decision-making procedures, without admitting to their own contribution, thus further fuelling Euroscepticism.

In any case, it should be noted that there is already public access to the so-called bible through the Council's documents register, which records the Member State positions during the negotiations prior to the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 16 and 17 December 2020. Therefore, it is very unclear how access to the Commission's record could undermine the decision-making process.
In summary, the Initial Decision fails to adequately justify non-disclosure of the statements of individual Member States and the Commission based on Art. 4(3), second paragraph, of the Regulation and these parts of the document should therefore be disclosed.

FAILURE TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO COMMISSION RECORDS OF RELEVANT COUNCIL PREPARATORY MEETINGS
We are also concerned that the Commission has failed to identify any records within its possession of Council working party or COREPER meetings, such documents having been made available to us in previous years (e.g. https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/5394..., https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/5394...). As noted above, the Initial Decision also seems to refer to documents that record the positions of Member States and the Commission at earlier points in the negotiations than the December Council. As confirmed by the CJEU (Case T-653/16 Malta v Commission, para. 63), it is well-established practice for the Secretary-General to verify as part of the assessment of a confirmatory application whether all documents falling under the scope of the request have been identified at the initial stage. This is especially the case where the applicant, as in this confirmatory application, contests that the initial list of documents was complete. ClientEarth therefore requests the General Secretary to conduct such a verification of the scope of the initial request.
If the Commission is not in possession of records of Council working party and COREPER meetings, ClientEarth submits that failure to record such meetings infringes EU transparency rules.
As stated above, records of working party and COREPER meetings regarding fishing opportunities constitute legislative documents containing environmental information, which enjoy a stricter application of the EU's transparency rules. The transparency obligations enshrined in Article 10(3) TEU, Article 15(3) TFEU, Regulation 1049/2001 and Regulation 1367/2006 are contingent on the institutions drawing up and retaining documents relating to their functions. Institutions cannot simply frustrate the right to access documents by failing to document their activities in sufficient detail. In case T-264/04 WWF European Policy Programme v the Council of the European Union, the Court of First Instance held that “it would be contrary to the requirement of transparency which underlies Regulation No 1049/2001 for institutions to rely on the fact that documents do not exist in order to avoid the application of that regulation. In order that the right of access to documents may be exercised effectively, the institutions concerned must, in so far as possible and in a non-arbitrary and predictable manner, draw up and retain documentation relating to their activities.”

Contrary to the present case, in Case T-264/04, the Court of First Instance held that it could not be concluded that the Council, in claiming that minutes of the first agenda item of its Article 133 Committee meeting did not exist, acted in an arbitrary or unpredictable manner. The Court came to this conclusion owing to the “purely informative nature of that item at the meeting and the fact that it did not call for any specific implementing measure”. The same conclusion cannot be applied to the Commission's failure to draw up and retain a record of the discussions leading to the unanimous political agreement for a Regulation which, in many respects, departs significantly from its proposal and which requires implementing legislation at national level.

OVERRIDING PUBLIC INTEREST IN DISCLOSURE

Even if the exception in the second subparagraph of Article 4(3) of the Regulation did apply to the Member State and Commission positions recorded in Commission notes of Council meetings, there is an overriding public interest in their disclosure.

The Commission’s proposed TACs take account of the scientific advice provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), and have the objective of bringing the stocks above levels that can deliver MSY by achieving the corresponding MSY exploitation rates by "2015 where possible and on a progressive and incremental basis at the latest by 2020". Recital 7 to the CFP Basic Regulation states that, "Achieving those exploitation rates by a later date should be allowed only if achieving them by 2015 would seriously jeopardise the social and economic sustainability of the fishing fleets involved." Therefore, in order for EU citizens to be able to scrutinise and hold their national politicians to account for the role they play in respecting the 2020 MSY deadline, it is necessary to have access to the positions they defend during the negotiations.

FAILURE TO DISCLOSE DOCUMENTS RELATING TO AGREED QUOTA DEDUCTIONS (POINT 2 OF THE REQUEST)

ClientEarth appreciates the information relating to the proposed quota deductions (to account for exemption discards) which we received from the Council (the documents entitled 'WK 11790/2019 INIT' and 'WK 11790/2019 ADD 1'). However, like last year, we are concerned that the Commission has not provided any information relating to the agreed quota deductions.

Access to information on the agreed deductions is crucial to reliably assess whether the agreed TACs (after deductions have been applied) are in line with scientific advice. The TAC Regulation itself only contains the final agreed TACs, without the applied deduction amount being specified. Therefore, a list of the proposed and agreed deductions as well as the TACs before the adjustments were applied, is particularly important to allow at least a direct comparison of the ‘pre-adjustment TACs’ with the relevant ICES landings or catch advice, respectively.

If the Commission does not possess documents containing such calculations, could you confirm that the same proposed deduction percentage was applied to the agreed TACs?

We also note that for a number of stocks the Commission's proposal and the agreed TACs appear to follow the total scientific catch advice (i.e. no deductions were made), even though the stock is subject to exemptions. Examples include sole in area 7h-k and in the western Channel and boarfish (SOL/7HJK., SOL/07E., BOR/678-), for which the TACs were proposed and set at the total catch advice of 213 t, 1478 t and 19152 t, respectively, even though they fall under de minimis exemptions specified in the North and South Western Waters demersal discard plans (Art. 8(c) and (d) of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/2034 and Art. 6(k) of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/2033).) Failing to apply deductions to account for anticipated dead exemption discards means that such TACs allow for unsustainable exploitation since such discards beyond the TAC level can continue. Could you confirm that no deductions were made for these stocks, and whether this means that the discards anticipated under the relevant exemptions were considered negligible?

We confirm that this confirmatory application does not concern the redaction of personal information under Article 4(1)(b) of the Regulation.

Yours faithfully,

Anne Friel
Lawyer - Environmental Democracy
ClientEarth
60 Avenue du Trone
1050 Brussels

Jenni Grossmann
Science and Policy Advisor - Fisheries
ClientEarth

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

[1]Ares(2020)1815970 - FW: Internal review of access to documents request
- Access to information regarding total allowable catches (TACs) of EU
fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic discussed and adopted on 16 and 17
December 2019, and exemptions from the landing obligation

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Madam,

Thank you for your email dated 27/03/2020 by which you request, pursuant
to Regulation No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament,
Council and Commission documents, a review of the position taken by DG
MARE in reply to your initial application GESTDEM 2020/450.

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents which was registered on 30/03/2020 (Ares(2020)1815804).

Your application will be handled within 15 working days (23/04/2020). In
case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due
course.

Please be informed that the answer to your confirmatory application is a
formal Commission decision that will be notified to you by express
delivery. Thank you for providing your contact phone number, so that the
external delivery service can contact you in case of absence.

Please note that the Commission will not use your phone number for any
other purpose than for informing the delivery service, and that it will
delete it immediately thereafter.

Yours faithfully,

Access to documents team (RC)
SG.C.1
Transparency

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ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

1 Attachment

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
Link: [3]themeData
Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

[5]Ares(2020)2203462 - Your confirmatory application for access to
documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 – GESTDEM 2020/0450

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Ms Friel,

We refer to your email of  27 March 2020, registered on 30 March 2020, by
which you submit a confirmatory application in accordance with Article
7(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents[6]^[1] ("Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001").

 

Your confirmatory application is currently being handled. Unfortunately,
we have not yet been able to gather all the elements needed to carry out a
full analysis of your request and to take a final decision.  Therefore, we
are not in a position to reply to your confirmatory request within the
prescribed time limit which expires on 23 April 2020. Consequently, we
have to extend this period by another 15 working days in accordance with
Article 8(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.

 

However, we can assure you that we are doing our utmost to provide you
with a final reply within the next 15 working days. We regret this
additional delay and sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may
cause.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

María OLIVÁN AVILÉS
Head of Unit

[7]cid:image001.gif@01D13362.41D673C0

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit C.1 (Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents)

 

 

------------------------

[8][1]               Official Journal L 145 of 31.5.2001, p. 43.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D61980.1DA529C0
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...
6. file:///tmp/foiextract20200423-6871-1sh96l0#_ftn1
8. file:///tmp/foiextract20200423-6871-1sh96l0#_ftnref1

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

1 Attachment

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
Link: [3]themeData
Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

[5]Ares(2020)2567315 - Your confirmatory application for access to
documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 – GESTDEM 2020/450

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Ms Friel,

 

We refer to your email of  27 March 2020, registered on 30 March 2020, by
which you submitted a confirmatory application in accordance with Article
7(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents[1] ("Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001"). We also refer to our first holding letter of 23 April 2020 by
which the time limit for replying to your confirmatory application was
extended by 15 working days, pursuant to Article 8(2) of the Regulation.
This extended time limit expires on 15 May 2020.

 

We regret to have to inform you that we will not be able to respond within
the extended time-limit. As mentioned in our first holding reply, we have
not yet been able to gather all the elements needed to carry out a full
analysis of your request and to take a final decision. 

 

However, we can assure you that we are doing our utmost to provide you
with a final reply as soon as possible. We regret this additional delay
and sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

María OLIVÁN AVILÉS
Head of Unit

[6]cid:image001.gif@01D13362.41D673C0

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit C.1 (Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents)

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D62AA6.86294E40
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...

Dear Maritime Affairs and Fisheries,

The deadline for your response to our confirmatory application expired more than one month ago. Would it be possible to let me know when I can expect your response?

Yours faithfully,

Anne Friel

ve_mare.acces.documents (MARE), Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

[1]Ares(2020)3289688 - RE: access to documents request - Access to
information regarding total allowable catches (TACs) of EU fish stocks in
the Northeast Atlantic discussed and adopted on 16 and 17 December 2019,
and exemptions from the landing obligation

Sent by ve_mare.acces.documents (MARE)
<[email address]>. All responses have to be sent to this
email address.
Envoyé par ve_mare.acces.documents (MARE)
<[email address]>. Toutes les réponses doivent être
effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Ms Friel,

We have forwarded your request to SG CONFIRMATORY APPLICATIONS, which is
dealing with confirmatory requests.

Regards.

MARE ACCES DOCUMENTS

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ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

[1]Ares(2020)3301501 - FW: access to documents request - Access to
information regarding total allowable catches (TACs) of EU fish stocks in
the Northeast Atlantic discussed and adopted on 16 and 17 December 2019,
and exemptions from the landing obligation

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. All
responses have to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. Toutes
les réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Ms. Friel,

Thank you for your message.

We would like to assure you that we are fully working on the decision in
relation to your request, which is in the process of being internally
approved. Considering that these internal consultations in relation to
your file are not yet finalised, unfortunately we cannot commit to a
specific deadline. We would like to assure you that and we are doing our
utmost to provide you with a reply as soon as possible.

Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.

Kind regards,

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM (MN)
European Commission
Secretariat-General
SG C.1 – Transparency, Document Management
& Access to documents
[email address]

Zitate anzeigen

Dear Sir/Madam,

The Commission's confirmatory decision in respect of our request to access documents was due on 15 May, over three months ago. The lack of reasoned response is a serious failure to meet the Commission's legal obligations under Regulation 1049/2001, as well as Articles 41 and 42 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Please could you advise on when we can expect to receive your response.

Yours faithfully,

Anne Friel
Lawyer, ClientEarth

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

[1]Ares(2020)4565672 - RE: Ares(2020)3301501 - FW: access to documents
request - Access to information regarding total allowable catches (TACs)
of EU fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic discussed and adopted on 16
and 17 December 2019, and exemptions from the landing oblig...

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Ms Friel,

Thank you for your e-mail.

We would like to inform you that we have finalised our assessment
regarding your confirmatory application. However, the final decision still
needs to be approved by our hierarchy.

We hope to provide you with the final reply as soon as possible.

Please accept our apologies once again for the inconvenience this delay
may cause to you.

Kind regards,

Access to documents team
SG.C.1
Transparency

Zitate anzeigen

Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

8 Attachments

Dear Ms FRIEL Anne,

 

Please find the documents attached to this mail.

 

Kind regards.

 

 

BEVIERE Chantal

 

European Commission

Secrétariat général de la Commission – Greffe B-2
Procédures écrites, habilitations, délégations et transmissions externes

B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

+32 2-295.77.42

[1][email address]

 

[2]cid:image016.jpg@01D041FE.EC4221C0[3]cid:image017.jpg@01D041FE.EC4221C0[4]cid:image018.jpg@01D041FE.EC4221C0

   Your tool  | Our help

 

From: SG GREFFE CERTIFICATION <[email address]>
Sent: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 12:40 PM
To: [email address]
Cc: BALSA GARCIA Maria Del Carmen (SG) <[email address]>
Subject: C(2020) 6216 addressed to ClientEarth

 

Dear Ms FRIEL Anne,

 

Please find attached the electronic version of Commission Decision C(2020)
6216 as adopted by the European Commission on 07.09.2020.

 

Given the exceptional circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the
formal notification of the decision under Article 297 TFEU is being made
only in electronic form.

 

Please confirm receipt of the attached document by return e-mail.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

BEVIERE Chantal

 

European Commission

Secrétariat général de la Commission – Greffe B-2
Procédures écrites, habilitations, délégations et transmissions externes

B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

+32 2-295.77.42

[5][email address]

 

[6][IMG][7][IMG]

   Your tool  | Our help

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. https://intragate.ec.europa.eu/decide/sep
4. https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/fpfis/wikis...
5. mailto:[email address]
6. https://intragate.ec.europa.eu/decide/sep
7. https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/fpfis/wikis...

Generaldirektion Maritime Angelegenheiten und Fischerei

9 Attachments

Dear Ms FRIEL Anne,

 

It is very important for us.

 

Please, could you please acknowledge the receipt of the document enclosed
in the message addressed to you ?

 

 

BEVIERE Chantal

 

European Commission

Secrétariat général de la Commission – Greffe B-2
Procédures écrites, habilitations, délégations et transmissions externes

B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

+32 2-295.77.42

[1][email address]

 

[2][IMG][3][IMG]

   Your tool  | Our help

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. https://intragate.ec.europa.eu/decide/sep
3. https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/fpfis/wikis...

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