Correspondence between Mr. Juncker and Spanish Government

Ihre Anfrage war teilweise erfolgreich.

Dear Secretariat General,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:

- All correspondence (including letters, emails, phonelogs, minutes of meetings...) between the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker or his cabinet since November 1st 2014 with:

-Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy or his cabinet.

- Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría or her cabinet.

-Spanish Minister of Economy Luis de Guindos or his cabinet.

Yours faithfully,

Jesús Escudero
​Vía de las Dos Castillas, 33. Ática 7. Planta 1. Oficinas E, F, G y H.
28224 Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid)

Generalsekretariat der Europäischen Kommission

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Escudero,
 
Thank you for your request for access to documents.
Unfortunately you have not indicated your postal address that is required
for registering and handling your request in line with the procedural
requirements. Please send us your full postal address at your earliest
convenience. Pending your reply, we reserve the right to refuse the
registration of your request.
You may, of course, use directly the electronic form for entering your
request:
[1]http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/...
 
Best regards,
 
ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM
European Commission
Secretariat General
Unit B4 - Transparency
 
 

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Dear Secretariat General,

This is my postal address:

​Vía de las Dos Castillas, 33. Ática 7. Planta 1. Oficinas E, F, G y H.
28224 Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid)

Yours faithfully,

Jesús Escudero

Generalsekretariat der Europäischen Kommission

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Escudero,
 
On 1 April 2014, the postal address became a mandatory feature for the
purpose of introducing a request for access to documents.
 
The decision to ask for a postal address from applicants for access to
documents was triggered by the following considerations:
 
•       The need to obtain legal certainty as regards the date of receipt
of the reply by the applicant under Regulation 1049/2001. Indeed, as
foreseen by Article 297 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European
Union (TFEU), […] decisions which specify to whom they are addressed,
shall be notified to those to whom they are addressed and shall take
effect upon such notification. Replies triggering the possibility for
administrative or judicial redress are therefore transmitted via
registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt. This requires an
indication of a valid postal address by the applicant;
 
•       The need to direct the Commission's scarce resources first of all
to those requests which have been filed by "real" applicants. With only a
compulsory indication of an e-mail address, applicants can easily
introduce requests under an invented identity or under the identity of a
third person. Asking for a postal address helps the Commission to protect
the administration, as well as other citizens and legal persons, from
abuse;
 
•       For similar reasons, asking for a compulsory indication of a
postal address enables the Commission services to verify whether Article
6(3) of the Regulation, on voluminous requests, is being evaded by
introducing several requests under different identities. Indeed, in its
Ryanair judgment, the General Court confirmed that Article 6(3) cannot be
evaded by splitting the application into a number of applications. The
Commission would like to point out that, in 2012/2013, it received some 57
confirmatory requests from what it suspects to be one single applicant
operating under 13 different identities;
 
•       Knowing whether the applicant is an EU resident in the sense of
Article 2(1) of Regulation 1049/2001 is a precondition for the purpose of
correctly applying the exception in Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation
1049/2001 (protection of the privacy and integrity of the individual),
which has to be interpreted in accordance with Data Protection Regulation
45/2001. Article 9 of Regulation 45/2001 requires the adequacy of the
level of protection afforded by the third country or international
organisation when transmitting personal data to third-country residents or
legal persons. It follows that, in case of requests for documents which
include personal data, the correct application of the data protection
rules cannot be ensured in the absence of a postal address enabling the
Commission to ascertain that the minimum data protection standards will be
respected.
 
All of these considerations show that the request for and the consequent
processing of a postal address is not only appropriate but also strictly
necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest
within the meaning of Article 5 (a) of Data Protection Regulation 45/2001,
namely providing a smooth and effective access to documents.
 
Best regards,
 
ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM
European Commission
Secretariat General
Unit B4 - Transparency
 
 
 
 

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Dear Secretariat General,

I write the address again:

​Vía de las Dos Castillas, 33. Ática 7.
Planta 1. Oficinas E, F, G y H.
28224 Pozuelo de Alarcón
Madrid

Yours faithfully,

Jesús Escudero

Generalsekretariat der Europäischen Kommission

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Escudero,
 
Thank you for your e-mail  dated 25/10/2016.  We hereby acknowledge
receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered
on 26/10/2016 under GESTDEM 2016/5992 reference
 
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
18/11/2016. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be
informed in due course.
 
You have lodged your application via the AsktheEU.org website. Please note
that this is a private website which has no link with any institution of
the European Union. Therefore the European Commission cannot be held
accountable for any technical issues or problems linked to the use of this
system.

 
Yours faithfully,
 
ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM
European Commission
Secretariat General
Unit B4 – Transparency
 

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Generalsekretariat der Europäischen Kommission

Dear Mr Escudero,

We refer to your e-mail dated 25 October 2016 in which you make a request for access to documents, registered on 26 October 2016, under the above mentioned reference number.

The description given in your application is very broad and does not enable us to identify concrete documents which would correspond to your request.

We therefore invite you, pursuant to Article 6(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents, to provide us with more detailed information on the documents which you seek to obtain, such as:

- subject matter,
- dates or periods during which the documents would have been produced.

The 15-working-day time limit for handling your application will start running when we receive the requested clarifications.

Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Yours sincerely,

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM (PS)
European Commission
Secretariat General
Unit SG.B4 – Transparency

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Dear Secretariat General,

As I said in my first email, I request all correspondence (including letters, emails, phonelogs, minutes of meetings...) between the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker or his cabinet since November 1st 2014 with:

-Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy or his cabinet.

- Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría or her cabinet.

-Spanish Minister of Economy Luis de Guindos or his cabinet.

I remember that, if my application concerns a large number of documents, the EC could extend the time limit with 15 working days in accordance with Article 7(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.

Yours faithfully,

Jesús Escudero

Generalsekretariat der Europäischen Kommission

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Escudero,

 

Please find attached a letter regarding your application for access to
documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 - Gestdem 2016/5992.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM (PS)

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit SG.B4 – Transparency

Generalsekretariat der Europäischen Kommission

Dear Mr Escudero,

 

I refer to your e-mail dated 31 October 2016 in which you provided
clarifications regarding the scope of your request for access to
documents, registered on the same day under the above mentioned reference
number.

 

Your application is currently being handled. Unfortunately, the treatment
of your request has not yet been finalised.

 

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

 

Yours sincerely,

 

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM (PS)

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit SG.B4 – Transparency

Dear Secretariat General,

I appreciate your apologise for the long overdue in my response and I hope you send me the information requested as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully,

Jesús Escudero

Generalsekretariat der Europäischen Kommission

14 Attachments

Dear Mr Escudero,

 

Please find attached a copy of the letter, also sent to you by mail,
signed by  Mr Marcel Haag, Director for "Policy Co-ordination" in the
Secretariat General of the Commission.

Best regards

 

 

Maria-Jose Mendez Garcia

Secretariat D1

Secretariat General of the Commission

 

Dear Secretariat General,

Please pass this on to the person who reviews confirmatory applications.

Following the Decision to my request for access to EU documents GestDem 2016/5992, I am submitting a confirmatory application in accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001.
1. BACKGROUND
I submitted my request on 25 October 2016, which was registered on 26 October 2016 under GESTDEM 2016/5992. I clarified on 31 October that I would like access to “all correspondence (including letters, emails, phonelogs, minutes of meetings...) between the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker or his cabinet since November 1st 2014 with: -Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy or his cabinet. - Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría or her cabinet. -Spanish Minister of Economy Luis de Guindos or his cabinet.” [1]
Two extensions were applied to my request (on 15 November, and on 9 December) and I finally received the Secretariat General Decision and partial access to the requested documents on 19 December 2016.
In the Decision received on 19 December 2016, the Secretariat General stated:
“Regarding documents 7 and 11, I have decided not to grant access on the grounds of Article 4(1)(a) of Regulation 1049/2001, since disclosure would undermine the financial, monetary or economic policy of the Community or a Member State, in this case Spain. This decision has been taken after consultation with the Spanish authorities. According to Article 4(5) of Regulation 1049/2001, a Member State may request the institution that has received the request for access not to disclose a document originating from that Member State without its prior agreement.” [2]
2. SUBSTANTIVE ASSESSMENT
I challenge the Decision to not grant access to documents 7 and 11 (Ares(2016)1007386 & annex; Ares(2016)2163483) on the grounds of Article 4(1)(a) of Regulation 1049/2001.
Firstly, it should be noted that from the outset, Regulation 1049/2001 provides a general principle that “all documents of the institutions should be accessible to the public.” [3]
Therefore, the institution has the obligation to provide reasons as to why full disclosure of the two contested documents would undermine the protected interest, in this case, on the financial, monetary or economic policy of the Community or a Member State.
Secondly, it should be noted that the Secretariat General Decision only gives me access to the requested documents between the President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker with the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. In my request I ask for “all correspondence between the President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker OR HIS CABINET with Spanish Primer Minister Mariano Rajoy OR HIS CABINET, SPANISH DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER SORAYA SÁENZ DE SANTAMARÍA OR HER CABINET AND SPANISH MINISTER OF ECONOMY LUIS DE GUINDOS OR HIS CABINET”. The Secretariat General Decision neither explained me the reasons (if any) to give me not access to these documents I requested for.
Finally, the document 14 Ares(2016)5585462 – 27/09/2016, wich refers to document Ares(2016)5957433, says: “Enclosed to this letter you will find a leaflet with an overview of the progress made by the EFSI so far, as well as a summary of the EFSI-investments in your country”. Moreover, these two documents (the leaflet and the summary) were not sent to me in the Secretariat General Decision.

2.i. FAILURE TO ESTABLISH HARM TO THE PROTECTED INTEREST
It has been established by the Court of Justice that the reasons for any decision based on the exceptions of Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001 must be stated by the institution. [4] If an institution decides to deny full access to a document, it must explain:
“how access to that document could specifically and effectively undermine the interest protected by an exception laid down in Article 4 of Regulation No 1049/2001 relied on by that institution” [5]
As stated above, the Commission has merely asserted in its Decision that “disclosure would undermine the financial, monetary or economic policy of the Community or Member State, in this case Spain” without giving reasons how disclosure would specifically and effectively undermine the protected interest.
The Commission states that the Decision was taken in consultation with the Spanish authorities as provided for in Article 4(5) of Regulation 1049/2001.
Yet, the case law also states that in these circumstances, when Article 4(5) is invoked, “the institution cannot accept a Member State’s objection to disclosure of a document originating from that State if the objection gives no reasons at all or if the reasons relied on by that State for refusing access to the document in question do not refer to the exceptions listed in Article 4(1) to (3) of Regulation No 1049/2001 (Sweden v Commission, paragraph 88).” [6]
When a Member State finds reasons to deny access to documents, the Commission is also obliged to “make sure that those reasons exist and refer to them in the decision it makes following that procedure”. [7]
In the Decision, neither the Commission nor the Spanish authorities have provided reasons for the application of exception 4(1) of Regulation 1049/2001 on the financial, monetary or economic policy of the Community or a Member State. By not providing reasons, they have failed to justify the application of the exception and the denial of full access to the two contested documents.
Secondly, the Secretariat General Decision did not give me access to the correspondence between Mr. Juncker (or his cabinet) with Mrs. Sáenz de Santamaría and Mr. De Guindos (or their cabinets) when I ask for them in my request. Also, the Secretariat General Decision did not give me access to the correspondence between Mr. Juncker’s cabinet with Mr. Rajoy or his cabinet. The same reasons I expose in the previous paragraphs are meaningful for this point.
Finally, it should be noted that from the outset, Regulation 1049/2001 provides a general principle that “all documents of the institutions should be accessible to the public.” When I ask for all the correspondence, this request should be taken as widely as possible, so in the case of the document 14 Ares(2016)5585462 – 27/09/2016 it should also include the enclosures of the letter, as in the rest of the cases I request for.
3. CONCLUSION
In light of the arguments above, I hereby request full access to the two documents with reference numbers Ares(2016)1007386 & annex; Ares(2016)2163483.

[1] https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/corr...
[2] https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/3519...
[3] Recital 11 of Regulation 1049/2001
[4] Judgment of 1 July 2008 in Sweden and Turco v Council, C-39/05 P and C-52/05 P, EU:C:2008:374, at 48.
[5] Ibid. at 49.
[6] Judgement of 21 June 2012, IFAW Internationaler Tierschutz-Fonds vs. European Commission, Case C‑135/11 P, at 61.
[7] ibid. at 62

A full history of my request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/corr...

Yours faithfully,

Jesús Escudero

Generalsekretariat der Europäischen Kommission

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email dated 22/12/2016, 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 Secretariat General/SG.D.1 in reply to your initial application GESTDEM 2016/5992.

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access to documents which was registered on 23/12/2016 (Ares(2016)7160346).

Your application will be handled within 15 working days (23/01/2017). 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.
We kindly offer you the possibility to provide us a contact phone number (by email to [email address]), 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,

Carlos Remis
SG.B.4
Transparence
Berl. 05/315

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Generalsekretariat der Europäischen Kommission

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Escudero,

 

Please find attached a letter concerning your confirmatory applications
for access to documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 - GESTDEM
2016/6034 to 2016/5992

 

Yours sincerely,

 

TEAM ACCESS DOCUMENTS
[1]cid:image001.gif@01D10B5D.0CD08030
European Commission
Secretariat General

Unit B4 - Transparency

 

References

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Generalsekretariat der Europäischen Kommission

2 Attachments

 Dear Mr Escudero,

 

Please find attached a letter concerning your confirmatory applications
for access to documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 - GESTDEM
2016/5992

 

Yours sincerely,

 

TEAM ACCESS DOCUMENTS
[1]cid:image001.gif@01D10B5D.0CD08030
European Commission
Secretariat General

Unit B4 - Transparency

 

 

References

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Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

Have your forgotten my internal review? You have to submitted it one month and a half ago and I am still waiting for it. I don't want to think that you are waiting that I have forgotten it, because not, as you can see.

So please, finish my internal review as soon as possible because you are very late.

Yours faithfully,

Jesús Escudero

Generalsekretariat der Europäischen Kommission

5 Attachments

Dear Mr Escudero,

 

Please find attached an advance information copy of the confirmatory
decision taken on your request for access to documents registered under
GestDem number 2016/5992, adopted on 29/03/2017 in the above-mentioned
case.

 

Please note that the Secretariat General of the European Commission will
proceed with the formal notification of the decision in the coming days.

 

This advance copy is solely sent for your information and is not the
formal notification of the confirmatory decision.

 

Best regards,

 

Bernadett BERCZELI

 

European Commission

Secretariat General

B4 - Transparency

 

 

 

Generalsekretariat der Europäischen Kommission

8 Attachments

Dear Mr Escudero,

 

Please find attached an advance information copy of the confirmatory
decision taken on your request for access to documents registered under
GestDem number 2016/5992, adopted on 27/043/2017 in the above-mentioned
case. Please note that it annuls and replaces the previous decision
C(2017)2196 final.

 

Please note that the Secretariat General of the European Commission will
proceed with the formal notification of the decision in the coming days.

 

This advance copy is solely sent for your information and is not the
formal notification of the confirmatory decision.

 

Best regards,

 

Bernadett BERCZELI

 

European Commission

Secretariat General

B4 - Transparency