Documents and decisions following the presentation of the Food Information to Consumers proposal to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

Die Anfrage wurde abgelehnt durch Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit.

Dear Health and Food Safety,

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:

Documents and minutes from meetings concerning the legislation package on Food Information to Consumers which explain why the package has been delayed.

This includes but is not limited to the conclusions of the assessment by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board in 2022.

Yours faithfully,

Suzy Sumner
foodwatch
Mundo Madou
7-8 Avenue des Arts
1210 Brussels

SANTE-ACCESS-TO-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your request for access to documents
sent on 08/05/2023 and registered on 10/05/2023 under the case number
2023/2785.

We will handle your request within 15 working days as of the date of
registration. The time-limit expires on 02/06/2023. We will let you know
if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working days.

To find more information on how we process your personal data, please see
[1]the privacy statement.

Yours faithfully,

DG Health and Food Safety - Access to Documents
European Commission

References

Visible links
1. https://ec.europa.eu/info/principles-and...

SANTE-ACCESS-TO-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir/Madam,

We are writing concerning your request for access to Commission documents
registered on 10 May 2023 under case number 2023/2785.

We are currently working on your request. However, we have not yet been
able to gather all the elements necessary to carry out a full analysis of
your request. We will not be able to send you the reply within the
prescribed time limit expiring on 2 June 2023. 

An extended time limit is needed as other services internally must be
consulted.

Therefore, in line with Article 7(3) of [1]Regulation [2](EC) No
1049/2001, we need to extend this time limit by 15 additional working
days. The new time limit expires on 23 June 2023.  

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

 Kind regards,

 

SANTE CONSULT A1

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

SANTE-CONSULT-A1@ec.europa.eu, Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit

2 Attachments

Dear Madam,

 

Please find attached the reply to your application for access to documents
– case number 2023/2785.

 

Kind regards,

 

European Commission
DG Health and Food Safety
Unit A1 – Antimicrobial Resistance, Human nutrition

Dear Health and Food Safety,

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

I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to my access to documents request 'Documents and decisions following the presentation of the Food Information to Consumers proposal to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board'.

I believe that my request was too narrow. The original request was:
"Documents and minutes from meetings concerning the legislation package on Food Information to Consumers which explain why the package has been delayed.

This includes but is not limited to the conclusions of the assessment by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board in 2022."

The request contained the words: "which explain why the package has been delayed." which are unnecessary in this case.

Therefore I would like to submit the confirmatory application, deleting these words. Therefore:

"Documents and minutes from meetings (in 2022) concerning the legislation package on Food Information to Consumers. This includes but is not limited to the conclusions of the assessment by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board in 2022."

I have added dates (in 2022) to limit the scope of the request.

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

Yours faithfully,

Suzy Sumner

SANTE-ACCESS-TO-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We are writing to you concerning your request for access to documents sent
on 27/06/2023 and registered on 27/06/2023 under case number 2023/3645.

Since you have not indicated your postal address, we are not able to start
handling your request. The 15 working days to reply to your request will
start running only when you send us your postal address.

You can send your postal address by replying to this e-mail. If we do not
receive your reply we may close this case.

Please note that you can submit a request for access to Commission
documents via the portal [1]'Request a Commission document', which does
not require you to indicate your postal address.

Why do we need your personal postal address?

Since 1 April 2014, the submission of a postal address became a mandatory
feature when submitting an application for access to Commission documents
via an e-mail. We would like to explain why we need your postal address in
order to register and handle your application for access to documents when
submitted via e-mail:

• Firstly, to obtain legal certainty as regards the date you received
the European Commission reply to your application for public access to
documents. Article 297 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the
European Union (TFEU) states that '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.' In line with
this provision, if the Commission does not grant full access to the
requested documents, it notifies the reply to the applicant via
registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt or via delivery
service. This requires an indication of a valid postal address by the
applicant;
• Secondly, to apply correctly the [2]Data Protection Regulation (EU)
2018/1725. Knowing whether the applicant is an EU resident (or not) is
necessary for deciding which conditions shall apply for the
transmissions of personal data to applicants for access to documents.
These conditions are not the same for recipients established in the
Union and for recipients in third countries. As the vast majority of
the documents requested contain personal data, the Commission cannot
ensure the correct application of the data protection rules in the
absence of a postal address;
• Thirdly, to apply correctly [3]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. Article
4(1)(b) of that Regulation refers to the protection of the privacy and
integrity of the individual and has to be applied in line with the
Data Protection Regulation;
• Fourthly, to protect the interest of other citizens and safeguard the
principle of good administration. The Commission has to treat all
citizens equally by ensuring that the legal framework for public
access to documents is respected. For example, it has to verify
whether Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 is being evaded
by introducing several requests under different identities. Indeed, in
its Ryanair judgment ([4]EU:T:2010:511), the General Court confirmed
that Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 cannot be evaded by
splitting an application into several, seemingly separate, parts. In
addition, the Commission has to make sure that the legal framework is
respected and the right of access to documents is not abused by making
requests under an invented identity.

The considerations above show that the request for and the consequent
processing of the applicant's 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(1)(a) of Data Protection
Regulation, namely providing a smooth and effective access to documents.

Yours faithfully,

Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety - Access to Documents
European Commission

References

Visible links
1. https://www.ec.europa.eu/transparency/do...
2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
3. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
4. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

Dear Health and Food Safety,
Many thanks for your response.
My postal address is the same as at the beginning of this process:

Suzy Sumner
foodwatch
Mundo Madou
7-8 Avenue des Arts
1210 Brussels
Belgium

Yours faithfully,

Suzy Sumner

SANTE-ACCESS-TO-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your request for access to documents
sent on 27/06/2023 and registered on 27/06/2023 under the case number
2023/3645.

We will handle your request within 15 working days as of the date of
registration. The time-limit expires on 18/07/2023. We will let you know
if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working days.

To find more information on how we process your personal data, please see
[1]the privacy statement.

Yours faithfully,

Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety - Access to Documents
European Commission

References

Visible links
1. https://ec.europa.eu/info/principles-and...

AGRI-ACCESS-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu,

1 Attachment

SANTE-ACCESS-TO-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu,

1 Attachment

Please find attached extension deadline reply to case number 2023/3645

AGRI-ACCESS-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu,

12 Attachments

Hello,

.

Please find attached a message concerning your request for access to
Commission documents registered under the above case number 2023/3881.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message by return email.

Kind regards,

AGRI ATD team

SANTE-CONSULT-A1@ec.europa.eu, Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Sumner,

 

Thank you for your request for access to documents EASE 2023/3645.

 

We acknowledge that the time limit expired on 09/08/2023 and apologize for
the delay.

 

We would like to inform you that your request is being handled and the
reply will be sent to you as soon as it is signed at the appropriate
level.

 

Please be reassured that we are doing our utmost to provide you with the
required documents as soon as possible.

 

Thank you very much for your understanding.

 

Kind regards,

 

European Commission

Directorate-General for Health and Food safety

Unit A1: Antimicrobial Resistance, Human nutrition 

Tel.: +32 2 29 60307

 

 

SANTE-ACCESS-TO-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu,

11 Attachments

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SANTE-CONSULT-A1@ec.europa.eu, Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Sumner,
 
Please find attached missing document from our reply sent to you today –
document n° 26.
 
Kind regards,
 
 

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Dear Health and Food Safety,

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

I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to my access to documents request 'Documents and decisions following the presentation of the Food Information to Consumers proposal to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board'.

The FOI request response included the RSB opinion Ares(2022)6756021 for which access was refused. I find this negative decision not correct given the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case C-57/16 P1 ruled that documents drawn up in the context of an impact assessment for a possible legislative proposal, including draft and final impact assessment reports and the opinions of the RSB, represent legislative documents which the Commission is obliged to make directly accessible to the public pursuant to Article 12(2) of Regulation No 1049/2001 and that access should not be denied on request.

I therefore ask you to reconsider this decision.

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

Yours faithfully,

Suzy Sumner

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your confirmatory request for case
2023/3645, sent on 07/09/2023 and registered on 07/09/2023.

We will handle your confirmatory request within 15 working days as of the
date of registration. The time-limit expires on 28/09/2023. We will let
you know if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working
days.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your confirmatory request for case
2023/3645, sent on 07/09/2023 and registered on 07/09/2023.

We will handle your confirmatory request within 15 working days as of the
date of registration. The time-limit expires on 28/09/2023. We will let
you know if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working
days.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear applicant,

We are writing concerning your confirmatory request for access to
Commission documents for case 2023/3645 registered on 07/09/2023.

We are currently working on your confirmatory request. However, we have
not yet been able to gather all the elements necessary to carry out a full
analysis of your request. Due to the need to conduct internal
consultations we will not be able to send you the reply within the
prescribed time limit expiring on 28/09/2023.

Therefore, in line with Article 8(2) of [1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 we
need to extend this time limit by 15 additional working days. The new time
limit expires on 19/10/2023.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Kind regards,

SG.C1 - Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

Dear Health and Food Safety,
Today I received a response to my parallel request on documents from the Regulatory Scrutiny Board. (see https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/impa...). In this response, I quote:

"The Opinion of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board is subject to the confirmatory application
that you filed on 7 September 2023, Case 2023/3645 (Ares(2023)6083644). A decision
will be taken on whether access to the Opinion can be granted in the framework of the
assessment of your confirmatory application. Therefore, we consider this document falls
out of the scope of the current request. "

Therefore I am writing to ask for an update on this outstanding request. There is interest from other organisations and media too.

Yours faithfully,

Suzy Sumner

Dear Health and Food Safety,

I am writing again to ask respectfully for an update to this request which is now long overdue. Please could you inform me when you will be answering this correspondence within the next 2 weeks otherwise I will take it to the next step with the European Ombudsman.

You can find below a copy of the confirmatory application made for my parallel request. The points are also equally relevant for this request.

Yours faithfully,

Suzy Sumner

Confirmatory Application (https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/impa...)

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,
Please pass this on to the person who reviews confirmatory applications.
I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to my access to documents request 'Impact Assessment and RSB opinion on Food Information to Consumers'.
You have identified two documents that fit into the scope of my request, however in your letter of 30 October 2023, access to these documents, even partially, has been denied.
The requested documents indeed relate to a draft impact assessment and an upstream meeting concerning the legislative proposal on Food Information to Consumers, a piece of legislation which has not been released and for which timing for its release is no longer included in the Commission’s work programme.
Regulation 1049/2001 in Article 4(3) permits an exception to be applied to documents where the decision has not been taken by the institution if “disclosure of the document would seriously undermine the institution’s decision-making process, unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure.” [emphasis added].
In accordance with Case T-448/21 Saure v Commission, when the institution refuses access to the requested documents under the 4(3) exception, it must provide explanations as to how the access to such documents could concretely and effectively undermine the protection of the decision-making process, and demonstrate that this risk is reasonably foreseeable and not merely hypothetical.
However, in your letter of 30 October 2023 and as regards to the undermining the institution’s decision making process, you have provided absolutely no analysis of the possible harms this could cause, nor did you provide any proof that such an undermining risk was foreseeable and not merely hypothetical, and therefore have not justified the application of this exception. Also since the legislation seems to currently be "withdrawn" from the European agenda, it is difficult to understand which decision making process it is undermining.
In a recent recommendation (Recommendation of September 25th 2023 - Case 1053/2023/MIK), the European Ombudsman stated that even if the EU administration might be reluctant to share its preliminary views, in that they might be subject to public criticism or pressure - it is, as the Court of Justice held, “for the Commission to prevent any adverse impact in its decision-making process arising from such external pressures. Refusing public access to legislative documents cannot be used as a safeguard by EU institutions when faced with external pressures.”
Furthermore, Article 4(3) makes clear that – even where harm is identified – consideration should be given as to whether there is an “overriding public interest in disclosure”, something which you have not done.
You state that you were unable to identify any public interest. You also state that I did not submit any such arguments. In fact, the burden is on the EU body to identify the public interest. In this regard, I would note that you could give the following matters due consideration:
- The content of this legislation is of fundamental concern to the health of European citizens. It concerns information that we should all know about the food we consume on a daily basis and provisions which should help us not be misled by the food industry. Non-communicable diseases are putting financial and societal pressure on our countries, and yet legislation on what is in our food and associated health and nutrition claims, as well as a front of pack nutritional label which is accessible to all is being delayed, or even cancelled.
- In a parallel request for information, https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/docu... documents have been shared which show the pressure of the agro-industry and Italy in the weeks before this legislation should have been released. Analysis by BEUC https://www.beuc.eu/blog/food-label-ambu... draws conclusions of influence in this legislation. Given that it is known that there has been lobbying, it is important that full information is available to the public so as to ensure that the public interest is being taken into account in the proposals.
- Moreover, the release of the requested documents would enable the public to effectively participate in the legislative process, with the aim of improving the protection of human health and the environment and could provide further information as to why the legislative proposal on Food Information to Consumers was not released, and why its release is no longer included in the Commission’s work programme.
- These specific circumstances - of the absence of release of the legislative proposal and of the non-inclusion of the latter in the Commission’s work programme, in addition with the essential principles of greater transparency, citizen participation in the decision making process as well as greater legitimacy, efficiency and accountability of the European administration towards citizens in a democratic system, undeniably establish the existence of an overriding public interest which justifies the release of the requested documents.
- Finally I refer to the general importance of the openness of decision making, of the Commission, which permits the public to participate in or even simply follow and understand decision making processes. As the European Ombudsman stated (Recommendation of September 25th 2023 - Case 1053/2023/MIK), the Court of Justice recalled that the expression by the public or interested parties of their views on the policy options envisaged by the Commission before specific legislative proposals are announced “is an integral part of the exercise by EU citizens of their democratic rights.”

Even if you did identify that some of the information in these documents requires redaction, the rest could indeed be provided. Article 4(6), Regulation 1049/2001 simply says that if “only parts of the requested document are covered by any of the exceptions, the remaining parts of the document shall be released.” Hence it is for the recipient of the information to determine how useful or meaningful it may be.

SG-GREFFE-CERTIFICATION@ec.europa.eu, Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit

2 Attachments

 

Dear Ms Suzy Sumner,

 

Please find attached the electronic version of Commission Decision C(2024)
1304 as adopted by the European Commission on 22.2.2024.

 

The formal notification of the decision under Article 297 TFEU is being
made only in electronic form.

 

Could you please confirm receipt of the attached document by return
e-mail?

 

Many thanks in advance.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

 

 

MARTIN GALAN MARIA SERENA

 

Secrétariat général de la Commission

SG B2 - Procédures écrites, habilitation, délégation

BERL 05/P071'   +32-2-299.59.48

 

 

 

 

 

SG-GREFFE-CERTIFICATION@ec.europa.eu, Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit

1 Attachment

 

Dear Ms / Dear Mr,

It is very important for us.

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

 

MARTIN GALAN MARIA SERENA

Secrétariat général de la Commission

SG B2 - Procédures écrites, habilitation, délégation

BERL 05/P071'   +32-2-299.59.48

 

From: SG GREFFE CERTIFICATION
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2024 5:47 PM
To: '[FOI #12957 email]'
<[FOI #12957 email]>
Cc: BEVIERE Chantal (SG) <[email address]>
Subject: C(2024) 1304 to Suzy Sumner

 

 

Dear Ms Suzy Sumner,

 

Please find attached the electronic version of Commission Decision C(2024)
1304 as adopted by the European Commission on 22.2.2024.

 

The formal notification of the decision under Article 297 TFEU is being
made only in electronic form.

 

Could you please confirm receipt of the attached document by return
e-mail?

 

Many thanks in advance.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

 

 

MARTIN GALAN MARIA SERENA

 

Secrétariat général de la Commission

SG B2 - Procédures écrites, habilitation, délégation

BERL 05/P071'   +32-2-299.59.48

 

 

 

 

 

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit

2 Attachments

Dear Madam,

 

Please find attached the electronic version of Commission Decision
C(2024)1304 as adopted by the European Commission on 22.02.2024.

 

The formal notification of the decision under Article 297 TFEU is being
made only in electronic form.

 

Could you please confirm receipt of the attached document by return
e-mail?

 

Many thanks in advance.

 

Kind regards,

 

Access to documents team - cr
SG.C.1
Transparency

 

 

 

Dear [email address],
I acknowledge receipt of your message sent 26 April with an attached letter which is identical to the one sent to me on 26 February, for which I acknowledged receipt by email in February.

Is there a reason why exactly the same letter is being sent to me again?

Yours sincerely,

Suzy Sumner

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit

Your message has been received by the Transparency Unit of the
Secretariat-General of the European Commission.
Requests for public access to documents are treated on the basis of
[1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
The Secretariat-General will reply to your request within 15 working days
upon registration of your request and will duly inform you of the
registration of the request (or of any additional information to be
provided in view of its registration and/or treatment).
 
 
L’unité «Transparence» du secrétariat général de la Commission européenne
a bien reçu votre message.
Les demandes d’accès du public aux documents sont traitées sur la base du
[2]règlement (CE) n° 1049/2001 du 30 mai 2001 relatif à l’accès du public
aux documents du Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission.
Le secrétariat général répondra à votre demande dans un délai de 15 jours
ouvrables à compter de la date d’enregistrement de votre demande, et vous
informera de cet enregistrement (ou vous indiquera toute information
supplémentaire à fournir en vue de l'enregistrement et/ou du traitement de
votre demande).
 
 
Ihre Nachricht ist beim Referat „Transparenz“ des Generalsekretariats der
Europäischen Kommission eingegangen.
Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden auf der Grundlage der
[3]Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der
Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und
der Kommission behandelt.
Das Generalsekretariat beantwortet Ihre Anfrage innerhalb von
15 Arbeitstagen nach deren Registrierung und wird Sie über die
Registrierung Ihres Antrags (oder die Notwendigkeit weiterer Informationen
im Hinblick auf dessen Registrierung und/oder Bearbeitung) unterrichten.
 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
3. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

SG ACCES DOCUMENTS, Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit

[1]RE: Your confirmatory application 2023/3645 - Ares(2024)3129455 
(Please use this link only if you are an Ares user – Svp, utilisez ce lien
exclusivement si vous êtes un(e) utilisateur d’Ares)

Dear Madam,

Thank you for your email.

Please be informed that our reply to confirmatory application, registered
under reference 2023/3645, has been sent to you twice due to a technical
problem of our platform.

Kind regards,

Access to documents team - cr
SG.C.1
Transparency

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