Greta Rosén Fondahn

Dear Agriculture and Rural Development,

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 declarations of independence (DOI) submitted by Type A members of the:
- Expert group for technical advice on organic production (E02522).
- Task Force Rural Africa – strengthening our partnership in food and farming (E03579)

I am aware that the expert groups in question are closed, but according to the Data Protection Officer, the "[t]he declarations of interest are however kept by the Commission service managing the expert group for five years after the group is closed."

I have provided my address below. However, I prefer electronic communication.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions regarding my request.

Yours faithfully,

Greta Rosén Fondahn

Cava de San Miguel 8, 4º c.
28005 Madrid

AGRI ACCESS DOCUMENTS, Generaldirektion Landwirtschaft und ländliche Entwicklung

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]themeData
Link: [3]colorSchemeMapping

[4]ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT: access to documents request - GESTDEM
2022/1788 - DOIs Members of expert groups DG AGRI - Ares(2022)2241041 
(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 e-mail of 22/03/2022. We hereby acknowledge receipt of
your application for access to documents, which was registered on
28/03/2022 under reference number GESTDEM 2022/1788.

 

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
21/04/2022. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be
informed in due course.

 

You have lodged your application via a private third-party 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.

 

Please note that the private third party running the AsktheEU.org website
is responsible and accountable for the processing of your personal data
via that website, and not the Commission. For further information on your
rights, please refer to the third party’s privacy policy.

We understand that the third party running the AsktheEU.org website
usually publishes the content of applicants’ correspondence with the
Commission on that website. This includes the personal data that you may
have communicated to the Commission (e.g. your private postal address).

 

Similarly, the third party publishes on that website any reply that the
Commission will send to the email address of the applicants generated by
the AsktheEU.org website.

 

If you do not wish that your correspondence with the Commission is
published on a private third-party website such as AsktheEU.org, you can
provide us with an alternative, private e-mail address for further
correspondence.  In that case, the Commission will send all future
electronic correspondence addressed to you only to that private address,
and it will use only that private address to reply to your request. You
should still remain responsible to inform the private third-party website
about this change of how you wish to communicate with, and receive a reply
from, the Commission.

 

For information on how we process your personal data visit our page
[5]Privacy statement – access to documents.

 

Yours faithfully,

AGRI Access to Documents Team

 

 

Zitate anzeigen

AGRI ACCESS DOCUMENTS, Generaldirektion Landwirtschaft und ländliche Entwicklung

1 Attachment

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

[5]EXTENSION OF THE TIME LIMIT: Your application for access to documents -
GESTDEM 2022/1788 - Ares(2022)3148506  (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,

We refer to your e-mail of 23/03/2022 in which you make a request for
access to documents, registered on 28/03/2022 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 21/04/2022.

An extended time limit is needed as the application concerns documents
held by different Services, which must be consulted.

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 13/05/2022.

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

Yours faithfully,

AGRI ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM

[6]cid:image001.png@01D6335C.3943C9C0

 

European Commission
DG Agriculture and Rural Development

Unit I.1

B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

 

 

From: AGRI ACCESS DOCUMENTS <[DG AGRI request email]>
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2022 9:54 AM
To: Greta Rosén Fondahn <[FOI #10868 email]>
Cc: AGRI ACCESS DOCUMENTS <[email address]>
Subject: ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT: access to documents request - GESTDEM
2022/1788 - DOIs Members of expert groups DG AGRI - Ares(2022)2241041

 

[7]ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT: access to documents request - GESTDEM
2022/1788 - DOIs Members of expert groups DG AGRI - Ares(2022)2241041 
(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 e-mail of 22/03/2022. We hereby acknowledge receipt of
your application for access to documents, which was registered on
28/03/2022 under reference number GESTDEM 2022/1788.

 

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
21/04/2022. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be
informed in due course.

 

You have lodged your application via a private third-party 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.

 

Please note that the private third party running the AsktheEU.org website
is responsible and accountable for the processing of your personal data
via that website, and not the Commission. For further information on your
rights, please refer to the third party’s privacy policy.

We understand that the third party running the AsktheEU.org website
usually publishes the content of applicants’ correspondence with the
Commission on that website. This includes the personal data that you may
have communicated to the Commission (e.g. your private postal address).

 

Similarly, the third party publishes on that website any reply that the
Commission will send to the email address of the applicants generated by
the AsktheEU.org website.

 

If you do not wish that your correspondence with the Commission is
published on a private third-party website such as AsktheEU.org, you can
provide us with an alternative, private e-mail address for further
correspondence.  In that case, the Commission will send all future
electronic correspondence addressed to you only to that private address,
and it will use only that private address to reply to your request. You
should still remain responsible to inform the private third-party website
about this change of how you wish to communicate with, and receive a reply
from, the Commission.

 

For information on how we process your personal data visit our page
[8]Privacy statement – access to documents.

 

Yours faithfully,

AGRI Access to Documents Team

 

 

Zitate anzeigen

AGRI ACCESS DOCUMENTS, Generaldirektion Landwirtschaft und ländliche Entwicklung

3 Attachments

Greta Rosén Fondahn

Dear Agriculture and Rural Development,

Thank you for your reply. Please pass this on to the person who reviews confirmatory applications, the Secretariat General Access to Documents Team.

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to my access to documents request 'DOIs Members of expert groups DG AGRI’, GESTDEM 2022/1788.

The request was processed by DG AGRI, and the decision received 22 April 2022.

On 22 March 2022 I requested, under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, the declarations of independence submitted by Type A members of the Expert group for technical advice on organic production (E02522) and the Task Force Rural Africa – strengthening our partnership in food and farming (E03579). While the groups in question have been closed, I noted in the request that as specified by the Data Protection Officer, the ‘[t]he declarations of interest are however kept by the Commission service managing the expert group for five years after the group is closed.'

The request was denied by DG AGRI on the basis that ‘disclosure is prevented by the exception concerning the protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual outlined in Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.

The documents which you seek to obtain contain personal data of Type A members of the
expert groups in question such as past employment activities, membership of various bodies, research support received, financial interests, past public statements or positions,
existing intellectual property rights, interests of immediate family members.’

Additionally, DG AGRI added that they ‘considered whether partial access could be granted to the documents requested but the remaining parts after expunging the confidential information might be meaningless, in particular since the standard declaration of interests form is already made available on the aforementioned Register of Commission Expert Groups and Other Similar Entities…’

I am kindly asking you to review this decision, and grant access to the identified declarations of independence, on the following grounds:

1) The requested information is necessary for a specific public interest, and its release needs to be examined the further under Article 9(1)(b) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725.

In the refusal DG AGRI cites Article 9(1)(b) of the Data Protection Regulation, which states that ‘personal data shall only be transmitted to recipients established in the Union other than Union institutions and bodies […] if the recipient establishes that it is necessary to have the data transmitted for a specific purpose in the public interest and the controller, where there is any reason to assume that the data subject’s legitimate interests might be prejudiced, establishes that it is proportionate to transmit the personal data for that specific purpose after having demonstrably weighed the various competing interests’.

I argue that there exists a specific public interest in being able to access declarations of independence of expert group members.

EU policy making is a long process. Years may pass between initial conceptual discussions in expert groups to negotiations of regulations in trilogues. In this context, an expert group may close before the outputs of the group have ceased to impact policy making. For journalists, civil society and citizens trying to scrutinise actions of the Commission and other EU institutions in their entirety, it is crucial to be able to access declarations of independence of expert groups members – even of recently closed groups.

Commission expert groups also play a significant and specific role within EU policy making. While Type A members are appointed in their own capacity, they also have unique access to shape the direction of Commission policy. It is therefore important for the public to be able to analyse composition of expert groups systematically and retroactively – not least for the public to be able to duly confide in the decisions of the Commission and its expert groups. In this context it is necessary for journalists, civil society, and citizens to be able to access declarations of independence also of recently closed groups.

In this respect, I believe the disclosure of personal data under the Data Protection Regulation is indeed necessary for a specific public interest and this should be examined further by the Commission.

2) Legitimate interests of the person will not be prejudiced.

Recital 28 of Regulation 2018/1725 specifically requires that when recipients demonstrate that the transmission is necessary for a specific purpose in the public interest, then ‘the controller should establish whether there is any reason to assume that the data subject’s legitimate interests might be prejudiced. In such cases, the controller should demonstrably weigh the various competing interests in order to assess the proportionality of the requested transmission of personal data.’

For this assessment, I would like to point your attention to the Commission decision C(2016)3301, establishing horizontal rules on the creation and operation of Commission expert groups, which states that when applying to an expert group Type A members are required to disclose their potential conflict of interests‘[i]n order to ensure the highest level of integrity of experts, as well as public confidence in the Commission's activities’. Following this, the same decision creates additional transparency provisions for appointed Type A members, stating that ‘DOI forms shall be made publicly available on the Register of expert groups, where the experts in question are Type A members of an expert group or sub-group.’

By applying to the expert group in question, and when disclosing personal data, the experts would have been aware of this additional transparency requirement following from the responsibility of the position and would also have consented to the handling of their personal information. Therefore, as there is a specific public interest in these documents, and due to the fact that they have consented to the processing of their personal data, releasing these documents to me would not prejudice their legitimate interests. It is a proportionate way to ensure transparency and accountability of expert groups and their contribution of the formation of EU policy.

I believe that I have established that there is a need for the transfer of this personal data, that processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest. I also believe that I have demonstrated that the transfer of the requested documents could not affect the legitimate interests of the person concerned.

I ask you to take these arguments into consideration when you weigh the various competing interests and assess whether it would be proportionate to send the personal data for the pursued objective.

3) Partial access could be considered.

To fulfil my watchdog role, as outlined in point 1, partial access may be sufficient. While the disclosure of ‘past employment activities, membership of various bodies, research support received, financial interests…’ is crucial information for analysis of expert group composition, other potential details such as handwritten signatures may be less significant for the public interest and could be redacted. This would further assure that the disclosure of the documents could not affect the legitimate interests of the person concerned.

4) Documents were already in the public domain.

The 24 documents identified by DG AGRI as falling under the scope of the request were already in the public domain, as they have previously been published on the Commission website in the Register of Commission Expert Groups and Other Similar Entities.

5) Previous Commission decisions granted partial access to declarations of independence of closed expert groups.

In a reply to a confirmatory application of a similar request, GESTDEM 2021/2490, the Secretariat General granted partial access to declarations of independence for type A members of the HLEG on Artificial Intelligence, and stated that it “observes that more transparency is provided to certain documents related to persons who hold an expert group member function in line with Commission decision C(2016)3301 establishing horizontal rules on the creation and operation of Commission expert groups, and that the requested documents had indeed been made public by the European Commission during the existence of the former High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (E03591) pursuant to the privacy statement. Finally, the Secretariat-General takes into account the principle recognised in the case law that disclosure of certain documents cannot be withheld if comparable documents are in the public domain.”

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

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions regarding the request.

Yours faithfully,

Greta Rosén Fondahn

SG ACCES DOCUMENTS, Generaldirektion Landwirtschaft und ländliche Entwicklung

1 Attachment

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

Dear Madam,

Thank you for your email dated 22 April 2022 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 AGRI in reply to your initial application GESTDEM 2022/1788.

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents which was registered on 25 April 2022 (Ares(2022)3193170).

Your application will be handled within 15 working days (17/05/2022). 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 (GD)

 

[5]cid:image001.png@01D45409.F767C980

European Commission

Secretariat-General

SG C.1

[6][email address]

 

 

 

From: Greta Rosen <[email address]>
Sent: Friday, April 22, 2022 3:01 PM
To: SG ACCES DOCUMENTS <[email address]>
Subject: Confirmatory application GESTDEM 2022/1788

 

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

 

Please find attached a confirmatory application with regards to my access
to documents request 'DOIs Members of expert groups DG AGRI’, GESTDEM
2022/1788 as processed by DG AGRI.

I am sending this in PDF format for your convenience. A copy is also sent
via AsktheEU, and may I kindly ask that future correspondence regarding
the request continues there.

 

Please do not hesitate to reach out should you have any questions.

 

Thank you in advance.

 

Yours faithfully,

Greta

 

---

Greta Rosén Fondahn

Research Assistant

Access Info Europe

[7]www.access-info.org

[redacted]

 

 

References

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6. mailto:[email address]
7. https://urldefense.com/v3/__http:/www.ac...

SG ACCES DOCUMENTS, Generaldirektion Landwirtschaft und ländliche Entwicklung

1 Attachment

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

[5]Your confirmatory application for access to documents under Regulation
(EC) No 1049/2001 - GESTDEM 2022/1788 - 1st holding letter -
Ares(2022)3723146  (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 Ms Fondahn,

 

I refer to your email of 22 April 2022, registered on 25 April, 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 ("Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001"), registered under reference number above.

 

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 17 May 2022. Consequently, we have
to extend this period by another 15 working days in accordance with
Article 8(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. The new deadline expires on
10 June 2022. However, I can assure you that we are doing our utmost to
provide you with a final reply within the next 15 working days.

 

I regret this additional delay and sincerely apologise for any
inconvenience this may cause.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Mariusz Daca, Ph.D.
Deputy Head of Unit

European Commission

Secretariat General

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

 

 

References

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

SG ACCES DOCUMENTS, Generaldirektion Landwirtschaft und ländliche Entwicklung

1 Attachment

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
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Dear Ms Fondahn,

 

I am writing to you in reference to your email of 8 April 2022, registered
on the same day, by which you submitted a confirmatory application in
accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public
access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (hereafter
Regulation 1049/2001).

 

I also refer to our holding reply dated 5 May 2022, by which the time
limit for replying to your confirmatory request was extended by 15 working
days, pursuant to Article 8(2) of the Regulation. This extended time limit
expired on 30 May 2022.

 

Unfortunately, we are not yet in a position to provide you with our final
position within the above-mentioned deadline, given the ongoing internal
consultations between the Commission services concerned. Following this
consultation, the draft confirmatory decision needs to be reviewed by the
Commission's Legal Service, after which it will be formally adopted within
the Secretariat-General and sent to you. However, I can assure you that we
are doing our utmost to provide you with a final reply within the upcoming
days.

 

Finally, please note that your other four confirmatory applications for
access to documents, submitted by the emails of 22 and 29 April and 5 and
10 May 2022, are being treated jointly with the one referred above, due to
the similarity of their subject matter. Consequently, the
Secretariat-General will soon adopt a single decision encompassing all
five confirmatory applications at issue.

 

I regret this additional delay and sincerely apologise for any
inconvenience this may cause.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mariusz Daca, Ph.D.
Deputy Head of Unit
[5]cid:image001.gif@01D13362.41D673C0

European Commission

Secretariat General

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

 

References

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