Date: Fri, 05 Oct 2018 16:38:15 +0100
Subject: Re: Ares(2018)5101267 - Your application for access to documents - Ref.GestDem No 2018/4823 -Extension of the deadline and proposal for a fair solution
From: Marlene Straub <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: EC ARES NOREPLY <email@example.com
Dear Access to Documents Team,
thank you for your timely response. I'm happy to help you help me.
The specified objective of my request is to receive information on third party meetings of some of the highest-ranking officials of the EU and their staff. My interest in the requested information is curiosity, and my right to access it as an EU citizen. It is difficult for me to narrow down the scope of my request - although I would be happy to - as I have no more information than I had 15 working days ago. You have provided me with a list of meetings, which I had already found online via the links in my request dated 13 September. You are asking me for a fair solution, without offering me any information to do so in return. This seems objectively unfair. You have also provided me with an estimate of only 10 meetings I can receive information on - what calculations do you base this on, why 10? To me this number appears arbitrary and I would like an explanation, especially as I was given the same number for a similar request containing approximately 40 meetings less. I would furthermore like an overview of what you have done for 15 working days, especially as you are requesting another 15. You will understand that the way you are handling my request on transparency is intransparent.
Based on this FOI request (https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/temp
... I have the template response you send out if you are seeking fair solutions. Within this template I see several points of information which are missing in your response, but would help me narrow down the scope considerably.
- It says to "Please provide the applicant with a list of documents or, if that is not possible, categories of documents, as well as an estimation of their total number and if possible the total of number of pages covered."
- The template also gives an estimate of how many working days the request would take to handle, broken down into different tasks, such as the "identification of the documents falling under your request" and the "retrieval and establishment of a complete list of the documents identified". These are the first and second tasks on the list.
In light of the fact of the aforementioned two template points missing from your response to my request, yet seemingly being some of the first tasks to be completed upon receipt, I would like to demand them retrospectively. For me to compromise, please provide me with a comprehensive list of documents (as defined by me) you have found associated with the 196 meetings. I'm sure that I could limit myself to a small number of meetings, or even individual pieces of information, with such a list.
I reject your proposal to limit my request to the ten most recent meetings between Commissioner Gabriel and her cambinet members' with third parties. Please don't misunderstand me - I am open to compromise and am happy to narrow down the scope of of my request. However, I require the appropriate information to do so fairly. Your template seems to agree with me.
Thank you very much for your efforts so far.
Ares(2018)5101267 - Your application for access to documents -
Ref.GestDem No 2018/4823 -Extension of the deadline and proposal for a
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Dear Ms Straub,
We refer to your e-mail, dated 13/9/2018 in which you make a request for
access to documents pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the
European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public
access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents
(‘Regulation 1049/2001’), registered on the same date under the
above-mentioned reference number.
By your application you requested ‘’documents which contain the following
- Briefing documents for Commissioner Gabriel's meetings with third
parties, minutes, memos protocols or any form of documentation from such
meetings, including audiovisual presentations and any material
Commissioner Gabriel was given throughout, as well as any subsequent
internal communication on the meetings. This definition is to be
understood broadly, as covering any documentation of information.
- Briefing documents for Commissioner Gabriel's cabinet members' meetings
with third parties, minutes, memos, protocols or any form of documentation
from such meetings, including audiovisual presentations and any material
Commissioner Gabriel's cabinet member was given throughout, as well as any
subsequent internal communication on the meetings. This definition is to
be understood broadly, as covering any documentation of information.
To allow for a prompt, efficient response, I would like to limit the
temporal scope of this request to meetings dated between 1 January 2018
and 13 September 2018.
For the sake of clarity, I am referring to meetings listed at but not
limited to http://ec.europa.eu/transparencyinitiative/meetings/meeting.do?host=29935dac-3440-471f-b08e-c8fedd813724&d-6679426-p=1
(titled "Meetings of Commissioner Mariya Gabriel with organisations and
self-employed individuals") and http://ec.europa.eu/transparencyinitiative/meetings/meeting.do?host=9cf470f6-b423-4424-954b-839539dbf681&d-6679426-p=1
(titled "Meetings of Cabinet members of Commissioner Mariya Gabriel with
organisations and self-employed individuals"). If meetings were held
between Commissioner Gabriel/Commissioner Gabriel's cabinet and third
parties within my given timeframe, which are not listed publicly for any
reason, I would like to request that documentation (as defined above) be
provided of these too.
In particular, I am interested in meetings covering the following
subjects: Platforms/Online Platforms/Relations with Platforms, Startups,
Evolution of the Public Sector Information directive, Illegal
Content/Tackling Illegal Content Online, Disinformation/Disinformation
Online, Safer Internet, Terrorist Content Online, Copyright/Copyright
Enforcement/Copyright Proposals/Copyright Reform, TDM Directive,
Communication Artificial Intelligence/Artificial Intelligence/AI, Hate
speech, Data/Data and the impact of the e-privacy proposal on the news
publishing industry/Open access to data and Code/Coding. If meetings have
taken place, which touch upon these subjects but do not mention them in
their description of subject, I would like to request documentation for
those meetings too. Furthermore, I would like to request all described
documentation, not limited to the subjects above, from Commissioner
Gabriel's cabinet member Manuel Mateo-Goyet's third party meetings.’’
Your application concerns a very large number of documents. At this stage
we have identified approximately 196 meetings related to your request.
Therefore, we will not be in a position to complete the handling of your
application within the time limit of 15 working days expiring on 4/10/2018
and we have to extend the time limit by another 15 working days in
accordance with Article 7(3) of Regulation 1049/2001. The new time limit
expires on 25/10/2018.
The documents relating to these meetings need to be assessed individually,
according to Regulation 1049/2001 and the analysis of these documents,
together with the need to consult the concerned third parties in
accordance with Article 4(4) of Regulation 1049/2001, cannot be expected
to be completed within the normal time limits set out in Article 7 of
It is also to be noted, that, in parallel, we are dealing with the other
access to documents request you submitted on the same date (GestDem
2018/4822), which also concerns a very large number of documents.
Article 6(3) of the Regulation 1049/2001 provides that, in the event of an
application relating to very large number of documents, the institution
concerned may confer with the applicant informally with a view to finding
a fair solution.
In accordance with the case law of the Union Courts, the proposal for a
fair solution aims to balance the interest of the applicant against the
workload resulting from the processing of the application in order to
safeguard the interests of good administration (Judgments of 6 December
2001, Council v Hautala, Case C 353/99 P, EU:C:2001: 661, para. 30, and of
2 October 2014, Strack v Commission, Case C 127/13 P, EU:C:2014:2250,
para.27). Such solution can only concern the content or the number of
documents applied for, not the deadline for replying (Judgment of the
Court of Justice of 2 October 2014 in case C-127/13, Guido Strack v
Commission, paragraphs 26-28). This means that the scope of the request
must be reduced in a way that would enable its treatment within the
extended deadline of 15 + 15 working days.
Based on the above-mentioned provision, we would kindly ask you to specify
the objective of your request, your specific interest in the requested
documents (Judgment of the Court of Justice of 2 October 2014 in case
C-127/13, Guido Strack v Commission, paragraph 28; Judgment of the General
Court (then 'Court of First Instance') of 22 May 2012 in case T-344/08,
EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg v Commission, paragraph 105 ) and whether
you could narrow down the scope of your request (the subject matters, the
participants, and/or timeframe covered), so as to reduce it to a more
manageable amount of documents.
In order to help you narrow down your request, we hereby enclose the lists
of the relevant meetings that were held between Commissioner Gabriel and
her cabinet’s members with third parties, within the abovementioned
According to our first estimates and taking into account the access to
documents request GestDem 2018/4822 and the other tasks that the concerned
staff has to deal with during the same period as well as the human
resources available, we estimate that only documents related to a maximum
of 10 meetings could possibly be dealt with within the remaining days from
the extended deadline of 30 working days counting from the date of
registration of you application (13/9/2018).
We therefore kindly ask you to specify the 10 meetings you are interested
in (subject, participants, timeframe).
In case you are not able to specify the meetings, we propose as a fair
solution limiting your request to the documents on the 10 most recent
meetings between Commissioner Gabriel and her cabinet’s members with third
In order to enable us to respect the time-limits of Regulation 1049/2001,
we would ask you for a swift reply to our invitation proposing you a fair
solution, and within two working days at the latest.
Please send your response by email to the following address:
In the absence of a reply within two working days, we will unilaterally
restrict the scope of your application to those parts that can be dealt
with within the extended deadline of 30 working days counting from the
date of registration of your application (13/09/2018).
Thank you in advance for your understanding.
Access to Documents Team
DG Connect – ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS
BU25 – Avenue de Beaulieu 25
6. mailto:[email address]
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
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