C(2018) 8427 final
Mr Simon Weiss
Büro Petra Sitte MdB
Platz der Republik 1
DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 4 OF THE
IMPLEMENTING RULES TO REGULATION (EC) N° 1049/20011
Your confirmatory application for access to documents under
Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 - GESTDEM 2018/5452
Dear Mr Weiss,
I refer to your letter of 30 October 2018, registered on the same day, in 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
documents2 (hereafter 'Regulation 1049/2001').
SCOPE OF YOUR REQUEST
In your initial application of 17 October 2018, addressed to the Secretariat-General of the
European Commission, you requested access to documents containing the following
information: ‘[t]he content of the flash cards employed in meetings on trade policy
between Donald Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker in July 2018, as described in https://www.newsweek.com/eu-chief-trump-flash-cards-10444.’
In its initial reply of 30 October 2018, Directorate H (‘External Relations’) of the
Secretariat-General replied to your request. It considered that the briefing material used
by President Juncker in his meetings with Heads of State or Government of third
countries fell within the scope of your request.
Official Journal L 345 of 29.12.2001, p. 94.
2 Official Journal L 145 of 31.5.2001, p. 43.
Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111
It refused access to it based on Article 4(1)(a), third indent (protection of the public
interest as regards international relations) of Regulation 1049/2001.
In your confirmatory application, you request a review of this position. You explain that
‘[you] are filing [a] confirmatory application with regard to [your] access to documents
request ‘Flash Cards used to explain Trade Policy to President Trump’. You state further
that ‘the documents in question contain only general explanations of trade policy rather
than any information that would be considered confidential by either the EU or the US
You conclude that ‘[you] fail to see how relations could be harmed by making them
accessible to [you]’ and ask the European Commission to reconsider your request.
ASSESSMENT AND CONCLUSIONS UNDER REGULATION 1049/2001
When assessing a confirmatory application for access to documents submitted pursuant
to Regulation 1049/2001, the Secretariat-General conducts a fresh review of the reply
given by the Directorate-General concerned at the initial stage.
Following this review and based on the explanations provided in your confirmatory
application, I understand that your request is focused on the ‘flash cards’, or documents
which contain the content of these cards, used by President Juncker in meetings on trade
policy with President Trump.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Regulation 1049/2001 applies to ‘all
documents held by an institution, that is to say, documents drawn up or received by it and
in its possession, in all areas of activity of the European Union’. The ‘flash cards’ you
request are not documents drawn up by the European Commission, nor documents
received by it and in its possession. These cards were short-lived support material used
by President Juncker in meetings on trade policy with President Trump and, as such, they
do not fall under Regulation 1049/2001.
President Juncker used the content of these cards to made public declarations after his
meetings on trade policy with the President of the United States. The documents that
contain the content of the ‘flash cards’ are the following:
- Keynote speech 'Transatlantic relations at a crossroads' by President Juncker at
the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), publicly available here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-18-4690_en.htm;
- Statement by President Jean-Claude Juncker at the joint press conference in the
White House Rose Garden with Donald Trump, President of the United States,
- Joint U.S.-EU Statement following President Juncker's visit to the White House,
publicly available here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-18-
MEANS OF REDRESS
Finally, I draw your attention to the means of redress available against this decision. You
may either bring proceedings before the General Court or file a complaint with the
European Ombudsman under the conditions specified respectively in Articles 263 and
228 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
For the European Commission