Ref. Ares(2019)2295144 - 01/04/2019
Legal Advice, Security and Document Management
By registered letter with
acknowledgment of receipt
Mr Mathias Schindler
Bundestagsbüro Julia Reda,
MdEP Unter den Linden 50
DE - 11011 Berlin
Advanced copy by email/
Your application for access to documents – Ref GestDem No 2019/0923
Dear Mr Schindler,
We refer to your e-mail dated 16/02/2019 in which you make a request for access to
documents, registered on 18/02/2019 under the above-mentioned reference number.
Your request: “All information regarding the drafting, release and removal of the
medium.com article "The Copyright Directive: how the mob was told to save the dragon
and slay the knight". This includes any information related to the perception, promotion
and criticism of this article, internally or externally. I want all information (drafts,
memos, notes, letters, emails) to be included in this request, regardless whether the
Commission considers them to be important or not for filing and archiving”.
We have identified the following documents as corresponding to your request:
1. E-mail from 8 February 2019 – Myth of the month Copyright Dir
2. E-mail from 14 February 2019 – Myth of the month: Copyright
Having examined the documents requested under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001 regarding public access to documents, we have come to the conclusion that they
may be partially disclosed.
Pursuant to Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, access to a document has to
be refused if its disclosure would undermine the protection of privacy and the integrity of
the individual, in particular in accordance with European Union legislation regarding the
protection of personal data.
Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111
Office: L-56 02/015 ‐ Tel. direct line +32 229 86547
[email address] -
The applicable legislation in this field is Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European
Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons
with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and
agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001
and Decision No 1247/2002/EC1 (‘Regulation 2018/1725’).
The documents to which you request access contain personal data, in particular names, e-
mail addresses and signatures of Commission staff not occupying any senior
Indeed, Article 3(1) of Regulation 2018/1725 provides that personal data ‘means any
information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person […]’. The Court of
Justice has specified that
any information, which by reason of its content, purpose or effect,
is linked to a particular person is to be considered as personal data.2
Please note in this respect that the names, signatures, functions, telephone numbers and/or
initials pertaining to staff members of an institution are to be considered personal data.3
In its judgment in Case C-28/08 P (Bavarian Lager
)4, the Court of Justice ruled that when a
request is made for access to documents containing personal data, the Data Protection
Regulation becomes fully applicable5
Pursuant to Article 9(1)(b) of Regulation 2018/1725, ‘personal data shall only be
transmitted to recipients established in the Union other than Union institutions and bodies if
‘[t]he 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’.
Only if these conditions are fulfilled and the processing constitutes lawful processing in
accordance with the requirements of Article 5 of Regulation 2018/1725, can the
transmission of personal data occur.
1 Official Journal L 205 of 21.11.2018, p. 39.
2 Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 20 December 2017 in Case C-434/16, Peter
Nowak v Data Protection Commissioner
, request for a preliminary ruling, paragraphs 33-35, ECLI:EU:C:2017:994.
3 Judgment of the General Court of 19 September 2018 in case T-39/17, Port de Brest v Commission
4 Judgment of 29 June 2010 in Case C-28/08 P, European Commission v The Bavarian Lager Co. Ltd
EU:C:2010:378, paragraph 59.
5 Whereas this judgment specifically related to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament
and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing
of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data, the
principles set out therein are also applicable under the new data protection regime established by
According to Article 9(1)(b) of Regulation 2018/1725, the European Commission has to
examine the further conditions for a lawful processing of personal data only if the first
condition is fulfilled, namely if the recipient has established that it is necessary to have the
data transmitted for a specific purpose in the public interest. It is only in this case that the
European Commission has to examine whether there is a reason to assume that the data
subject’s legitimate interests might be prejudiced and, in the affirmative, establish the
proportionality of the transmission of the personal data for that specific purpose after having
demonstrably weighed the various competing interests.
In your request, you do not put forward any arguments to establish the necessity to have the
data transmitted for a specific purpose in the public interest. Therefore, the European
Commission does not have to examine whether there is a reason to assume that the data
subject’s legitimate interests might be prejudiced.
Notwithstanding the above, please note that there are reasons to assume that the legitimate
interests of the data subjects concerned would be prejudiced by disclosure of the personal
data reflected in the documents, as there is a real and non-hypothetical risk that such public
disclosure would harm their privacy and subject them to unsolicited external contacts.
Consequently, I conclude that, pursuant to Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001, access cannot be granted to the personal data, as the need to obtain access
thereto for a purpose in the public interest has not been substantiated and there is no reason
to think that the legitimate interests of the individuals concerned would not be prejudiced by
disclosure of the personal data concerned.
In case you would disagree with the assessment that the redacted data are personal data
which can only be disclosed if such disclosure is legitimate under the applicable rules on the
protection of personal data, you are entitled, in accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation
(EC) No 1049/2001, to submit a confirmatory application requesting the Commission to
review this position.
Such a confirmatory application should be addressed within 15 working days upon receipt
of this letter to the Secretariat-General of the Commission at the following address:
Unit C.1. ‘Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents’
or by email to: [email address]
Furthermore, you will also find under this link the answer from the Commission to a
parliamentary question on the same topic: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/P-8-2019-000913-ASW_EN.pdf
Acting Head of Unit
Electronically signed on 01/04/2019 09:42 (UTC+02) in accordance with article 4.2 (Validity of electronic documents) of Commission Decision 2004/563