Ref. Ares(2019)3590490 - 04/06/2019
Directorate-General for Trade
Directorate A- Resources, Information and Policy Coordination
A5-Transparency and Evaluation
The Head of Unit
Trade(2019) By registered letter with acknowledgment of
Ms Josefina Martí
Calle de Juan Bravo 62 - 2A
Spain Advance copy by email:
[FOI #6804 email]
Subject: Your application for access to documents – Ref. GestDem N° 2019/2285
Dear Ms Marti,
I refer to your e-mail dated 11/04/2019 in which you make a request for access to
documents in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/20011 (“Regulation
1049/2001”), registered on the same day under the above mentioned reference number.
1. SCOPE OF YOUR REQUEST
In your application you request access to:
- A complete of list of all meetings held by any member of your team/staff with churches,
religious associations or communities, as well as with philosophical and non-
confessional organisations, from 1 January 2014 onwards, specifying the status of the
organization (church, religious association or community, philosophical association or
- All documents, including all emails, minutes, reports or other documents received or
drawn up before, during or after the meetings, and any other briefing papers related to
1 Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2001
regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, OJ L 145,
31.5.2001, p. 43.
Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111
After consulting the relevant services and search tools we have to our disposal, we have
identified three documents
falling within the scope of your request:
1. Ares(2019)3255670 List of participants and agenda COMECE Plenary Assembly
“Autumn 2014”, Brussels, 11-13 November 2014
2. Ares(2017)829651 Report of a meeting with Act Alliance on 9 February 2017
3. Ares(2019)1287261 Minutes CSD Contact Group meeting in which Act Alliance
participated, 15 January 2019.
With regard to document no. 1
please be informed as follows. In his capacity of EU
Chief Negotiator for the TTIP, Mr Ignacio Garcia Bercero delivered a presentation at the
COMECE Plenary Assembly in 2014, entitled “The Challenge of the TTIP for the
European Union”. Mr Garcia Bercero usually speaks without written presentation or
PowerPoint. DG Trade does not hold any other documents related to this event.
Partial access has been given to document no. 2
, a report of a meeting with Act Alliance
in 2017. Only personal data have been redacted.
The second meeting in which Act Alliance participated (document no. 3
) took place
within the context of a Civil Society Dialogue Contact Group meeting. On the DG Trade
website you will find a list of all organisations registered and able to participate in the
DG Trade CSD process: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/civilsoc/search.cfm
as well as
2. ASSESSMENT AND CONCLUSION UNDER REGULATION 1049/2001
In accordance with settled case law2, when an institution is asked to disclose a document,
it must assess, in each individual case, whether that document falls within the exceptions
to the right of public access to documents set out in Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001.
Such assessment is carried out in a multi-step approach. First, the institution must satisfy
itself that the document relates to one of the exceptions, and if so, decide which parts of it
are covered by that exception. Second, it must examine whether disclosure of the parts of
the document in question pose a “reasonably foreseeable and not purely hypothetical
risk of undermining the protection of the interest covered by the exception. Third, if it
takes the view that disclosure would undermine the protection of any of the interests
defined under Articles 4.2 and 4.3 of Regulation 1049/2001, the institution is required "to
ascertain whether there is any overriding public interest justifying disclosure".3
In view of the objectives pursued by Regulation 1049/2001, notably to give the public
the widest possible right of access to documents,4 "the exceptions to that right [...] must
be interpreted and applied strictly".5
2 Judgment in Sweden and Maurizio Turco v Council
, Joined cases C-39/05 P and C-52/05 P,
EU:C:2008:374, paragraph 35.
., paragraphs 37-43. See also judgment in Council v Sophie in ‘t Veld
, C-350/12 P, EU:C:2014:2039,
paragraphs 52 and 64.
4 See Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, recital (4).
Having carefully examined the identified documents in light of the applicable legal
framework, I am pleased to inform you that partial access is given to them and only some
personal data have been withheld in accordance with Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation
1049/2001. The legal reasoning underlying the protection of these personal data is
2.1. Protection of privacy and integrity of the individual
Pursuant to Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation 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.
The applicable legislation in this field is Regulation (EC) No 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/EC6 (‘Regulation 2018/1725’).
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.7 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.8
In its judgment in Case C-28/08 P (Bavarian Lager
)9, the Court of Justice ruled that when a
request is made for access to documents containing personal data, the Data Protection
Regulation is fully applicable.10
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"
5 Judgment in Sweden v Commission
, C-64/05 P, EU:C:2007:802, paragraph 66.
6 Official Journal L 205 of 21.11.2018, p. 39.
7 Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 20 December 2017 in Case C-434/16, Peter
Novak v Data Protection Commissioner
, request for a preliminary ruling, paragraphs 33-35,
8 Judgment of the General Court of 19 September 2018 in case T-39/17, Port de Brest v Commission
9 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.
10 Whereas this judgment specifically related to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European
Parliamentand 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 Regulation 2018/1725.
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.
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 application, 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 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 accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, you are entitled to make 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 Secretary-General of the Commission at the following address:
Transparency, Document Management & Access to Documents unit SG-C-1
or by email to: [email address]
Electronically signed on 04/06/2019 11:16 (UTC+02) in accordance with article 4.2 (Validity of electronic documents) of Commission Decision 2004/563