Unit R1: Registry and Transparency
COMP/R1/AW/ GestDem 2020/0238
Mr Jude Omidiran
40 Bermondsey Street, London
By registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt
Advance copy by email:
Your application for access to documents – Ref GestDem No 2020/0238
I refer to your email dated 13/01/2020 in which you make a request for access to documents,
registered on 14/01/2020 under the above-mentioned reference number.
Your application concerns the following documents:
“ All documentation (including but not limited to all email correspondence, attendance lists, agendas,
background papers, and minutes/notes) relating to Margrethe Vestager's meeting with Claus Jensen,
Chairman of Danish Metal and Vice-President of IndustriALL Europe”.
The documents to which you have requested access contain personal data.
Therefore, we enclose a copy of the documents requested, with the personal data expunged.
Pursuant to Article 4(1) (b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, access to a document (or sections of
it) 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/EC (‘Regulation 2018/1725’)1.
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
1 OJ L 205 of 21.11.2018, p. 39.
any information, which by reason of its content, purpose or effect, is linked to a particular person is
to be considered as personal data2.
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 data3.
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
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
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.
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, paragraphs 43-
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 Regulation 2018/1725.
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 case you would disagree with the assessment that the expunged data are personal data which can
only be disclosed if such disclosure is legitimate under the rules of personal data protection, you are
entitled, in accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, 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:
Unit C.1 - Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents
or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Unit
Annexes: copies of the documents requested (two documents by email only)