Ref. Ares(2020)4117196 - 05/08/2020
C(2019) 1660 final
DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 4 OF THE
IMPLEMENTING RULES TO REGULATION (EC) NO 1049/20011
Subject: Your confirmatory application for access to documents – GESTDEM
I am writing in reference to your email of 10 January 2019, registered on the same day, by
which you lodge 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 (EC) No 1049/2001’).
By your initial application of 12 October 2018, you requested access to ‘copies of the
contract signed, the contract of association and the mid-term review report, in the
framework of the Research Network Contract No FMRX-CT97-0131 (DG 12 – MZLS)’
funded by the European Commission’.
By letter of 20 December 2018, the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation
informed you that the European Commission no longer holds any documents, which would
correspond to the description given in your application. It explained that the requested
documents were eliminated in accordance with the rules stipulated in the ‘Common
Commission-level retention list for European Commission files’3. The project
‘Psychrophilic microorganisms and their enzymes as new tools in biotechnology
(COLDNET)’ ended on 30 November 2001. The European Commission does not have an
obligation to retain the technical project documentation for more than 10 years after the end
of the project.
Official Journal L 345 of 29.12.2001, p. 94.
Official Journal L145, 31.05.2001 p. 43
SEC (2012)713, available here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/sec-2012-713_en.pdf.
Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111
In your confirmatory application, you reiterate your request and state that is very probable
that partners who participated to the Research Network Contract No FMRX-CT97-0131 still
hold the documents. In addition, you request explanations about the legal consequences of a
decision of the Greek Courts on a trademark issues.
Against this background, the European Commission has carried out a renewed, thorough
search for the documents requested. Following this renewed search, I confirm that the
Commission no longer holds any documents that would correspond to the description given in
your application, because the documentation related to the project project ‘Psychrophilic
microorganisms and their enzymes as new tools in biotechnology (COLDNET)’ was
eliminated in accordance with the ‘Common Commission-level retention list for European
Indeed, as specified in Article 2(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, the right of access as
defined in that regulation applies only to existing documents in the possession of the
institution4. Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 does not contain any provision requiring the
institution to request from other parties documents it does no longer hold.
Concerning your request for information, please note that this request cannot be addressed
in the context of this decision, which is limited to the review of the decision of the
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation regarding your request for access to
documents. Your request for information has been forwarded to the Directorate-General for
Research and Innovation.
Given that the European Commission does not hold any documents corresponding to the
description given in your application, it is not in a position to fulfil your request.
4 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 2 October 2014, Strack v Commission,
C‑ 127/13 P, EU:C:2014:2250,
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 Commission