Access to document and retention policy

Alexander Fanta made this access to documents request to Justice and Consumers

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The request was partially successful.

Dear Justice and Consumers,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:

- The most recent Commission policy document for filing and retention of documents
- Internal memos, e-mails and any other documents discussing changes to document retention and access to document policy since VP Jourova announced a clearer and modernised definition of the term “document” at an event hosted by the European Ombudsman in November 2021. This is meant to include any internal discussion of new internal guidelines mentioned by VP Jourova. (See event summary here: https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/event...)

Yours faithfully,

Alexander Fanta
netzpolitik.org e.V.
Schönhauser Allee 6-7
10119 Berlin
Germany

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your request for access to documents
sent on 05/04/2023 and registered on 05/04/2023 under the case number
2023/2107.

We will handle your request within 15 working days as of the date of
registration. The time-limit expires on 02/05/2023. We will let you know
if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working days.

To find more information on how we process your personal data, please see
[1]the privacy statement.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

References

Visible links
1. https://ec.europa.eu/info/principles-and...

SG ACCES DOCUMENTS, Justice and Consumers

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]themeData
Link: [3]colorSchemeMapping

[4]EASE 2023-2107 - Extension of deadline - Ares(2023)2937269  (Please use
this link only if you are an Ares user – Svp, utilisez ce lien
exclusivement si vous êtes un(e) utilisateur d’Ares)

Dear Mr. Fanta,

We are writing concerning your request for access to Commission documents
registered on 5 April 2023 under case number ‘EASE 2023/2107’.

We are currently working on your request. However, we have not yet been
able to gather all the elements necessary to carry out a full analysis of
your request. We will not be able to send you the reply within the
prescribed time limit expiring on 26 April 2023.

Please do consider that part of the documents requested originate from
third parties, which will have to be consulted. Therefore, in line with
Article 7(3) of [5]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, we need to extend this
time limit by 15 additional working days. The new time limit expires on 17
May 2023.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Kind regards,

The SG Access-to-Documents Team - cr

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D97824.A94557B0
2. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
3. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
4. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...
5. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Mr. Fanta,

We are writing concerning your request for access to Commission documents
registered on 5 April 2023 under case number ‘EASE 2023/2107’.

We are currently working on your request. However, we have not yet been
able to gather all the elements necessary to carry out a full analysis of
your request. We will not be able to send you the reply within the
prescribed time limit expiring on 26 April 2023.

Please do consider that part of the documents requested originate from
third parties, which will have to be consulted. Therefore, in line with
Article 7(3) of [1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, we need to extend this
time limit by 15 additional working days. The new time limit expires on 17
May 2023.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Kind regards,

The SG Access-to-Documents Team

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

1 Attachment

Hello,

Please find attached a message concerning your request for access to
Commission documents registered under the above case number 2023/2107.

Kind regards,

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

1 Attachment

Dear Mister Fanta,

Please find attached a message concerning your request for access to
Commission documents registered under the above case number 2023/2107.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message by return email.

Kind regards,

The Access to Document Team.

Dear Justice and Consumers,

Please pass this on to the person who reviews confirmatory applications.

I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to my access to documents request 'Access to document and retention policy'.

Access was denied to a number of documents pertaining to a possible overhaul of the Commission's document policy and retention rules, namely documents 2-12. DG Just holds the view that disclosure of "preliminary views on strategic issues that do not necessarily represent the final position of the stakeholder would have a negative effect on the outcome".

In the light of this refusal, I would like to point to two relevant court decision. In case C-57/16 P ClientEarth, para. 84, the court found that the "possibility for citizens to scrutinise and be made aware of all the information forming the basis for EU legislative action is a precondition for the effective exercise of their democratic rights
as recognised, in particular, in Article 10(3) TEU."

More specifically, in case T-163/21 De Capitani, the court stated that "the preliminary nature of the discussions relating to the legislative proposal in question does not justify, as such, the application of the exception laid down in the first subparagraph of Article 4(3) of Regulation No 1049/2001." Moreover, it states: "Public opinion is perfectly capable of understanding that the author of a proposal is likely to amend its content subsequently." The court finds that in cases in which an institutions argues that disclosure would create pressure from outside actors, the "reality of such external pressure must, however, be established with certainty, and evidence must be adduced to show that there is a reasonably foreseeable risk that the decision to be taken would be substantially affected owing to that external pressure."

In the light of recent jurisprudence, I argue that in this case the Commission has applied Article 4 (3.) incorrectly and should release the documents in full.

I further note that the changes in question pertain to the preparation of the inter-institutional guidelines on the use of modern communication tools, namely text and instant messages. This has been a matter of considerable public scrutiny and debate, not least in the wake of an Ombudsman finding following a complaint by myself on the possible use of text messages by President Von der Leyen. In the light of the many news stories, written questions from MEPs, and a lawsuit filed by the New York Times, I would like to also argue for an overriding public interest in disclosure. Vice-President Jourova has announced a new approach to the retention of and access to e-mail and text messages at a conference of the European Ombudsman on 29 November 2021, where she posed the possibility of either creating new guidelines, or to attempt an overhaul of Regulation 1049/2001. Therefore the documents in question should be seen in the context of this public announcement, as direct extension of an important public debate about the transparency of EU institutions in the 21st Century. Claiming that an initiative on modernisation of rules and transparency can not itself be conducted in a transparent manner beggars belief.

Yours faithfully,

Alexander Fanta
netzpolitik.org e.V.
Schönhauser Allee 6-7
10119 Berlin
Germany

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your confirmatory request for case
2023/2107, sent on 12/06/2023 and registered on 12/06/2023.

We will handle your confirmatory request within 15 working days as of the
date of registration. The time-limit expires on 03/07/2023. We will let
you know if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working
days.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your confirmatory request for case
2023/2107, sent on 12/06/2023 and registered on 12/06/2023.

We will handle your confirmatory request within 15 working days as of the
date of registration. The time-limit expires on 03/07/2023. We will let
you know if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working
days.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Mr Fanta,

We refer to your email, registered on 12 June 2023, by 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 documents ("Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001"), registered
under reference number above.

Your confirmatory application is currently being handled. Unfortunately,
we have not yet been able to finalize the internal consultations needed to
carry out a full analysis of your request and to take a final decision.
Therefore, we are not in a position to reply to your confirmatory request
within the prescribed time limit which expires on 3 July 2023.
Consequently, we have to extend this period by another 15 working days in
accordance with Article 8(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. The new
deadline expires on 24 July 2023.

We regret this additional delay and sincerely apologise for any
inconvenience this may cause. However, we can assure you that we are doing
our utmost to provide you with a final reply as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

SG.C1 ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Mr Fanta ,

We refer to your email, registered on 12 June 2023, by 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 documents ("Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001"), registered
under reference number above.

We also refer to our email of 30 June 2023 by which the deadline for
handling your request was extended. Your confirmatory application is
currently being handled.

Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to finalize the internal
consultations needed to carry out a full analysis of your request and to
take a final decision. Therefore, we are not in a position to reply to
your confirmatory request within the prescribed time limit which expires
on 24 July 2023.

We regret this additional delay and sincerely apologise for any
inconvenience this may cause. However, we can assure you that we are doing
our utmost to provide you with a final reply as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

SG.C1 ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM

SG-GREFFE-CERTIFICATION@ec.europa.eu, Justice and Consumers

13 Attachments

Dear Mr Fanta,

 

Please find attached the electronic version of Commission Decision C(2023)
5458 as adopted by the European Commission on 4.8.2023.

 

The formal notification of the decision under Article 297 TFEU is being
made only in electronic form.

 

Could you please confirm receipt of the attached documents by return
e-mail?

 

Many thanks in advance.

 

Kind regards,

 

Oana Boldis

Post-adoption actions coordination support

 

European Commission
Secretariat General
SG.B.2 - Written, Empowerment & Delegation Procedures
( +32 2 29 71829
: [1][email address]

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Dear Ms Boldis,

thank you for your reply and granting wider access. I acknowledge receipt.

Yours sincerely,

Alexander Fanta