Advisory Group for the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (E03523)

Bram Vranken made this access to documents request to Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

The request was refused by Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

From: Bram Vranken

Delivered

Dear Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs,

In March 2017 the European Commission issued a call for the experts for the Advisory Group for the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (E03523). The Advisory Group is highlighted as being active on the Register of Commission Expert Groups.

The Call for Applications for the Selection of Members of the Advisory Group for the Preparatory Action on Defence Research states that the name of individuals appointed will be published on the register. The call also states that "DG GROW shall make available all relevant documents, including the agendas, the minutes and the participants' submissions [...] In particular DG GROW shall ensure publication of the agenda and other relevant background documents in due time ahead of the meeting, followed by timely publication of minutes."

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 list of members appointed to the Advisory Group and the Declaration of Interests submitted by these members;
- All documents - including but not limited to emails, presentations, agendas and minutes - related to the Advisory Group for the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (E03523)

Yours faithfully,

Bram Vranken
On behalf of Vredesactie

Vredesactie
Patriottenstraat 27,
2600 Berchem
www.vredesactie.be
Tel. +32 (0) 3 281 68 39
Mobile: +32 497 13 14 64

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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Dear Mr Vranken,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 23/04/2018. We hereby acknowledge receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered on 30/04/2018 under reference number GestDem 2018/2431.

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, your application will be handled within 15 working days. The time limit will expire on 28/05/2018. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due course.

You have lodged your application via the AsktheEU.org website. Please note that this is a private website which has no link with any institution of the European Union. Therefore the European Commission cannot be held accountable for any technical issues or problems linked to the use of this system.

Please note also that the European Commission is not responsible for any possible processing of personal data by the private organisation running the AsktheEU.org website, through which you have channelled your request. Please refer to their privacy policy.

Yours faithfully,
DG GROW – Access to documents team

European Commission
Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
DG GROW/A1 – Communication, Access to Documents and Document Management

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Dear Mr Vranken,

We refer to your e-mail dated 23/04/2018 in which you make a request for
access to documents, registered on 30/04/2018 under the above mentioned
reference number.

Your application is currently being handled. However, we will not be in a
position to complete the handling of your application within the time
limit of 15 working days, which expires on 28/05/2018.

An extended time limit is needed as your application concerns a large
number of documents.

Therefore, we have to extend the time limit with 15 working days in
accordance with Article 7(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding
public access to documents. The new time limit expires on 18/06/2018.

We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.

Yours sincerely,

 

DG GROW – Access to documents team

 

[1]cid:479385507@17082012-2045

European Commission
Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and
SMEs
DG GROW/A1 – Communication, Access to Documents and Document Management

 

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From: Bram Vranken

Delivered

Dear Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs,

The deadline for the handling of the FOI request has expired. Can you update me on the state of play?

Yours faithfully,

Bram Vranken

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Dear Mr Vranken,

 

We refer to your e-mail dated 23/04/2018 in which you make a request for
access to documents, registered on 30/04/2018 under the above mentioned
reference number.

The reply to your request could not be finalised by today. Therefore, we
are not in a position to complete the handling of your application within
the extended time limit of 15 working days, which expires today
(18/06/2018).

 

We apologise for this additional delay and for any inconvenience this may
cause.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

DG GROW – Access to documents team

 

[1]cid:479385507@17082012-2045

European Commission
Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and
SMEs
DG GROW/A1 – Communication, Access to Documents and Document Management

 

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Dear Mr Vrede,

 

Please find attached a letter from our Director General Miss Lowri Evans

 

Kind Regards

 

Simon Carrette

GROW.I.5

Secretariat

[1]cid:image001.gif@01CE8ED5.58558160

European Commission
DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW)

Space Policy and Research Unit I-1

Avenue d'Auderghem 45 - BREY 09/102
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

+32 229-89305

[2][email address]

[3]cid:image002.jpg@01D29BFD.D43F8710

 

 

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From: Bram Vranken

Delivered

Dear Mr. Carrette,

The letter from Director General Miss Lowri Evans states that I am granted partial access to document 9. This documents seems to be missing however from your email. Could you please send me the relevant document?

Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

Bram Vranken

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Dear Mr. Vranken,

 

Indeed, please accept my apologies for the inconveniences.

 

Here is attached the requested document

 

Kind Regards

 

 

Simon Carrette

GROW.I.5

Secretariat

[1]cid:image001.gif@01CE8ED5.58558160

European Commission
DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW)

Space Policy and Research Unit I-1

Avenue d'Auderghem 45 - BREY 09/102
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

+32 229-89305

[2][email address]

[3]cid:image002.jpg@01D29BFD.D43F8710

 

 

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From: Bram Vranken

Delivered

Dear Sir/Madam,

We refer to your letter of 24 July 2018 concerning access to documents requests 2018/2431 submitted to you on 23 April 2018 pursuant to Regulation 1049/2001 ("Regulation"), by which you refuse to disclose all requested documents, except for document 9 (see https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/advi... The present letter constitutes our confirmatory application in accordance with Article 7 of the Regulation.

We note that you base your decision on two different grounds, namely:

- The disclosure of the requested documents would undermine the protection of the public interest as regards defence and public security matters pursuant to Article 4.1(a) of the Regulation because they are "related in their totality to the EU Defence and public security policy" ("Defence and public security exceptions"); and

- The requested documents separately fall under the exception in Article 4(3) of the Regulation covering disclosure that would seriously undermine the European Commission's decision-making process on the basis that they refer to topics which all "pertain to on-going policy and decision-making initiatives”.

We take the view that the above-mentioned grounds cannot serve as a valid basis to refuse disclosure of the requested documents for the following reasons:

1) Defence and public security exceptions: The reasons you have put forward to justify the application of the exceptions are strikingly vague and thus unsatisfactory. In particular, you have not explained how disclosure can "specifically and actually" undermine the public interest as regards defence and public security matters and why this is "reasonably foreseeable and not purely hypothetical", as required by the established case law of the Court of Justice of the EU (see e.g. Cases 576/12 P, para. 45; C-280/11 P, para. 54; and C-506/08 P, para. 76); and

2) Decision-making process exception: You have failed to show how disclosing the documents would be "likely, specifically and actually" to seriously undermine the protection of the European Commission's decision-making process, and that the risk of that interest being undermined was "reasonably foreseeable and not purely hypothetical", as required by the established case law of the Court of Justice of the EU (see e.g. Case T-471/08, paras. 70-71).

- Separately, you have failed properly to take into account the existence of an overriding public interest in disclosure. The Advisory Group for the Preparatory Action on Defence Research task is to “provide consistent and consolidated advice to the Commission services during the preparation of the annual work programmes within the frame of the Preparatory Action.” Recently the Group has been subject to public debate as it is unclear if the Group is functioning at all, despite the fact that the annual work programme for 2018 has already been adopted. The public should be able to have a basic understanding of how important policies are being implemented. As such, there is clearly an overriding public interest in disclosure of the documents requested.

On that basis, we respectfully request that you reconsider your decision, fully comply with your obligations under the Regulation, and disclose the requested documents accordingly.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Yours faithfully,
Bram Vranken
On behalf of Vredesactie
Vredesactie
Patriottenstraat 27,
2600 Berchem
www.vredesactie.be
Tel. +32 (0) 3 281 68 39
Mobile: +32 497 13 14 64

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Dear Bram Vranken,
Thank you for your email dated 26 July 2018, by which you request,
pursuant to Regulation No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents, a review of the position
taken by DG GROW in reply to your initial application GESTDEM 2018/2431.
We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents which was registered on 27/07/2018 (Ares(2018)3984266).
Your application will be handled within 15 working days (20/08/2018).   In
case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due
course.
Please be informed that the answer to your confirmatory application is a
formal Commission decision that will be notified to you by express
delivery. 
Best regards,
 
Gitte Louise Olsen
Access to documents team
 
European Commission
Secretariat-General
Unit B4 - Transparency
Office address BERL 05/315
+32 2 995 63 26
[1][email address]
 
 

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Dear Mr Vranken,

 

I refer to your email of 26 July 2018, registered on 27 July 2018, in
which you submit, on behalf of Vredesactie, 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[1]^[1] (hereafter ‘Regulation 1049/2001’).

 

Your confirmatory application is currently being handled. Unfortunately,
due to on-going internal consultations, we are not in a position to reply
to your confirmatory request within the prescribed time limit which
expires on 20 August 2018.

Consequently, we have to extend this period by another 15 working days in
accordance with Article 8(2) of Regulation 1049/2001. The new time limit
expires on 10 September 2018.

 

I apologise for any inconvenience this delay may cause and would like to
reassure you that we will endeavor to send you our reply as soon as
possible before that date.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Gitte Louise Olsen

Access to documents team

 

European Commission

Secretariat-General

Unit B4 - Transparency

Office address BERL 05/315

+32 2 995 63 26

[2][email address]

 

 

------------------------

[3][1] Official Journal L 145 of 31.5.2001, p. 43.

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[5]Ares(2018)4300871 - 1st holding letter - VRANKEN - Gestdem 2018/2431

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Subject: Your confirmatory application for access to documents under
Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 – GESTDEM 2018/2431

 

Dear Mr Vranken,

I refer to your email of 26 July 2018, registered on 27 July 2018, in
which you submit, on behalf of Vredesactie, 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[6]^[1] (hereafter ‘Regulation 1049/2001’).

Your confirmatory application is currently being handled. Unfortunately,
due to on-going internal consultations, we are not in a position to reply
to your confirmatory request within the prescribed time limit which
expires on 20 August 2018.

 

Consequently, we have to extend this period by another 15 working days in
accordance with Article 8(2) of Regulation 1049/2001. The new time limit
expires on 10 September 2018.

I apologise for any inconvenience this delay may cause.

Yours sincerely,

 

Martine Fouwels

Deputy Head of Unit

[7]Flag

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit B4 (Transparency)

 

 

------------------------

[8][1] Official Journal L 145 of 31.5.2001, p. 43.

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[5]Ares(2018)4601150 - Your confirmatory application for access to
documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 - GESTDEM 2018/2431

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Mr Vranken,

 

I refer to your email of 26 July 2018, registered on 27 July 2018, in
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 1049/2001').

I also refer to our holding reply dated 20 August 2018, by which the time
limit for replying to your confirmatory request was extended by 15 working
days, pursuant to Article 8(2) of the Regulation. This extended time limit
expires on 10 September 2018. We have not yet finalised our internal
consultations, therefore, we will not be able to respond within the
extended time-limit.

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

Yours sincerely,

 

María OLIVÁN AVILÉS
Head of Unit

[6]cid:image001.gif@01D13362.41D673C0

European Commission

Secretariat General

SG.B.4 – Transparency
Office: BERL 05/282
B-1049 Brussels
+32 (0)2 29 94975

[7][email address]

 

 

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Dear Bram Vranken,
Please find attached a copy of the confirmatory decision taken on your
request for access to documents registered under Gestdem number 2017/7033,
adopted on 14/11/2018 in the above-mentioned case.
Please note that the Secretariat-General of the European Commission will
proceed with the formal notification of the decision in the coming days.
This copy is solely sent for your information and is not the formal
notification of the confirmatory decision.
 
Best regards,
 
Gitte Louise Olsen
Access to documents team
 
European Commission
Secretariat-General
Unit C1 – Transparency, Document Management &
Access to Document
Office address BERL 05/315
+32 2 995 63 26
[1][email address]
 
 
 

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Dear Sir,

Please find attached a copy of the confirmatory decision taken on your
request for access to documents registered under Gestdem number 2018/2431,
adopted on 26/11/2018 in the above-mentioned case.

Please note that the Secretariat-General of the European Commission will
proceed with the formal notification of the decision in the coming days.

This copy is solely sent for your information and is not the formal
notification of the confirmatory decision.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM (LC)

 

European Commission

Secretariat-General

SG C.1 – Transparency, Document Management & Access to Documents

[1][email address]

 

 

 

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From: Bram Vranken

Delivered

Dear Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs,

On the 15th of November you responded to FOI request Gestdem 2017/7033 on stakeholder meetings on the decision to establish the European Defence Fund and the Defence Industrial Development Programme.

In your response you refer to point 1 and point 2 of the request which refer to:
1. Details of stakeholders consulted on the EDF and the EDIDP, and;
2. Details of all meetings, including minutes of meetings, with all stakeholders consulted on the EDF and the EDIDP.

In your response it is stated that "I consider that by ‘details of stockholders consulted’ (sic) and the ‘details of all meetings’, you refer to documents containing, respectively, a list of ‘stakeholders consulted’ and the list of meetings with the latter. I confirm that the European Commission has not identified any such documents."

Can you confirm that you have excluded point 1 and point 2 of the request for the stated reason that you have not identified a 'list of stakeholders consulted'? I want to clarify that nowhere in the request 'a list of meetings' is requested, but that the request is limited to the scope as outlined above, namely all details of stakeholders consulted and the details of meetings with those stakeholders.

The request for example makes clear mention of 'details of meetings including minutes'. Can you confirm that you have excluded the minutes of meetings from your response? If so, can you clarify the rationale for excluding those minutes?

Yours faithfully,

Bram Vranken

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From: EC ARES NOREPLY

[1]Ares(2018)6552330 - Confirmatory decision taken on your request for
access to documents registered under Gestdem number 2018/2431

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Mr Vranken,

We interpreted the scope of your application in the way outlined in the
confirmatory decision of 15 November 2018. As mentioned in that decision,
the European Commission does not hold any 'specific' document containing
the 'details of stakeholders consulted'.

Such 'specific' documents would normally have the form of a list and
therefore, the decision of 15 November 2018 refers to the 'list of
stakeholders'.

Nonetheless, information about the stakeholders consulted is included in
the documents identified as falling under the scope of your application
2017/7033. Indeed, the documents identified (some of which were partially
released) reflect the interactions between the European Commission and
various organisations, companies and Member States. Their primary content,
however, is the contributions/input that stakeholder provided and is not
limited to the 'details of stakeholders' (which would normally be limited
to the name of the stakeholder).

The same reasoning applies to the 'details of meetings'. 

Yours faithfully,

Carlos Remis
SG.C.1
Transparence
Berl. 05/315

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From: Bram Vranken

Failed

Dear Mr Remis,

Thank you very much for your clarification.

I note that there is no list of the stakeholders consulted, your answer however does not clarify the rationale for withholding documents covered by point 2 of the request (all details on meetings with stakeholders). The request clearly mentioned minutes of meetings as one of the details covering this part of the request, but also include documents related to those meetings, such as preparations to those meetings and other reports.

I do assume that DG Grow makes minutes of the meetings they have with stakeholders on the European Defence Fund and the Defence Industrial Development Programme. If this is indeed the case, the request refers to a specific set of documents, so it is unclear how the same reasoning could apply to the second point of the request.

I hope you could clarify this point.

Yours sincerely,

Bram Vranken

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A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
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From: Bram Vranken

Delivered

Dear Mr. Remis,

There was an error when sending you this message, so I try again.

Thank you very much for your clarification.

I note that there is no list of the stakeholders consulted, your answer however does not clarify the rationale for withholding documents covered by point 2 of the request (all details on meetings with stakeholders). The request clearly mentioned minutes of meetings as one of the details covering this part of the request, but also include documents related to those meetings, such as preparations to those meetings and other reports.

I do assume that DG Grow makes minutes of the meetings they have with stakeholders on the European Defence Fund and the Defence Industrial Development Programme. If this is indeed the case, the request refers to a specific set of documents, so it is unclear how the same reasoning could apply to the second point of the request.

I hope you could clarify this point.

Yours sincerely,

Bram Vranken

Yours faithfully,

Bram Vranken

Link to this

From: EC ARES NOREPLY

[1]Ares(2018)6598015 - access to documents request - Advisory Group for
the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (E03523)

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Mr Vranken,

With regard to your question of 19 December 2018, we confirm that the
documents listed in the confirmatory decision of 15 November 2018, are the
only documents held by the Commission that were identified as falling
under the scope of your application 2017/7033.

Best regards,

Carlos Remis
SG.C.1
Transparence
Berl. 05/315

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From: Bram Vranken

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Dear Mr. Remis,

It seems you avoided giving answer to my question. The FOI request covered minutes of meetings with stakeholders on the European Defence Fund. Can you confirm that the European Commission excluded the minutes of meetings from their answer to my request?

Yours sincerely,

Bram Vranken

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From: Bram Vranken

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Dear Mr. Remis,

It seems you avoided giving an answer to my question. The FOI request covered minutes of meetings with stakeholders on the European Defence Fund. Can you confirm that the European Commission excluded the minutes of meetings from their answer to my request?

Yours faithfully,

Bram Vranken

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