Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,
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 total number and a list of the individuals who joined President Juncker on the air taxi flight to the Antalya, Turkey, from 14-17/11/2015 relating to Settlement of mission expenses DL-15-1144979.
I would like access to any documents that would enable me to know the name, surname, job title, and organisation/body of those who are public officials (EU, other countries, intergovernmental organisations etc, respectively detailed), those who are lobbyists, those who are journalists, and any other individuals that joined Juncker on this flight.
With respect to the name and surname of public officials in particular, this information is absolutely necessary in order to be able to evaluate the way in which public funds are being spent by public officials on public business. In addition to this necessity of transferring data which would provide me with the name of the public officials, there is also no reason to assume that the data subject’s legitimate interests – in particular their privacy and integrity - might be prejudiced. The spending of public funds on public business does not reveal anything relating to the private lives of the public officials.
Cava de San Miguel 8, 4c
28005 Madrid, Spain
Dear Mr Harmsen,
Thank you for your e-mail dated 18/01/2017. We hereby acknowledge
receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered
on 19/01/2017 under GESTDEM 2017/320 reference.
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
09/02/2017. 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
ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM
Unit B4 – Transparency
Veuillez trouver ci-joint le document Ares(2017)797008 concernant "Access to documents request - Air taxi passengers with Juncker - G20 Antalya 2015 - GESTDEM 2017/320 - REPLY" envoyé par Mme GAFFEY Veronica le 14/02/2017.
Please find attached document Ares(2017)797008 regarding "Access to documents request - Air taxi passengers with Juncker - G20 Antalya 2015 - GESTDEM 2017/320 - REPLY" sent by Ms GAFFEY Veronica on 14/02/2017.
Note: This e-mail was automatically generated by the European Commission's central mail registration system.
Replies by e-mail must be addressed to the original sender GAFFEY Veronica (mailto:[email address]).
Remarque : Cet e-mail a été généré automatiquement par le système d'enregistrement central du courrier de la Commission européenne.
Toute réponse éventuelle par e-mail doit être adressée à l'expéditeur en personne, à savoir GAFFEY Veronica (mailto:[email address]).
Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,
I am filing a confirmatory application to the Commission Decision of 14 February 2017 to my request for access to EU documents (Gestdem reference 2017/320).
The documents requested have been denied due to the application of the exception contained in Article 4.1(b) of Regulation 1049/2001 on the protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual.
Specifically, you argue that “the necessity of disclosing the aforementioned personal data to you has not been established and it cannot be assumed that such disclosure would not prejudice the legitimate rights of the person concerned”.
In the first instance, I would contend that when the information requested under the right of access to documents relates simply to the names of public officials engaged in public activities, funded by public funds, should not require a further justification of the necessity of access than the mere fact that a member of the European public has requested that data.
Linked to that, with respect to the assertion that “it cannot be assumed that such disclosure would not prejudice the legitimate rights of the person[s] concerned,” I would respectfully suggest that in such a context there is nothing that would lead one to assume that such rights would be prejudiced, and hence it can be assumed that they would not, at least for the more senior officials whose names are in the public domain and whose presence in events like this is usually public.
Be that as it may, I establish below the necessity of having the personal data disclosed and why it does not prejudice the legitimate rights of the persons concerned.
The “personal data” (name, surname, job title, and organisation/body of those on the flight) to which I have been refused access should be disclosed in full, because of the necessity of permitting members of the public to hold to account public officials for the spending of public funds on public business. Without access to this “personal data”, it is impossible for the public, journalists, or public watchdogs to hold the officials accountable for the spending of funds in line with the established Commission rules on such travel arrangements.
Disclosure will not prejudice the legitimate rights of the person concerned because the information will not have anything to do with their actions as private individuals. Rather, the information will only be able to be used to judge their actions as public officials on public business.
In this context, there is a qualitative difference between what I am requesting and the personal data at issue in case C-465/00 (Rechnungshof) as in there the personal data was the salaries and pensions of individuals (including pensioners), hence data more likely to prejudice the private lives of individuals if made public.
To the extent that the Commission has some concerns that disclosure of this data might prejudice the private lives of the individuals, I would like to know whether the Commission sought the consent of those individuals to disclose their names before responding to my request, which would be a good practice, particularly in the context of an evident public interest and the absence of anything that would lead to the assumption that legitimate rights would be prejudiced.
For the above reasons, I am requesting the Commission reassess its Decision to refuse access, and that it disclose in full the requested information.