Alcoholic beverages expenditure by the European Commission presidency and its aides

Paul Graf made this access to documents request to Secretariat General of the European Commission

Waiting for an internal review by Secretariat General of the European Commission of their handling of this request.

From: Paul Graf

Delivered

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:

European Commission Presidency team ( as defined here: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissi... )annual expenditure for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 on beverages containing alcohol.

Expenditure is defined in this as the act of demanding being supplied alcoholic beverages or their consumption and not necessarily the actual execution of the purchase (which can be done by a purchasing department within the EC).

To be taken into account: Alcoholic beverages can be booked under unidentified general expenses as well or hidden within accommodation or travelling expenses, and for that reason I request looking to the detail of general expense claims in order to find this kind of specific purchase or consumption.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Graf

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Secretariat General of the European Commission

Les bureaux de la Commission sont fermés du 25 décembre 2017 au 2 janvier
2018 inclus.  Vos demandes d'accès aux documents seront traitées dès le 3
janvier.  Nous vous souhaitons de bonnes fêtes de Noël et une excellente
Nouvelle Année !

*  *  *

Die Abteilungen der Europäischen Kommission sind vom 25. Dezember 2017 bis
einschließlich 2. Januar 2018 geschlossen. Ihre Anträge auf Zugang zu
Dokumenten werden ab dem 3. Januar behandelt. Wir wünschen Ihnen frohe
Weihnachten und ein gutes neues Jahr!

* *  *

European Commission departments are closed from 25^th December 2017 to 2nd
January 2018.  We will handle your requests for access to documents as
from 3 January.  We wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

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Secretariat General of the European Commission

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your request for access to documents.

Unfortunately you have not indicated your postal address that is required for registering and handling your request in line with the procedural requirements. Please send us your full postal address at your earliest convenience.

Pending your reply, we reserve the right to refuse the registration of your request.

You may, of course, use directly the electronic form for entering your request:

[1]http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/...

Best regards,

Carlos Remis
SG.B.4
Transparence
Berl. 05/315

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From: Paul Graf

Delivered

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

On December 19th 2017 the EU Ombudsman clarified that reporting a postal address is not necessary:
https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/cases/de...

The Ombudsman considers that requesting this information is maladministration.

Please clarify your position concerning my request, your address request and the Ombudsman decision.

Since my request fulfills forms, please take note that the time-terms of my request have started from the day of my original request.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Graf

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Secretariat General of the European Commission

Dear Sir,

With respect to your questions regarding the provision of a postal address, please find our explanations below.

On 1 April 2014, the postal address became a mandatory feature for the purpose of introducing a request for access to documents.

The decision to ask for a postal address from applicants for access to documents was triggered by the following considerations:

• The need to obtain legal certainty as regards the date of receipt of the reply by the applicant under Regulation 1049/2001. Indeed, as foreseen by Article 297 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), […] decisions which specify to whom they are addressed, shall be notified to those to whom they are addressed and shall take effect upon such notification. Replies triggering the possibility for administrative or judicial redress are therefore transmitted via registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt. This requires an indication of a valid postal address by the applicant;

• The need to direct the Commission's scarce resources first of all to those requests which have been filed by "real" applicants. With only a compulsory indication of an e-mail address, applicants can easily introduce requests under an invented identity or under the identity of a third person. Asking for a postal address helps the Commission to protect the administration, as well as other citizens and legal persons, from abuse;

• For similar reasons, asking for a compulsory indication of a postal address enables the Commission services to verify whether Article 6(3) of the Regulation, on voluminous requests, is being evaded by introducing several requests under different identities. Indeed, in its Ryanair judgment, the General Court confirmed that Article 6(3) cannot be evaded by splitting the application into a number of applications. The Commission would like to point out that, in 2012/2013, it received some 57 confirmatory requests from what it suspects to be one single applicant operating under 13 different identities;

• Knowing whether the applicant is an EU resident in the sense of Article 2(1) of Regulation 1049/2001 is a precondition for the purpose of correctly applying the exception in Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation 1049/2001 (protection of the privacy and integrity of the individual), which has to be interpreted in accordance with Data Protection Regulation 45/2001. Article 9 of Regulation 45/2001 requires the adequacy of the level of protection afforded by the third country or international organisation when transmitting personal data to third-country residents or legal persons. It follows that, in case of requests for documents which include personal data, the correct application of the data protection rules cannot be ensured in the absence of a postal address enabling the Commission to ascertain that the minimum data protection standards will be respected.

All of these considerations show that the request for and the consequent processing of a postal address is not only appropriate but also strictly necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest within the meaning of Article 5 (a) of Data Protection Regulation 45/2001, namely providing a smooth and effective access to documents.

We therefore kindly reiterate our request to you to provide a full postal address, so we can duly register and handle your request. Please note that, once we receive your postal address, we will register your request for access as an initial application for access to documents in the meaning of Article 6(1) of Regulation 1049/2001. The deadline for handling your initial request shall run as from the moment of registration of your request following the submission of your postal address.

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards,

Carlos Remis
SG.B.4
Transparence
Berl. 05/315

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From: Paul Graf

Delivered

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

I am not satisfied with your reply and I reiterate my information request.

I am an Italian citizen and therefore I have the right to access this information. If you presume I am falsely declaring this or that I am filing multiple requests or that in any way I am circumventing regulations, that is your issue, not mine since law presumes I am a law-abiding citizen.

You have failed to comment on the point I made concerning the Ombudsman decision. Do you accept or reject the Ombudsman decision concerning your demand of a postal address? Please be explicit.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Graf

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From: Paul Graf

Delivered

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

While I wait for your reply, just let me quote what the Ombudsman says:

"11. ... the Ombudsman deeply regrets that the Commission has chosen to ignore all the very clear indications of the continuing desire for public access to the requested documents. Insisting on renewed requests and procedural formalities, when they are unnecessary and serve no obvious useful purpose, shows a lack of respect for citizens’ fundamental rights. The Commission is therefore kindly asked to formally register the request at the reception of the present decision, and to process it rapidly and in any case within the deadline foreseen in Regulation 1049/2001. "

It is painfully evident that you don't only disrespect citizens' rights but you evidently disrespect the Ombudsman's decisions.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Graf

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Secretariat General of the European Commission

Dear Mr Graf,

We refer to your emails of 26 December and 4 January, copied below.

In response to the question you raised, please be informed that the Commission's latest position regarding the postal address requirement is reflected in our reply to the Ombudsman of 9 March 2017, which can be found on the Ombudsman website (https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/cases....

The Commission has been asked to provide its reply to the Ombudsman's final conclusions on this topic by the end of the first quarter of 2018, and this reply will also be made available on the Ombudsman's website.

We also refer to our reply to you of 29/12/2017 in which we set out our reasons for requesting a postal address.

Thank you for your understanding.

Kind regards,

Carlos Remis
SG.B.4
Transparence
Berl. 05/315

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From: Paul Graf

Delivered

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

If this is your position then I will wait for your final decision concerning my request, in other words whether or not you accept it or reject it on the grounds of a lack of a postal address which I will certainly not be providing.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Graf

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Secretariat General of the European Commission

Dear Mr Graf,

As explained in our previous correspondence, the Commission is not in a position to register your request pending the provision of a valid postal address.

Thank you again for your understanding.

Kind regards,

Carlos Remis
SG.B.4
Transparence
Berl. 05/315

show quoted sections

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Secretariat General of the European Commission only: