Brexit

Chris Harris made this access to documents request to Secretariat General of the European Commission

The request was partially successful.

From: Chris Harris

Delivered

Dear Secretariat General,

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:

Please provide any correspondence (memo, email, letter) between the British government and the European Commission regarding Brexit, namely the referendum on Britain's future within the European Union.

Yours faithfully,

Chris Harris

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Secretariat General of the European Commission


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Dear Mr Harris,

 

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,

 

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM
[2]cid:image001.gif@01D18A86.5C3DA690
European Commission
Secretariat General

Unit B4 - Transparency

 

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Secretariat General of the European Commission


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Dear Mr  Harris,

 

Thank you for your e-mail dated 23/04/2016.  We hereby acknowledge receipt
of your application for access to documents, which was registered on
25/04/2016 under reference number GestDem  2016/2180

 

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
20/05/2016. 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.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM
[1]cid:image001.gif@01D191AE.44A276D0
European Commission
Secretariat General

Unit B4 - Transparency

 

 

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Secretariat General of the European Commission


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Dear Mr. Harris,
 
On behalf of Jonathan Faull, please find attached a note for your
attention on the above subject.
 
Regards
 
Marie
 
 
Marie Phillips
Office of the Director General
Task Force for Strategic Issues related to the UK Referendum
European Commission
BERL 2/319
B-1049 Brussels
Tel:  + 32 2 2958658

[1][email address]

The views expressed above are the writer's alone and may not in any
circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European
Commission.  If you have received this message in error, please contact
the sender by e-mail or telephone + 32 2 2990725 and then delete this
message.  Thank you.
 
 
 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

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From: Chris Harris

Delivered

Dear Secretariat General,

Thanks for your message.

You have rejected my request on the grounds release of the documents would undermine the ongoing decision process.

To make it clear, this is what the article says: "Access to a document, drawn up by an institution for internal use or received by an institution, which relates to a matter where the decision has not been taken by the institution, shall be refused if disclosure of the document would seriously undermine the institution's decision-making process, unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure."

The key phrase is the "institution's decision-making process". It is not the institution that is involved in the decision-making process, it is a country, the UK. The institution in this case, the European Commission, has no involvement in that decision-making.

There is also an over-riding public interest in releasing the documents. It's been 40+ years since the British public were given the opportunity to say whether they wanted to be involved in the EU project, a whole generation never voted for it in the first place. They also have the right to know, if they vote yes, on what terms they will stay in the union. It is crucial that voters have access to this information before they go to the polls, so they are able to make an informed, democratic choice.

Regards,
Chris Harris

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Secretariat General of the European Commission

I am away from my desk until 15 June 2016.  This email is NOT being
forwarded.  In case of necessity please call + 32 2 2981521
([email address])

 

 

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Secretariat General of the European Commission

Dear Mr. Harris,
 
Thank you for your message.  If you wish to request the Commission to
review its position, please address such request, according to the
procedure explained in our letter of 3 June, to:
 
[1][email address]
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Marie
 
Marie Phillips
Office of the Director General
Task Force for Strategic Issues related to the UK Referendum
European Commission
BERL 2/319
B-1049 Brussels
Tel:  + 32 2 2958658

[2][email address]

The views expressed above are the writer's alone and may not in any
circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European
Commission.  If you have received this message in error, please contact
the sender by e-mail or telephone + 32 2 2990725 and then delete this
message.  Thank you.
 
From: Chris Harris <[FOI #2819 email]>
Sent: Thursday 9 June 2016 16:54
To: PHILLIPS Marie (UKTF)
Subject: Re: Your request for access to documents under Regulatioin
(EC) No
1049/2001 Gestdem 2016/2180
Dear Secretariat General,
Thanks for your message.
You have rejected my request on the grounds release of the documents
would undermine the
ongoing decision process.
To make it clear, this is what the article says: "Access to a document,
drawn up by an institution
for internal use or received by an institution, which relates to a matter
where the decision has not
been taken by the institution, shall be refused if disclosure of the
document would seriously
undermine the institution's decision-making process, unless there is an
overriding public interest
in disclosure."
The key phrase is the "institution's decision-making process". It is not
the institution that is
involved in the decision-making process, it is a country, the UK. The
institution in this case, the
European Commission, has no involvement in that decision-making.
There is also an over-riding public interest in releasing the documents.
It's been 40+ years since
the British public were given the opportunity to say whether they wanted
to be involved in the
EU project, a whole generation never voted for it in the first place.
They also have the right to
know, if they vote yes, on what terms they will stay in the union. It is
crucial that voters have
access to this information bef
 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]

Link to this

From: Chris Harris

Delivered

Dear Secretariat General,

Thanks for your message.

You have rejected my request on the grounds release of the documents would undermine the
ongoing decision process. To make it clear, this is what the article says: "Access to a document,
drawn up by an institution for internal use or received by an institution, which relates to a matter
where the decision has not been taken by the institution, shall be refused if disclosure of the
document would seriously undermine the institution's decision-making process, unless there is an
overriding public interest in disclosure."

The key phrase is the "institution's decision-making process". It is not the institution that is
involved in the decision-making process, it is a country, the UK. The institution in this case, the
European Commission, has no involvement in that decision-making.

There is/was (as the referendum has now taken place) an over-riding public interest in releasing the documents. It had been 40+ years since the British public were given the opportunity to say whether they wanted to be involved in the EU project, a whole generation never voted for it in the first place. They also have the right to know, if they vote yes, on what terms they will stay in the union.

Please review the decision to not release before the referendum and whether, now that has taken place, it can be provided.

Yours faithfully,

Chris Harris

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Secretariat General of the European Commission

Dear Mr Harris,
 
I refer to your email of 6 July 2016, by which you lodge a confirmatory
application in accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001
regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission
documents  (hereafter Regulation 1049/2001).
 
I regret to inform you that your confirmatory application was lodged
outside the applicable deadline defined in Article 7(2) of Regulation
1049/2001. That Article provides that in the event of a total or partial
refusal, the applicant may, within 15 working days of receiving the
institution’s reply, make a confirmatory application asking the
institution to reconsider its position.
 
Consequently, the Commission is not in a position to handle your
application.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM (PS)
European Commission
Secretariat General
Unit SG.B4 – Transparency
 
 
 

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From: Chris Harris

Delivered

Dear Secretariat General,

I feel this is entirely unreasonable to reject my request for a review.

You responded to my initial request on June 3. I sent a clarifying note, in which I set out my case for you releasing this information. I did not request a review at this stage because (a) I was keen to get this information before the Brexit referendum and (b) I thought I had a strong case and you would accept my points of view.

However, you did not respond to my points. Instead, you invited me to ask for a review, on June 15. To which I did on July 6, just within 15 working days.

Regards.

Chris.

Yours faithfully,

Chris Harris

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Secretariat General of the European Commission

Dear Mr Harris,

Thank you for your e-mail.

Unfortunately, as indicated in our email of 13 July 2016, your request for a review of the initial reply given by the Task Force on Strategic Issues related to the UK Referendum (UKTF) was lodged beyond the deadline established by Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001. That Article provides that in the event of a total or partial refusal, the applicant may, within 15 working days of receiving the institution’s reply, make a confirmatory application asking the institution to reconsider its position.

You sent your clarifying note, in reply to the UKTF's initial reply to your access-to-documents request, on 9 June 2016. As you recognise in your e-mail of 13 July 2016, you intentionally did not request a review of the initial reply through that clarifying note.

As your message of 9 June 2016 did not serve the purpose of lodging a confirmatory application, the UKTF, in reply to that message, invited you to request a review of the initial reply according to the procedure explained in [its] letter of 3 June.

We regret to confirm that the 15 working days deadline upon receipt of the initial reply had largely expired at the time of your confirmatory application of 6 July 2016.

The Commission regrets not being able to derogate from the compulsory deadlines laid down in Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, as it is bound to treat all applications for access to documents according to the same rules so as to ensure equal treatment of those applications.

Thank you for your understanding,

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM (PS)
European Commission
Secretariat General
Unit SG.B4 – Transparency

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