Communication with Austria regarding nationalization of HGAA

The request was successful.

Dear Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN),

on December 23, the Commission approved the Austrian nationalization of Hypo Group Alpe Adria.

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:

any communication with Austrian officials regarding the aforementioned issue (HGAA), any documents submitted by Austria regarding the nationalization.

Yours faithfully,
Markus Hametner

Economic and Financial Affairs

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:
http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/...

Yours faithfully,

S. van Ackere
European Commission
Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs
R.4: Evaluation, internal control, business continuity and document management

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Dear Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN),

My address is:
derStandard.at | DER STANDARD
c/o Markus Hametner
Vordere Zollamtsstraße 13
A-1030 Wien
AUSTRIA

However, I'd prefer to receive the requested information electronically. On which legal basis are you requiring my postal address?

Yours faithfully,
Markus Hametner

Economic and Financial Affairs

Dear Mr Hametner,

With respect to your questions regarding the provision of a postal address (copied below), 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.

Kind regards,

S. van Ackere
European Commission
Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs
R.4: Evaluation, internal control, business continuity and document management

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Economic and Financial Affairs

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 05/08/2014. We hereby acknowledge receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered on 07/08/2014 under reference number GestDem 2014/3643.

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 29/08/2014. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due course.

Yours faithfully,

S. van Ackere
European Commission
Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs
R.4: Evaluation, internal control, business continuity and document management

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Economic and Financial Affairs

1 Attachment

Dear Sir,

               

We refer to your e-mail dated 05/08/2014 in which you make a request for
access to documents, registered on 07/08/2014 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 29/08/2014.

 

An extended time limit is needed as your application concerns documents
held by different services which must be consulted.

 

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 19/09/2014.

 

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

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

S. van Ackere

 
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European Commission
Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs
R.4: Evaluation, internal control, business continuity and document
management

 

 

 

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Economic and Financial Affairs

10 Attachments

Dear Sir,
 
We refer to your e-mail dated 05/08/2014 in which you make a request for
access to documents, registered on 07/08/2014 under the above mentioned
reference number.
 
We enclose a copy of the documents requested.
 

* Questionnaires that were sent to Austrian authorities including the
Ministry of Finance and Central Bank in advance of missions:

 
September 2012
 
October 2013
 
April 2014 - the document in this message was not actually sent, but was
used to structure the dialogue with the Ministry of Finance.

* Other e-mail exchanges with Austrian authorities in 2014:

 
It needs to be noted that ECFIN did not get any written replies to these
questions. Rather, the information was conveyed orally during the mission
meetings and used subsequently to support the analysis in ECFIN's
publications and internal notes.
 
These exchanges do not deal strictly with the nationalisation of HGAA, but
rather with the fiscal implications of the institution's ongoing
restructuring process. Nevertheless they do bear relevance to the issue.
 
DG Competition may have other documents regarding the nationalisation of
HGAA.
 
You may reuse the documents requested free of charge for non-commercial
and commercial purposes provided that the source is acknowledged, that you
do not distort the original meaning or message of the documents. Please
note that the Commission does not assume liability stemming from the reuse
(See the Decision of the Commission of 12 December 2011 (2011/833/EU), OJ
L 330/39 of 14 December 2011 for details; this Decision does not apply to
documents for which third parties hold the copyrights, Article 2 (2) (b)).
 
Yours faithfully,
 
S. van Ackere
 
European Commission
Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs
R.4: Evaluation, internal control, business continuity and document
management