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Communication with stakeholders on Austrian airfare plans

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Dear Mobility and Transport,

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:

1) Any and all correspondence (including email) from 1 January 2020 to the present day, between DG Mobility and Transport and stakeholders regarding airfare pricing in relation to the climate. This includes, but is not limited to, measures proposed by the Austrian government.

2) A list of meetings, virtual or otherwise, from 1 January 2020 to the present day, between DG Mobility and Transport and stakeholders regarding airfare pricing in relation to the climate. This includes, but is not limited to, measures proposed by the Austrian government.

3) minutes of all meetings, virtual or otherwise, from 1 January 2020 to the present day, between DG Mobility and Transport and stakeholders regarding airfare pricing in relation to the climate. This includes, but is not limited to, measures proposed by the Austrian government.

I would like to make clear I prefer you produce the documents on a rolling basis. At no point should the Commission’s search for—or deliberations concerning—certain documents delay the production of others that the Commission has already retrieved and elected to produce.

To the extent possible, I prefer the documents in electronic format. Documents that cannot be sent in electronic format should be sent to the address below.

Should my request be denied wholly or partially, please explain the denial or all deletions referring to specific exemptions in the regulation. Also I expect the partial release of documents, in case of partial exemption according to article 4.6.

I reserve the right to appeal.

Yours faithfully,

Pascoe Sabido
Corporate Europe Observatory
Mundo-B
26 Rue d'Edimbourg
Bruxelles 1050
Belgium

MOVE-ACCES-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu, Mobility and Transport

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your e-mail of 9 February 2021. We hereby acknowledge receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered on 10 February 2021 under reference number GESTDEM 2021/0617.

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 3 March 2021. In case this time-limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due course.

For information on how we process your personal data visit our page Privacy statement – access to documents.

Yours faithfully,

MOVE ACCES DOCUMENTS Team

European Commission
Directorate General for Mobility and Transport
Unit MOVE A-4
Legal Issues & Enforcement

▪ Postal address: Europese Commissie/Commission européenne, B-1049 Brussel/Bruxelles
▪ Office address: Rue de Mot 28, B-1040 Brussels
▪ Tel. +32 2 299 11 11
E-mail: [DG MOVE request email]

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ve_move.e1-secretariat(MOVE), Mobility and Transport

1 Attachment

Please find attached document Ares(2021)1577178 from DIAZ PULIDO Maria De Las Flores (MOVE.DDG2.E.1) dated 02/03/2021.

Veuillez trouver ci-joint le document Ares(2021)1577178 de DIAZ PULIDO Maria De Las Flores (MOVE.DDG2.E.1) daté du 02/03/2021.

ve_move.e1-secretariat(MOVE), Mobility and Transport

1 Attachment

Please find attached document Ares(2021)2080977 from HOLOLEI Henrik (MOVE) dated 24/03/2021.

Veuillez trouver ci-joint le document Ares(2021)2080977 de HOLOLEI Henrik (MOVE) daté du 24/03/2021.

Dear Mobility and Transport,

Please pass this on to the person who reviews confirmatory applications.

I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to my access to documents request 'Communication with stakeholders on Austrian airfare plans'.

In your letter on March 2, 2021, you state that you had found relevant documents relating to my request, but I was subsequently disappointed to read that despite identifying the documents you are refusing to grant access to them. You state that your refusal is “covered by the exception to Article 4(2), third indent of Regulation (EC) 1049/2001, as they relate to an ongoing investigation regarding a possible infringement of EU law that could ultimately lead to launching an infringement procedure under Article 258 TFEU.” However, as you mention, this exception applies “unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure”.

Given the importance of public participation in EU decision-making and the treaty obligation imposed upon the EU to take decisions as closely as possible to the citizens, the public interest test in being granted access to these documents has not been correctly considered.

The European Parliament has officially declared a ‘climate emergency’, while the EU is positioning itself as a global leader on climate change, championing the Paris Agreement and its goal to keep temperature rise below 1.5oc. The European Green Deal, which not only contains increased emissions targets but also plans to decarbonise aviation, has further increased expectation among European citizens that the European Commission would be proving itself a global leader on addressing the climate emergency.

The public has a right to know on what grounds the Commission is investigating and considering the possibility of launching an infringement procedure against a Member State which has taken measures to reduce short-haul flights and tackle climate change, a goal the European Commission has also professed to want.

Article 15 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states:
1. In order to promote good governance and ensure the participation of civil society, the Union's institutions, bodies, offices and agencies shall conduct their work as openly as possible.

As stated in Case C‑280/11 P, the Court lays out the “advantage” of increased openness is that it enables citizens to participate more closely in the decision-making process and guarantees that the administration enjoys greater legitimacy and is more effective and more accountable to the citizen in a democratic system.

Openness in that respect contributes to strengthening democracy by enabling citizens to scrutinise all the information which has formed the basis for a legislative act. The possibility for citizens to find out the considerations underpinning legislative action is a precondition for the effective exercise of their democratic rights (Sweden and Turco v Council, paragraph 46).(1)

In order for the public to fully participate in European Commission decision making, citizens must be able to follow decisions as they are happening. Just communicating finalised decisions with European citizens once they are made, without giving them a chance to have an input, is not a democratic system.

If citizens are to be able to exercise their democratic rights, they must be in a position to follow in detail the decision-making process within the institutions taking part in the legislative procedures and to have access to all relevant information.(2) Infringement procedures have a direct impact on the legislative process and should therefore be included within this definition.

Indeed, opening up these documents at a time when decision-making process is still ongoing, enables citizens to understand the options envisaged and the choices made by that institution and, thus, to be aware of the considerations underlying the action of the European Union and its Member States. In addition, that disclosure puts those citizens in a position effectively to make their views known regarding those choices before those choices have been definitively adopted.(3)

‘it is rather a lack of public information and debate which is likely to give rise to doubts as to whether that institution has fulfilled its tasks in a fully independent manner and exclusively in the general interest’. (4)

We are living in a moment of unprecedented public interest in climate policy making, therefore secrecy around the complaint and subsequent actions may undermine public confidence in the EU and its ability to tackle the climate emergency. While you state that the sharing of the documents “would affect the climate of mutual trust between the authorities of the Member State concerned and the Commission”, there is no recognition of the impact on the trust of the European public, which is currently being eroded not just on climate change but also around the Commission’s handling of the covid-19 vaccine roll-out. It is therefore in the public interest to disclose the documents and not further undermine trust in the institutions.

Citizens have the right to know what complaints industry stakeholders have been making to the European Commission and what subsequent measures are being taken.

A full history of my request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/comm...

Yours faithfully,

Pascoe Sabido

1. Case C‑280/11 P Council v Access Info Europe, para 33
2. Case T‑233/09 Access Info Europe v Council, para 69
3. Case C-57/16P ClientEarth v Commission
4. Case C-57/16P ClientEarth v Commission para 104
5. Youth Initiative for Human Rights v. Serbia, App. No. 48135/06, ECHR , 25 June 2013, para 24

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Mobility and Transport

[1]Ares(2021)2560241 - CONFIRMATORY GESTDEM 2021/617 Internal review of
access to documents request - Communication with stakeholders on Austrian
airfare plans

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 Sir,

Thank you for your email dated 14/04/2021 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
MOVE in reply to your initial application GESTDEM 2021/617.

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents which was registered on 15/04/2021 (Ares(2021)2560092).

Your application will be handled within 15 working days (06/05/2021). 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. Thank you for providing your contact phone number, so that the
external delivery service can contact you in case of absence.

Please note that the Commission will not use your phone number for any
other purpose than for informing the delivery service, and that it will
delete it immediately thereafter.

Yours faithfully,

Access to documents team (cr)
SG.C.1
Transparency

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Pascoe Sabido please sign in and let everyone know.