Dear Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW),

On behalf of Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), I would like to - under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties as developed in Regulation 1049/2001 - request access to the following documents:
- all reports (and other notes) from meetings in 2021 between the European Commission and representatives of the European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT), BusinessEurope, EuroCommerce and EuroChambres where the Single Market (‘completing the Single Market’, removing barriers, Single Market governance, enforcement of single market rules, etc.) was discussed.
- all 2021 correspondence (including emails) between the European Commission and representatives of the European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT), BusinessEurope, EuroCommerce and EuroChambres where the Single Market (‘completing the Single Market’, removing barriers, Single Market governance, enforcement of single market rules, etc.) was mentioned.
- a list of all the above-mentioned documents (including dates, names of participants/senders/recipients and their affiliation, subject of meeting/correspondence)

Yours faithfully,
Olivier Hoedeman
on behalf of Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
Rue d'Edimbourg 26
1050 Brussels

GROW-ACCES-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your e-mail of 22 December 2021. We hereby acknowledge receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered on 22 December 2021 under reference number GESTDEM 2021/8313.

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 21 January 2021. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due course.

You have lodged your application via a private third-party 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.

Please note that the private third party running the website is responsible and accountable for the processing of your personal data via that website, and not the Commission. For further information on your rights, please refer to the third party’s privacy policy.

We understand that the third party running the AsktheEU.org website usually publishes the content of applicants’ correspondence with the Commission on that website. This includes the personal data that you may have communicated to the Commission (e.g. your private postal address).

Similarly, the third party publishes on that website any reply that the Commission will send to the email address of the applicants generated by the AsktheEU.org website.

If you do not wish that your correspondence with the Commission is published on a private third-party website such as AsktheEU.org, you can provide us with an alternative, private e-mail address for further correspondence. In that case, the Commission will send all future electronic correspondence addressed to you only to that private address, and it will use only that private address to reply to your request. You should still remain responsible to inform the private third-party website about this change of how you wish to communicate with, and receive a reply from, the Commission.

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

Yours faithfully,

Access to Documents Team

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GROW-ACCES-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Dear Sir,

To rectify, the time limit will expire on 21 January 2022. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due course.

Yours faithfully,

Access to Documents Team

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GROW-ACCES-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Dear Sir,

 

We refer to your e-mail dated 22/12/2021 in which you make a request for
access to documents, registered on 22/12/2021 under the above-mentioned
reference number.

 

The description given in your application does not enable us to identify
concrete documents which would correspond to your request. We therefore
invite you, pursuant to Article 6(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001
regarding public access to documents, to provide us with more detailed
information on the documents that you seek to obtain. In particular:

 

-        The request addresses the European Commission in its entirety but
it is sent DG GROW. Could you please confirm that this specific request
covers only documents held by DG GROW?

-        Could you please indicate the levels of the requested meetings?
(Cabinet level, Directorate-General level, Unit level).

-        Given that the term “single market” has the potential to cover
all services, we would need more precise information on the single market
topics you are looking for. In this context, could you please give a
precise finite list of topics (not finishing by etc. as in your request).

-        Regarding the requested list, could you please confirm that you
wish to have access to listed information created for this request?
(rather than an already existing document concerning a list).

 

If you need assistance in clarifying or specifying your application,
please let us know.

In accordance with Article 2, third paragraph of the Implementing Rules to
Regulation 1049/2001[1], the 15 working days time limit for handling your
application will start running when we receive the requested
clarifications.

 

Thank you in advance for your understanding.

 

Kind regards,

 

DG GROW ATD Team

 

Dear [email address],

regarding your questions of clarification about my request for access to documents (reference number GESTDEM 2021/8313), here are the responses:
- my request covers only documents held by DG GROW.
- the request covers all the mentioned levels: Cabinet members, the Director-General and and unit level.
- I would like the following topics covered: ‘completing the Single Market’, removing barriers in the Single Market, Single Market governance, and enforcement of single market rules.
- regarding the requested list, I confirm that I wish to have access to listed information created for this request.

Yours sincerely,
Olivier Hoedeman
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)

GROW-ACCES-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your message clarifying your request registered under the above-mentioned number, and for which the deadline started running as of yesterday (Deadline: 31/01/2022).

Kind regards,

DG GROW ATD Team

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GROW-ACCES-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Dear Sir,

We refer to your request for access to documents, registered on 10/01/2022
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 today.

An extended time limit is needed as the application concerns 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 21/02/2022.

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

Yours sincerely,

DG GROW ATD Team

GROW-ACCES-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hoedeman,

 

We refer to your email of 22 December 2022, in which you make a request
for access to documents, registered on the same day under the
above-mentioned reference number, and to your email of 10 January 2022
clarifying your request.

 

We would like to inform you that your application concerns a very high
number of documents.

The work needed for this request entails multiple steps:

•        Contacts/exchanges and consultations within services of the
Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and
SMEs and with the Cabinet of Commissioner Thierry Breton;

•        Retrieval and establishment of a complete list of the documents
falling under the scope of your request;

•        Preliminary assessment of the content of the documents in light
of the exceptions of Article 4 of Regulation EC (No) 1049/2001;

•        Assessment of the further procedural steps to undertake, for
example whether third party consultations should be made;

•        (possibly) third-party consultations under Article 4(4) of
Regulation 1049/2001 and (possibly) a further dialogue with the third
party originators of documents falling within the scope of your request;

•        Final assessment of the documents in light of the comments
received, including of the possibility of granting (partial) access;

•        Redactions of the relevant parts falling under exceptions of
Regulation EC (No) 1049/2001);

•        Preparation of the draft reply;

•        Finalization of the reply at administrative level and formal
approvals of the draft decision;

•        Final check of the documents to be (partially) released (if
applicable) (scanning of the redacted versions, administrative treatment,)
and dispatch of the reply.

The completion of these steps with regard to a very large number of
documents cannot be expected to be completed within the normal time limits
set out in Article 8 of Regulation 1049/2001.

 

As stated by the EU Courts, the European Commission needs to respect the
principle of proportionality and ensure that the interest of the applicant
for access is balanced against the workload resulting from the processing
of the application for access in order to safeguard the interests of good
administration. Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 provides that
in the event of an application relating to a very long document or to very
large number of documents, the institution concerned may confer with the
applicant informally, with a view to finding a fair solution.

 

In accordance with the case law of the EU Courts, a fair solution can only
concern the content or the number of documents applied for, not the
deadline for replying. This means that the scope of your requests must be
reduced in a way that would enable its treatment within the extended
deadline of 15 + 15 working days.

 

According to our preliminary estimates on the workload and the length and
complexity of documents at stake, it would seem that the Directorate
–General for Internal Market, Industry and SMEs (DG GROW) would be able to
handle approximately 30 documents within the deadlines provided by
Regulation 1049/2001, counting from your reply to our proposal for a fair
solution.

 

To this end, we would kindly ask you to specify the objective of your
wide-scoped request and your specific interest in the documents requested
and whether you could narrow down the scope of your request, so as to
reduce it to a more manageable number. In particular, we propose to focus
on the handling of documents relating to meetings with EuroCommerce and
EuroChambres (out of the four stakeholders mentioned in your initial
request and which were: representatives of ERT, BusinessEurope,
EuroCommerce and Eurochambres).

 

In order to enable us to respect the time-limits of Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001, we would ask you for a swift reply to our invitation to this a
fair solution proposal, within five working days at the latest:

·        by e-mail to: [1][DG GROW request email].

In the absence of a reply within five working days, we will unilaterally
restrict the scope of your application to those parts that can be dealt
with within the extended deadline of 30 working days, counting from your
reply clarifying your initial registered request.  

Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Yours faithfully,

DG GROW – Access to documents team

European Commission
Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and
SMEs
DG GROW/B1 – Planning and Briefings

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[DG GROW request email]

Dear [email address],

thank you for message asking for clarification and requesting to narrow down the scope of the request.

I am happy to agree on a way forward that is workable for the Commission, but I would disagree that our request is "widescoped" as it covers only one DG, and just four organisations (the European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT), BusinessEurope, EuroCommerce and EuroChambres) and for these organisations only those meeting notes or correspondence "where the Single Market (‘completing the Single Market’, removing barriers, Single Market governance, enforcement of single market rules, etc.) was discussed. "

You asked me "to specify the objective of your wide-scoped request and your specific interest in the documents requested". The request for access to documents was sparked by the campaign launched by the European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT) in December 2021. In its report the ERT claims that there’s a major problem with old and new ‘regulatory barriers’ in the Single Market and that a far stronger EU governance system is needed to remove such ‘obstacles’. It specifically demands far stricter enforcement of the EU’s Services Directive and also refers to the demands of BusinessEurope, EuroCommerce and EuroChambres on these issues. If these demands were endorsed by the Commission this would mean a revival of the agenda behind the Services Notification Procedure Directive that was withdrawn in 2020 due to strong objections from national governments, parliaments, mayors and civil society groups. Our access to documents request aims to secure transparency around this new big business lobbying campaign.

In your letter you propose to narrow down the request and only cover meeting notes (not correspondence) and only EuroCommerce and EuroChambres (not the ERT and BusinessEurope). In the light of the objective outlined above, I would agree to narrow down the request to cover meeting notes and correspondence with the ERT and BusinessEurope (thus excluding EuroCommerce and EuroChambres). If a list of documents is produced we can follow up with a new request for specific documents regarding the two other organisations.

Yours sincerely,
Olivier Hoedeman
on behalf of Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)

GROW-ACCES-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your reply.

We hereby accept and confirm the restriction of the scope as suggested in your email below.

Yours faithfully,

DG GROW – Access to documents team

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GROW-ACCES-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Dear Sir,

We refer to your request for access to documents, registered under the
above mentioned reference number.

The reply to your request could not be finalised today. Therefore, we are
not in a position to complete the handling of your application within the
extended time limit of 15 working days, which expires today (21/02/2022).
Please be reassured that we are doing our best to be able to send you the
reply in the coming days.

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

Kind regards,

DG GROW ATD Team

GROW-ACCES-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

18 Attachments

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    Final reply GESTDEM 20218313.docx.pdf

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    1.RE GENTLE REMINDER meeting with BusinessEurope our member federations and sectoral organisations 8 December Redacted.pdf.pdf

    347K Download View as HTML

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    10.List of Participants Free Movement of Services WG 9 JUN Redacted.pdf.pdf

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    11.20211008 Pr sentation EU Kostenaufstellung Melde und Registrierungsverfahren englsich.pdf.pdf

    497K Download View as HTML

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    12.ERT contribution in view of a meeting with Commissioner Breton Redacted.pdf.pdf

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    13.2021 02 01 Technological Transformation and EU Industrial Strategy ERT input print Redacted.pdf.pdf

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    15.RE Minutes ERT Meeting of 20 May Redacted.pdf.pdf

    222K Download View as HTML

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    3.BDA Practical guidance for the German posting of workers law.pdf.pdf

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    5.Overview national Websites.pdf.pdf

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    7.ZDH Position Posting in accordance with the rules must be simple.pdf.pdf

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    8.RE BusinessEurope the 1st part of the follow up material estimation of the cost of the notification process Redacted.pdf.pdf

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    9.Business Europe Free Movement of Services Working Group Wednesday 9 June 2021 Flash Report Redacted.pdf.pdf

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    2.0.1.Kurze Dienstreisen Der Aufwand steht nicht mehr im Verh ltnis EN.pdf.pdf

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    4.BusinessEurope members contributions notification procedure 9 November 2021.pdf.pdf

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    14.2021 09 22 Single mkt aspects in Industrial Strategy Redacted.pdf.pdf

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    Table list of identified documents GESTDEM 20218313.pdf

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    6.Statistik 2020 Meldeportal Mindestlohn 2.xlsx

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Dear Sir,

Please find enclosed the reply to your request for access to documents
registered under the above-mentioned reference number.

According to our standard operational procedure, the reply would normally
be sent to you also by registered mail. Please note, however, that due to
the extraordinary health and security measures currently in force during
to the COVID-19 pandemic, which include the requirement for the majority
of Commission non-critical staff to telework, we are unfortunately not in
a position to follow this procedure until further notice.

We would therefore appreciate it if you could confirm the receipt of this
e-mail by replying to [1][DG GROW request email]

Best regards,

DG GROW – Access to documents team

European Commission
Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and
SMEs
DG  GROW/B1 – Planning and Briefings

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[DG GROW request email]