Contracts with belgian armed forces

Andreas Pavlou made this access to documents request to Secretariat General of the European Commission

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From: Andreas Pavlou

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:

All contracts and agreements currently in force between the European Union institutions and all/any part of the Belgian Military forces (Armed Forces, Navy, Air Force etc).

I am also interested in all correspondence between the European Union institutions and the Belgian authorities and military with regards the implementation of these agreements and contracts.

Yours faithfully,

Andreas Pavlou
Calle Cava de San Miguel 8, 4c
28005 Madrid
Spain

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Secretariat General of the European Commission


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Dear M. Pavlou,
 
Thank you for your e-mail  dated  27/01/2017.  We hereby acknowledge
receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered
on 14/02/2017 under GESTDEM 2017/9121 reference.
Please note that your request will be handled partly by : EEAS, and as far
as the Commission is concerned by DG BUDG
 
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
07/03/2017. 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
European Commission
Secretariat General
Unit B4 – Transparency
 

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From: EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS

Dear Mr Pavlou,

 

In accordance with Article 4.4 of Regulation 1049/2001 we are obliged to
consult the third party on releasibility of the document. We are waiting
for reply from the third party. We need to extend the deadline for reply
by additional 15 working days in accordance with Article 7.3 of Regulation
1049/2001.

 

ACCES TO DOCUMENTS (AD)

[1][email address]

SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

References

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From: EC ARES NOREPLY
Secretariat General of the European Commission

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
Link: [3]themeData
Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

[5]Ares(2017)1166611 - access to documents request - Contracts with
belgian armed forces

Sent by LOESER Ilona (BUDG) <[email address]>. All responses
have to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par LOESER Ilona (BUDG) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Mr Pavlou,

 

The Belgian Armed Forces are part of the Belgian state.

 

In the central financial system of the Commission, all transactions would
be labelled to the legal entity Belgian state.

 

Therefore we cannot identify in the central financial system specific
contracts or commitments concluded with the Belgian Armed Forces.

 

With best regards

Ilona LOESER
Deputy Head of Unit

European Commission
DG Budget, Directorate C Budget execution
Unit 06 Financial Reporting and Strategy
( +32-2-296.85.25
* BRE-2 08/379
B - 1049 Brussels/Belgium

 

 

 

_____________________________________________

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From: Andreas Pavlou

Dear Ilona,

 

Thank you for your reply.

 

I find it hard to believe that the Commission labels its contracts and/or
commitments with member states in its financial system solely by the name
of the country (in this case ‘Belgian state’) without any other kind of
description. How one earth do you check or search these when needed inside
the Commission itself?

 

If it is the case that all contracts and commitments are labelled ‘
Belgian state’, can you let me know how many entries these are, as I can
imagine that if there are not that many, it would be quick enough to check
them one by one. On the other hand, if there are thousands of entries
under ‘Belgian state’ I would be very concerned by the record keeping of
the EU administration if there is no way to effectively search such a
database.

 

Best

 

Andreas

 

From: EC ARES NOREPLY [mailto:[email address]]
Sent: 06 March 2017 12:07
To: [FOI #3896 email]
Cc: SG ACCES DOCUMENTS <[email address]>; SMILENOVA Polina (BUDG)
<[email address]>
Subject: Ares(2017)1166611 - access to documents request - Contracts with
belgian armed forces

 

[1]Sent by LOESER Ilona (BUDG) <[email address]>. All res=onses
have to be sent to this email address.

Envoyé par LOESER Ilona (BUDG) <Ilona.Loeser@ec.europa.e=>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuÃ=C2es à cette adresse électronique.

 

<=p>

 

In the central financial system of the Commission, all transact=ons would
be labelled to the legal entity Belgian state.=/p>

 

Therefore we cannot identify in the central financial system s=ecific
contracts or commitments concluded with the Belgian Armed Forces.

 

<=pan style='color:#1F497D'>With best regards

Ilona LOESER
Deputy Head of Unit

European Commission
DG Budget, Directorate C Budg=t execution
=nit 06 Financial Reporting and Strategy
( +32-2-296.85.25<=span>
* BRE-2 08/379
B - 1049 Brussels/Belgium =/p>

 

 

 

__________________=__________________________
From: SG ACCES DO=UMENTS
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 5:49 PMTo: 'Andreas Pavlou'
Subject:belgian armed forces

 

 

Dear M= Pavlou,

Thank you for your e-mail  dated  =7/01/2017.  We hereby acknowledge
receipt of your application for acc=ss to documents, which was registered
on 14/02/2017 under GESTDEM 2017/912= reference.

Please note that your request will be handled partly by : EEAS, and as far
as the Commission is concerned by DG=BUDG

 

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access =o
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, your application
=ill be handled within 15 working days. The time limit will expire on
07/03=2017. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be
informed i= due course.

 

You have lodged your application via the AsktheEU.org website. P=ease note
that this is a private website which has no link with any instit=tion of
the European Union. Therefore the European Commission cannot be he=d
accountable for any technical issues or problems linked to the use of th=s
system.

 

Yours faithfully,

&=bsp;

=span style='color:#1F497D'>ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM
European Commission
Secretariat General

Unit B4 – T=ansparency

 =/p>

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From: EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS

Dear Mr Pavlou,

 

In accordance with Article 4.4 of Regulation 1049/2001 we were obliged to
consult the third party concerned on the releasibility of the documents of
which they are authors.

Once we receive the answer from the concerned third party, we will make
every effort to process your request as quickly as possible.

 

We apologize for this delay.

Yours faithfully

 

ACCES TO DOCUMENTS (AD)

[1][email address]

SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

References

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1. mailto:[email address]

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From: EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS


Attachment Reply to request under regulation 1049.pdf
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Dear Mr Pavlou,

On behalf of Mr Visentin please find attached the reply to your request for access to documents.

Yours faithfully,

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS (AD)
[email address]
SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

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From: Andreas Pavlou

Delivered

Dear Gabrielle Visentin (EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS),

I am writing in reply to your 31 March 2017 response to my access to EU documents request with reference 2017/010. I hereby submit a confirmatory application.

In your 31 March 2017 reply, you stated:
“Article 4.4 of Regulation 1049/2001 obliges us to consult the third parties concerned to know whether their documents can be released.
Unfortunately, we have not received any answer to our various requests and I therefore regret to inform you that the requested documents cannot be made available to you”

I contest your decision to deny access to the documents requested, for the reasons given below, and ask that you publish in full the requested documents.

I. Failure to establish whether or not documents are held by the European External Action Service (EEAS)

I note that the EEAS has not explicitly confirmed whether or not it holds documents that would fall under the scope of my request, nor how many such documents it holds.

If you do indeed hold some relevant documents, I ask that you list exactly which documents are in your possession. In the alternative, that the institution does not hold any such documents, then it should confirm clearly and plainly that it does not hold these documents. Without such confirmation, it is impossible to accurately challenge the decision of the institution and defend my right of access to EU documents.

For the purposes of this confirmatory application, it has been assumed that documents falling under the scope of my request are held by the EEAS.

II. Lack of response to a consultation with third parties is not a grounds for refusal

The EEAS has failed to apply Article 4(4) correctly by assuming that no reply from the third party means it can refuse access to the requested documents without providing reasons.

The consultation of third parties “with a view to assessing whether an exception in paragraph 1 or 2 is applicable, unless it is clear that the document shall or shall not be disclosed,” gives third parties the opportunity to argue in favour of the application of an exception so that the EU institution is in possession of all relevant information before it takes a decision on granting or refusing access.

The failure of a third party to reply is not grounds for the EEAS to deny access to EU documents, but rather means that the EEAS should proceed to take the decision based on its best judgement, evaluating the application of any legitimate exceptions and giving proper consideration to the public interest in releasing the documents.

III. Failure to provide reasons for refusing access to documents requested

The EEAS has failed to provide any reasons as to why I have been refused access to the requested documents. This runs directly counter to Regulation 1049/2001 and the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

In accordance with recital 11 of Regulation 1049/2001, the general principle is that “all documents of the institutions should be accessible to the public.” The burden is therefore on the institution to prove that full disclosure of the documents at issue cannot be given.

It has been established by the CJEU that the reasons for any decision based on the exceptions of Article 4 of the Regulation must be stated by the institution. If an institution decides to deny full access to a document, it must explain two things:
“first, how access to that document could specifically and effectively undermine the interest protected by an exception laid down in Article 4 of Regulation No 1049/2001 relied on by that institution and, secondly, in the situations referred to in Article 4(2) and (3) of that regulation, whether or not there is an overriding public interest that might nevertheless justify disclosure of the document concerned”. [1]

Furthermore, Article 4(6) of Regulation 1049/2001 establishes that “If only parts of the requested document are covered by any of the exceptions, the remaining parts of the document shall be released.”

Given that you have not identified any legitimate exceptions in your decision to deny access, the EEAS should consequently release the documents in their entirety.

In light of the arguments above, I hereby request full access to the documents falling under the scope of my request.

Yours sincerely,
Andreas Pavlou

[1] Judgment of 1 July 2008 in Sweden and Turco v Council, C-39/05 P and C-52/05 P, EU:C:2008:374, at 49.

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From: EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS

Dear Mr Pavlou,

Thank you for your email. We can of course provide you with the further details, as you have requested. We also thought it could be useful to try one more time to get a response from the third parties before re-examining the document. Can you kindly confirm if you want us to treat your email as a confirmatory application at this stage (deadline 12/5/2017) or that we first get back to you with the result of our inquiry before we launch the confirmatory procedure?

Thank you for your clarification,

ACCES TO DOCUMENTS (SBR)
[email address]
SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

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From: Andreas Pavlou

Delivered

Dear EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS,

Thank you for your reply.

In this case, I agree that you try one more time to get a response from the third party. I would prefer that in doing so, you do not apply another 15 working day extension after the initial 15 working days. If you do not receive a reply from the third party in 15 working days, I would prefer you go straight to considering my confirmatory application.

Yours sincerely,

Andreas Pavlou

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From: EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS


Attachment Reply to request under regulation 1049.pdf
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Attachment 1.contrat de bail Ecole Royal Militaire.pdf
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Attachment 2.Avenant 2.pdf
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Attachment 3.avenant n 3 BAIL DE LOYER ERM.pdf
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Attachment 4.avenant n 4 concession ERM.pdf
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Attachment 5.arr t n 11.11517.pdf
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Attachment 6.autorisation dominial n 11.11517 Peutie avenant n 1.pdf
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Dear Mr Pavlou,

On behalf of Mr Visentin please find attached the additional reply to your request for access to documents.

Yours faithfully,

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS (AD)
[email address]
SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

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From: Andreas Pavlou

Delivered

Dear EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS,

Many thanks for your reply and the documents provided.

I am surprised however, by the absence of any agreement/contract related to the Belgian Armed Forces and the travel arrangements of Commissioners and/or President Juncker.

Specifically, I ask now whether there are any contracts in place regarding travel arrangements such as the one in this article where the airplane was unable to provide a return trip (Juncker's G20 trip to Antalya, Turkey in 2015)? : http://www.reuters.com/article/g20-turke...

Are these contracts on a case-by-case basis?

Yours sincerely,

Andreas Pavlou

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From: EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS


Attachment RE access to documents request Contracts with belgian armed forces.html
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Attachment ATT01817 1.jpg
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Dear Mr Pavlou,

Thank you for your email. As you were informed in attached email your request was handled partly by: EEAS, and as far as the Commission is concerned by DG BUDG. You should receive additional reply from the European Commission.
Kind regards,
EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS (AD)
SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

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From: Andreas Pavlou

Delivered

Dear EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS,

Many thanks for clarifying. Much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Andreas Pavlou

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From: Andreas Pavlou

Delivered

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

It is unclear to me as to whether I have received a reply from DG BUDG to my request for access to EU documents GESTDEM 2017/9121 reference.

I received a very informal reply on 06 March 2017 stating:

"The Belgian Armed Forces are part of the Belgian state.
In the central financial system of the Commission, all transactions would be labelled to the legal entity Belgian state.
Therefore we cannot identify in the central financial system specific contracts or commitments concluded with the Belgian Armed Forces."

It would be appreciated if the Commission could clarify/confirm its response or whether it is still processing my request.

Yours faithfully,

Andreas Pavlou

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