DG ECFIN contacts with Clifford Chance

The request was refused by Economic and Financial Affairs.

Dear Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN),

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as
developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting all documents,
including notes of minutes, emails and other correspondence,
relating to contacts between staff of DG ECFIN and staff of law
firm Clifford Chance, between January 2008 and February 2013.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel Tansey

Economic and Financial Affairs

1 Attachment

Dear Mrs Tansey,
 
Thank you for your request of documents in accordance with Regulation (EC)
N° 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and
Commission documents.
Your application Gestdem Ref.: 2013/0594 will be dealt with as soon as
possible and you should expect a reply before 28/02/2013.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
 
Access to documents Team
 
European Commission
ECFIN-R3
CHAR 13/202
(+32 2 29) 59002
 
 
 
 

show quoted sections

Economic and Financial Affairs

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Tansey,
 
We refer to your email of 6 February 2013, in which you submit a request
for access to all documents, including notes of minutes, emails and other
correspondence, relating to contacts  between staff of the
Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) and
staff of law firm Clifford Chance, between January 2008 and February 2013.
 
We have examined your request and see that is a very broadly formulated
request, which would require extensive searches on different locations. It
is not really feasable to retrieve documents on these criteria. In
particular, for a significant part of the period covered by your request,
there is no central electronic archiving of correspondence. Therefore,
searches in paper files would be necessary, which would be very
labour-intensive and time consuming.
 
Furthermore, correspondence with law firms may cover very different
subjects and some of it is likely to be confidential in nature.
 
Consequently, we are unable to handle your request in its present form. We
would kindly ask you to make a more targeted request. In consequence, the
deadline of 28/02/2013 communicated to you in our acknowledgement of this
morning will begin when we will receive an answer to our request to narrow
the scope.
 
Yours sincerely, 
 
Access to documents Team
 
European Commission
ECFIN-R3
CHAR 13/202
(+32 2 29) 59002
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: ECFIN ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2013 12:00 PM
To: 'Rachel Tansey'; ECFIN ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS
Subject: Acknowledge receipt - DG ECFIN contacts with Clifford Chance -
Gestdem Ref.: 2013/0594
 
 
Dear Mrs Tansey,
 
Thank you for your request of documents in accordance with Regulation (EC)
N° 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and
Commission documents.
Your application Gestdem Ref.: 2013/0594 will be dealt with as soon as
possible and you should expect a reply before 28/02/2013.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
 
Access to documents Team
 
<< OLE Object: Picture (Device Independent Bitmap) >>
European Commission
ECFIN-R3
CHAR 13/202
(+32 2 29) 59002
 
 
 
 

show quoted sections

Dear Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN),

In accordance with your request for a more targeted access to documents request - due to the labour-intensive and time consuming nature of dealing with my request as previously formulated - I will narrow the time period and scope of my request as follows.

I will reduce the time span of my request to one year, from February 2012 to February 2013. I trust that this will address the issue of having no central electronic archiving of correspondence, for a significant part of the period covered by my original request (Jan 2008-Feb 2013).

Furthermore, since Clifford Chance is a large, multinational law firm, with branches all over the world, I will reduce the scope of my request to cover only correspondence between staff of DG ECFIN and three particular branches of Clifford Chance: the Brussels, Paris and London offices of Clifford Chance.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel Tansey

Economic and Financial Affairs

1 Attachment

Ares Ref.: ecfin.r.3.dir(2013)345885
 
 
Dear Madam,
 
We refer to your e-mail dated 8/02/2013 in which you make a request for
access to documents under the above mentioned reference number.
 
We regret to inform you that no documents were found that would correspond
to the description given in your application. We are, therefore, unable to
handle your application.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Access to documents Team
 
European Commission
ECFIN-R3
CHAR 13/202
(+32 2 29) 59002
 
 
      
 

Economic and Financial Affairs

2 Attachments

Ares Ref.: Ares(2013)824331
 
Dear Ms Tansey,
 
Please find attached the reply concerning your request of 08/02/2013
registered under Gestdem Ref. 2013/0594
Yours faithfully,
 
Ana Domínguez Aguirre
Access to documents Team
 
European Commission
 
 
 

show quoted sections

Andreas Pavlou,

1 Attachment

[AsktheEU.org error. Message sent on 29 May 2013]
*Ares Ref.: **_Ares(2013)824331_*
Dear Ms Tansey,
Please find attached the reply concerning your request of 08/02/2013
registered under Gestdem Ref. 2013/0594
Yours faithfully,
*Ana Domínguez Aguirre*
*/Access to documents Team/*
European Commission

show quoted sections

Dear Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN),

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN)'s handling of my FOI request 'DG ECFIN contacts with Clifford Chance'.

My request was for all documents, including notes of minutes, emails and other correspondence,
relating to contacts between staff of DG ECFIN and staff of law firm Clifford Chance (the Brussels,
Paris and London offices) between February 2012 to February 2013.

DG ECFIN found three documents covered by my request but refused access in a reply I received on 7 May 2013 through asktheeu.org (though the letter itself is dated 24 April 2013) http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/346/r... These documents are said to be emails exchanged in the framework of a request for legal advice by the Commission to Clifford Chance and relating to advice given in the context of the management of the Greek debt and in the broader context of the different measures of financial assistance taken in favour of Greece.

The letter states that the exception to the right of access must be waived if there is an overriding public interest in disclosure (pursuant to Art 4.2 of Reg 1049/2001), but that DG ECFIN sees no public interest that "would outweigh the harm disclosure would cause to the interest protected by the invoked exception."

However, no specific exception is explicitly invoked by DG ECFIN in their refusal of access. This is not therefore a valid refusal.

Furthermore, no reasons are given (despite confusingly referring to 'the reasons explained above') as to why DG ECFIN "considers that the interest in transparency does not outweigh the public interest of the Commission and its services to receive frank, object and comprehensive legal advice."

Yet this advice does not seem to have been in the context of a court case, so it is unclear why it must be kept secret.

Finally, the context of these email interchanges - the management of Greek debt and other financial assistance - indicate that there is a strong public interest in these documents. The Commission's role in designing and imposing extremely controversial fiscal measures on Greece, which have been highly contested by the Greek populus, creates a strong public interest in greater transparency about how these austerity policies were designed - including legal advice on dealing with Greek debt - in order for EU citizens to assess the legitimacy and democratic credentials of such policies.

Thus, I request an internal review of DG ECFIN's decision, and demand they explicitly explain which exceptions to 1049/2001 they are invoking, and furthermore, to consider the overriding public interest in these documents noted above.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.asktheeu.org/request/dg_ecfin...

Yours faithfully,

Rachel Tansey

Economic and Financial Affairs

1 Attachment

Dear Mrs Tansey,   
 
Thank you for your e-mail dated 21/05/2013, registered on 24/05/2013.  I
hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access to
documents (ref.: Ares(2013)1335648 – gestdem 2013-0594). 
 
In accordance with Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, you will receive a
response to your request within 15 working days (14/06/2013).
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Paul SIMON
European Commission - Secretariat General
Unit SG.B.5, Transparency
 
 
 
_____________________________________________

show quoted sections

Economic and Financial Affairs

2 Attachments

Ares Ref.: ecfin.r.3.dir(2013)1616679

 

Dear Ms Tansey,

 

While dealing with your confirmatory application for access to documents
we noticed that the PDF copy of the letter (our ref. ARES(2013)824331) by
which we replied to your original request was incomplete. Due to an
unfortunate human error, only pages 1 and 3 of the letter were scanned and
sent to you, with the page 2 missing.

 

Please accept our apologies for this mistake and find attached the full
copy of the letter.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Ana Domínguez Aguirre

Access to documents Team

 

[1]Description: cid:image001.png@01CD43C2.10BE3630

European Commission

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Economic and Financial Affairs

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Tansey,
Kindly find the answer to your confirmatory application concerning your
request for access to documents pursuant to Regulation (EC) N° 1049/2001
regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission
documents (Gestdem 2013/594).
Yours sincerely,
 
Carlos Remis
SG.B.5.
Transparence.
Berl. 05/329.