documents related to Commissioner Dalli's resignation

Olivier Hoedeman made this access to documents request to Secretariat General

The request was refused by Secretariat General.

From: Olivier Hoedeman

Delivered

Dear Secretariat General (SG),

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 documents related to Commissioner Dalli's resignation over the issues covered in the OLAF investigation, including all minutes (and other notes) of meetings, all correspondence (including by email), both internal and external, and any other documents held by the Commission on these matters. Please note that this request does not only cover documents directly related to the OLAF report, but also the Commissions discussions more generally on the matter of Mr. Dalli and the contacts between Silvio Zammit and the tobacco industry, the Commission's contacts with Swedish Match and ESTOC on this issue, etc.

As the Commission considers this case to be closed, there should be no obstacle to releasing these documents. If the Commission disagrees with this assessment, please indicate, per document, why you consider this can not be released. The public interest in releasing the documents is obvious: there is an urgent need for clarification about what exactly has happened, including the reasons for Dalli's resignation and the worrying scenarios of possible manipulation by tobacco industry lobbyists, in order to avoid further erosion of public trust in EU decision-making and Commission processes.

Yours faithfully,

Olivier Hoedeman

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Secretariat General


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Dear Mr Hoedeman,

 

Thank you for your e-mail dated 26/10/2012 registered on 30/10/2012. I
hereby acknowledge receipt of your request for access to documents (ref.:
gestdem 2012-5001).

 

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 (22/11/2012).

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Paul SIMON
European Commission - Secretariat General
Unit SG.B.5, Transparency

 

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Attachment ATT79035 2.jpg
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Attachment Press statement1.pdf
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Attachment Annexe 7 Letter Barroso Dalli.pdf
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Attachment Annexe 5 Day Swedish Match 2012 10 22.pdf
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Attachment Annexe 4 Swedish Match Day 2012 10 12.pdf
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Attachment Annexe 3 Swedish Match SG meeting note 2012 09 24.pdf
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Attachment Annexe 2 Swedish Match SG 2012 09 18.pdf
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Attachment Annexe 1 ESTOC IAB 2012 06 19.pdf
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Attachment Hoedeman 2012 5001 final reply EN.pdf
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Dear Mr. Hoedeman,
Please find herewith our answer to your request for access to documents
under Regulation (EC) n° 1049/2001 - ref. GESTDEM 2012-5001.
Enclosures :
Yours sincerely,
 
BLURIOT-PUEBLA Madeleine
Cellule 'Accès aux documents'
 
European Commission
SG/B/5 - Transparence

BERL 05/330
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
+32 2 296 09 97
[1][email address]
 
From: SG ACCES DOCUMENTS
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 4:33 PM
To: 'Olivier Hoedeman'
Subject: Acknowledgement of receipt - HOEDEMAN - GESTDEM 2012-5001
 
Dear Mr Hoedeman,
 
Thank you for your e-mail dated 26/10/2012 registered on 30/10/2012. I
hereby acknowledge receipt of your request for access to documents (ref.:
gestdem 2012-5001).
 
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 (22/11/2012).
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
Paul SIMON
European Commission - Secretariat General
Unit SG.B.5, Transparency
 

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From: Olivier Hoedeman

Delivered

Dear Secretariat General (SG),

Dear Mr. Szlaszewski,

Thank you for your reply to my request for access to documents (GestDem No 2012/5001). I would herewith like to submit a confirmatory application.

I would like to appeal your response on three different points:

Firstly, I had requested access to “all documents related to Commissioner Dalli's resignation over the issues covered in the OLAF investigation, including all minutes (and other notes) of meetings, all correspondence (including by email), both internal and external, and any other documents held by the Commission on these matters.”

I would argue that the list of documents listed in your response is not complete. I note that the emails and notes related to Swedish Match and ESTOC that are included in your response are not directly related to Commissioner Dalli's resignation. This means there is only one relevant document mentioned that clearly dates from before October 16, the day the Commission announced Mr. Dalli's resignation (a letter from Mr. Dalli to President Barroso, 27 July 2012). Two notes for the file concerning meetings between President Barroso and Mr. Dalli are mentioned, but these are without dates. It would appear very likely that there are many more relevant documents of the kind mentioned in my request, in particular from the period before October 16th. I would therefore like to request that you undertake another search of the Commission's files and send me a response to fully cover the request I made.

Secondly, I would like to appeal your decision to refuse access to the following documents:

- Two letters from Mr. Dalli to President Barroso, dated 27 July 2012 and 24 October 2012;
- The letter from President Barroso to Mr. Dalli dated 23 October 2012;
- Two notes for the file concerning meetings between President Barroso and Mr. Dalli.

You argue that "even if they are not part of the OLAF investigation file, they are nevertheless directly linked to it in that these notes will be part of any follow-up actions the Commission may decide to undertake following the OLAF investigation and the subsequent national investigation which is currently on-going. In these circumstances, disclosure of these documents, at this stage, would interfere with the Commission's ability to conduct any follow-up actions and ultimately, the Commission's capacity to adopt final decisions in the general interest of the Union."

This argumentation is at odds with Regulation 1049/2001 for the following reasons:
- the Commission already took action based on the OLAF investigation (which is completed) and the case has been transferred to the Maltese authorities; it is entirely unclear what other follow-up actions the Commission is referring to.
- the Commission has repeatedly stated that it considers the Dalli case to be closed after it was referred to the Maltese authorities, there should be no obstacle to releasing these documents.
- Commissioner Dalli's resignation is clearly a finalised matter, as he has in the meanwhile been replaced by a new Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner, Tonio Borg.
- I would argue that the release of these documents does not actually limit its ability to conduct follow-up actions.
- I would like to reiterate that there is an overriding public interest in disclosure of these documents, as per Article 4(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, which overrides the exception in the 3rd indent of the same article “that disclosure would undermine the protection of the purpose of inspections, investigations and audit”. The public interest in releasing the documents is obvious: there is an urgent need for clarification about what exactly has happened, including the reasons for Dalli's resignation and the worrying scenarios of possible manipulation by tobacco industry lobbyists, in order to avoid further erosion of public trust in EU decision-making and Commission processes.

Thirdly, I had mentioned that “this request does not only cover documents directly related to the OLAF report, but also the Commissions discussions more generally on the matter of Mr. Dalli and the contacts between Silvio Zammit and the tobacco industry, the Commission's contacts with Swedish Match and ESTOC on this issue, etc.” This means that the OLAF report was also covered by my request, but you make no reference to this in your response. If the commission is of the opinion that there are reasons why Regulation 1049/2001 would not apply to the OLAF report, then I would like to hear why.

Yours faithfully,

Olivier Hoedeman

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From: Olivier Hoedeman

Dear Madeleine Bluriot-Puebla,

thank you for the response; I just wanted to make sure that you have
seen the appeal I submitted friday 23 November via the AsktheEU website:

http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/docum...

I have not yet received a confirmation that this has reached you, nor a
deadline for the response.

Yours sincerely,

Olivier Hoedeman

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--
Olivier Hoedeman
Research and Campaigns Coordinator
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
Rue d'Edimbourg 26,
1050 Brussels, Belgium

http://www.corporateeurope.org
Tel. +32 (0)2 893 0930
Mobile: +32 474 486545
skype: olivierhoedeman
twitter: olivierhoedeman

Sign up to CEO's e-newsletter:
http://www.corporateeurope.org/subscribe...

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Secretariat General


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Mr Hoedeman,

 

For your attention, please find attached a letter signed by Mr Miceli,
Director – OLAF.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Peggy White

Assistant to  Mr Wasmeier

Legal Advice Unit

-------------------------------

EUROPEAN COMMISSION
EUROPEAN ANTI-FRAUD OFFICE (OLAF)
Directorate  C
Unit  C4
Office : J30  12/71
Rue Joseph II, 30 • B-1000 Brussels (Belgium)
Phone: +32 2 29 58772
first [1][email address]

[2]http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud

Our policy regarding personal data protection can be viewed on
[3]http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/about-us/...

 

 

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Attachment Hoedeman 2012 5001 EN.pdf
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Dear Mr Hoedeman,

Kindly find herewith a letter concerning your confirmatory application for
access to documents (gestdem 2012/5001).
Yours sincerely,
Carlos Remis
SG.B.5.
Transparence.
Berl. 05/329.
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

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From: Olivier Hoedeman

Delivered

--- this letter was also sent to OLAF by email ---

To: the Director General of OLAF

Dear Director-General,

thank you for your letter responding to our request for access to the OLAF investigation report into the matter concerning Mr. Dalli. You argue that OLAF is unable to accede to the request, with reference to the exception in Regulation 1049/2001 for documents where disclosure would undermine "the purpose of inspections, investigations and audits". You also argue that there is no overriding public interest in disclosure. We would herewith like to request a review of this decision.

Firstly, there is a very clear overriding public interest in giving the public access to the report. The limited information provided by OLAF and the Commission so far has been confusing, at times contradictory and consistenly raised more questions than it answers. MEPs, civil society groups, the media and a fast-growing number of concerned European citizens are deeply unhappy with the failure of OLAF and the Commission to clarify the basic facts about the Dalli lobby scandal. As a matter of avoiding the erosion of public trust in the EU institutions, as well as securing transparency and accountability, there is an over-riding public interest in releasing details of the circumstances that led to the resignation of a Commissioner, in controversial and contested circumstances.

Secondly, you have not convincingly demonstrated that partial access is not possible. You argue that "there is no part of the report which is severable", but why would it not be possible to release those parts of the report that do not risk impacting on the court proceedings that the Maltese authorities may or may not initiate? The colophon, the table of contents and the description of the complaint submitted by Swedish Match for instance, but also other parts of the report, would surely fall into this category. We would therefore like to request a review of the decision to reject partial access to the report.

Yours sincerely,

Olivier Hoedeman
on behalf of Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)

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Attachment Hoedeman 2012 5001 EN final.pdf
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Attachment Hoedeman 2012 5001 annex.pdf.pdf
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Attachment Hoedeman 2012 5001 annex 2.pdf.pdf
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Dear Mr Hoedeman,

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 2012/5001).   

Yours sincerely,

Carlos Remis
SG.B.5.
Transparence.
Berl. 05/329.

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Secretariat General

Dear Mr. Hoedeman,

 

In relation to your request for access to documents which you made on the
7th of January, under the relevant regulation and internal rules OLAF is
required to give its reply by yesterday, 28th of January. I very much
regret that we've been unable to do so due to time taken for the internal
consultative process. Confirmatory requests involve a procedure which must
be followed.

 

Nonetheless I expect we will be able to do respond within the next few
days. I would ask that you accept my apologies for this shortcoming on our
part.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Paul Lachal Roberts

Legal Adviser

European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)

European Commission

 

 

 

 

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Dear Mr Hoedeman,

 

Please, find herewith a letter signed by Director General G. Kessler.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

                                                                 Anke
BACON on behalf of Mr Martin Wasmeier

                                                               

                                                                                                

                                                                 European
Commission

                                                                 DG OLAF

                                                                 Unit C.4-
Legal advice

 

                                                                 J-30
06/003

                                                                 B-1049
Brussels/Belgium

                                                                 +32 2 295
57 76

 

                              
                                  [1][email address]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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