EU transparency regulation - various Docs

The request was successful.

Pam Bartlett Quintanilla

Dear Council of the EU,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting the following documents:

- DS 1264/12
- DS 1270/12
- DS 1276/12

Please send these in electronic format if possible.

Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

Pam Bartlett Quintanilla

Postmaster Consilium, Council of the EU

Your message has been received by the Transparency and Access to Documents Unit of the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union. All requests for access to documents are treated on the basis of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. The General Secretariat will reply to your request within 15 working days upon registration of your request. Requests received before 5 PM on a working day are registered on the same day. Requests received after 5 PM are registered on the first following working day.

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L'unité "Transparence et accès aux documents" du Secrétariat général du Conseil de l'Union européenne a bien reçu votre message. Toutes les demandes d'accès à des documents sont traitées conformément au règlement (CE) n° 1049/2001 du 30 mai 2001 relatif à l'accès du public aux documents du Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission. Le Secrétariat général répondra à votre demande dans un délai de 15 jours ouvrables à compter de l'enregistrement de celle-ci. Les demandes reçues les jours ouvrables avant 17 heures sont enregistrées le jour même. Les demandes reçues après 17 heures sont enregistrées le premier jour ouvrable suivant.

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S'il vous plaît ne répondez pas à ce message, car il a été envoyé d'une boîte aux lettres sans surveillance.

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Ihre Nachricht ist bei der Dienststelle "Transparenz und Zugang zu Dokumenten" des General-sekretariats des Rates der Europäischen Union eingegangen. Alle Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden gemäß der Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und der Kommission bearbeitet. Das Generalsekretariat wird Ihnen binnen fünfzehn Arbeitstagen nach Registrierung Ihres Antrags eine Antwort übermitteln. Anträge, die an einem Arbeitstag vor 17.00 Uhr eingehen, werden noch am selben Tages registriert. Nach 17.00 Uhr eingehende Anträge werden am erstfolgenden Arbeitstag registriert.

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SECRETARIAT DGF Access, Council of the EU

1 Attachment

Please find attached a letter from the General Secretariat of the Council
concerning your request for access under Regulation 1049/2001.

Yours sincerely,

General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union

Transparency Service - Access to documents

Pam Bartlett Quintanilla

Dear Mr Thomsen,

I am writing to request an internal review of your negative response to my request for three Council documents relating to the revision of the EU transparency regulation 1049/2001.

Your refusal to provide access to the entire content of all three documents requested rests on the idea that publication of the documents would "prejudice the Council's capacity to conduct frank and candid internal discussions on certain highly sensitive issues". However, this is a generic response that fails to even mention what those sensitive issues are, despite jurisprudence that responses to access to documents requests must be made on a case-by-case basis and in relation to the specific content of each document.

Furthermore, I fail to understand why the publication of these documents would "affect the chances of finding a compromise on the legislative proposals within the Council". If the documents originate from the Danish Presidency and present 1) a draft compromise text, 2) a synoptic overview of the texts and 3) an alternative drafting proposal, how will public access to these documents create a forseeable and more than purely hypothetical harm to the decision-making process?

The fact that Member States have divergent views on certain issues is no secret, on the contrary it is only logical with 27 Member States. That the public should not be granted access to relevant documents until the common position has already been adopted, directly violates the Treaty of Lisbon which provides that "Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen". The Treaty of Lisbon cannot be undermined by secondary law such as the Council's rules of Procedure.

The revision of this Regulation has been ongoing since 2008. In January 2009, you responded to an access to documents request for information about the revision of this Regulation stating that disclosure would harm the decision making process. It is now 2012, and still public access to documents about the EU's transparency regulation are withheld on the same grounds.

That citizens and organisations such as Access Info Europe are expected to wait 4 years before the Council makes its documents public violates the Lisbon Treaty's requirement that the instutitions "maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with representative associations and civil society" on the issue. There can be no dialogue if the information is only made available once the decision has been taken and it's too late for the public to have a say.

In your response, you also suggest that the documents cannot be made public because that would harm the Council's position in the negotiations with the European Parliament. Is it the case then, that Members of the European Parliament do not have the right to access the documents requested, despite being part of the legislative process and being the citizens' only directly elected officials?

If this is the case, the public interest in accessing this information becomes all the more significant.

In any event, the public interest in these documents was not balanced against the alleged need to protect the decision-making process in your response, which curtly states that: "In the absence of any element suggesting an overriding public interest to warrant disclosure of the documents in question, the General Secretariat has concluded that protection of the decision-making process outweighs the public interest in disclosure".

Further consideration should have been given to the public interest in these documents, beyond one dismissive sentence. Given that access to EU documents is a fundamental right of European Citizens, the public interest in accessing documents related to the reform of the rules that govern this fundamental right is substantial. In fact, just today there was an article in the EU Observer about the reform of the access to documents Regulation.

Access to information is necessary for public participation in decision-making and for holding the EU institutions to account. Access to EU documents is a fundamental human right, and access to legislative documents is highlighted by the Treaty of Lisbon. The public interest in this information is therefore particularly high.

Given that you provided no arguments to substantiate the claim that publication would seriously and effectively undermine the Council's decision-making process, and since there was no evaluation in your answer of the public interest in accessing the documents requested, I respectfully ask you to review your answer to my access to documents request in the light of the requirements of the Lisbon Treaty, of the jurisprudence regarding the need for greater Council openness in legislative procedures, and of the critical need to regain citizen trust in the EU institutions.

Yours faithfully,

Pam Bartlett Quintanilla

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

Postmaster Consilium, Council of the EU

Your message has been received by the Transparency and Access to Documents Unit of the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union. All requests for access to documents are treated on the basis of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. The General Secretariat will reply to your request within 15 working days upon registration of your request. Requests received before 5 PM on a working day are registered on the same day. Requests received after 5 PM are registered on the first following working day.

***

This notification was sent from an unattended mailbox. Please do not reply.

***

L'unité "Transparence et accès aux documents" du Secrétariat général du Conseil de l'Union européenne a bien reçu votre message. Toutes les demandes d'accès à des documents sont traitées conformément au règlement (CE) n° 1049/2001 du 30 mai 2001 relatif à l'accès du public aux documents du Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission. Le Secrétariat général répondra à votre demande dans un délai de 15 jours ouvrables à compter de l'enregistrement de celle-ci. Les demandes reçues les jours ouvrables avant 17 heures sont enregistrées le jour même. Les demandes reçues après 17 heures sont enregistrées le premier jour ouvrable suivant.

***

S'il vous plaît ne répondez pas à ce message, car il a été envoyé d'une boîte aux lettres sans surveillance.

***

Ihre Nachricht ist bei der Dienststelle "Transparenz und Zugang zu Dokumenten" des General-sekretariats des Rates der Europäischen Union eingegangen. Alle Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden gemäß der Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und der Kommission bearbeitet. Das Generalsekretariat wird Ihnen binnen fünfzehn Arbeitstagen nach Registrierung Ihres Antrags eine Antwort übermitteln. Anträge, die an einem Arbeitstag vor 17.00 Uhr eingehen, werden noch am selben Tages registriert. Nach 17.00 Uhr eingehende Anträge werden am erstfolgenden Arbeitstag registriert.

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SECRETARIAT DGF Access, Council of the EU

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Bartlett Quintanilla,

 

Please find attached a letter from the General Secretariat of the Council
extending the time limit for the Council to reply to your confirmatory
application for public access under Regulation 1049/2001.

Yours sincerely,

General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union

Transparency Service - Access to documents

 

SECRETARIAT DGF Access, Council of the EU

Dear Ms Bartlett Quintanilla,
 
Today, the Council is going to adopt the reply to your confirmatory
application dated 23 May 2012. Could you please inform us of your postal
address so that we could send you the official Council reply by registered
mail?
 
Yours sincerely
General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union
Transparency Service - Access to documents

Pam Bartlett Quintanilla

Dear SECRETARIAT DGF Access,

Thanks for your email. I wonder if you could please send me the official reply via email instead of in the post?

Thanks again,
Yours sincerely,

Pam Bartlett Quintanilla

SECRETARIAT DGF Access, Council of the EU

4 Attachments



Dear Ms Bartlett Quintanilla,

 

Attached is the Council reply to your confirmatory application of 23 May
2012.

 

Yours sincerely

 

General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union
Transparency Service - Access to documents

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