Frontex vessels under JO Triton

The request was refused by European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

Dear European Border and Coast Guard Agency,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, we are requesting documents which contain the following information:

For the period starting 1 June 2017 to 30 August 2017, both inclusive, for all vessels deployed by Frontex in the Central Mediterranean under Joint Operation Triton:
- Name of each vessel;
- Flag; and
- Vessel type.

In regards to this information, we would like to point out that its disclosure cannot foreseeably nor effectively harm the public interest in regards to public security.

In the first place, this information is already in the public domain for those vessels deployed under Operation Triton for the year 2016, as published by the European Commission Political Strategy Centre in its February 2017 report ‘Irregular Migration via the Central Mediterranean. From Emergency Responses to Systemic Solutions’. [1]

Likewise, this information is already being disclosed and, as a matter of fact, being actively publicised for other – complementary – EU operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

It is the case of EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia, which publishes and updates regularly the name, flag, and vessel type of those vessels involved in the Operation, doing so via social media (namely its Twitter account [2]), as well as via its website [3], including a wide range of details for each of the vessels that actually exceeds the scope of what is here being requested, and also via periodic press releases published whenever a vessel is incorporated into [4] or finalises [5] the mission.

It can therefore be argued that the requested information does not contain enough detail about EU operations at sea as to justify a refusal based on the protection of public security. One might even add that, if the European Commission and, furthermore, the European External Action Service (EEAS), whose core mandate for Operation Sophia is precisely to disrupt trafficking and smuggling networks, chose to proactively publish this information and have continued doing so to date, it is reasonable to expect that this disclosure constitutes no danger to public security.

To this respect, we recall that Article 15 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that “(…) the Union's institutions, bodies, offices and agencies shall conduct their work as openly as possible.” [6] Furthermore, the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation also states in its preamble that “The Agency should be as transparent as possible about its activities”, [7].

The aforementioned cases constitute factual examples of the actual possibility of disclosing this information without prejudice to public security, thus proving it is entirely “possible” for Frontex to be open and disclose the requested information.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any doubts or questions in regards to my request.

Thank you in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Luisa Izuzquiza
and
Arne Semsrott

Notes:
[1] https://ec.europa.eu/epsc/publications/s...
[2] https://twitter.com/EUNAVFORMED_OHQ
[3] https://eeas.europa.eu/csdp-missions-ope...
[4] An example of such an article can be found here: https://eeas.europa.eu/csdp-missions-ope...
[5] An example of such an article can be found here: https://eeas.europa.eu/csdp-missions-ope...
[6] Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Article 15 (1).
[7] Regulation (EU) 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 on the European Border and Coast Guard, paragraph 55.

PAD, European Border and Coast Guard Agency

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Dear Ms Izuzquiza and Mr Semsrott,

 

Thank you for your email. We will forward your request to the responsible
Unit and we will get back to you within 15 working days.

 

In the meantime, If you will have any questions, please do not hesitate to
contact us.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Transparency Office

Corporate Governance

Tel: +48 22 205 9500

 

Frontex - European Border and Coast Guard Agency · Plac Europejski 6,
00-844 Warsaw, Poland · Tel: +48 22 205 9500 · Fax: +48 22 205 9501 ·
[1]www.frontex.europa.eu

DISCLAIMER: This e-mail message, including any attachments, cannot be
construed as automatically constituting any form of commitment by Frontex,
unless its contents clearly indicate otherwise. It is intended solely for
the use of the addressee(s). Any unauthorised disclosure, use or
dissemination, either in whole or in part, is prohibited. If you have
received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately via
e-mail and delete the e-mail from your system.

From: Registration
Sent: 01 September 2017 11:41
To: PAD <[email address]>
Subject: PAD request for a document- Frontex vessels under JO Triton

 

 

 

Date: Reg.No:
01.09.2017 19660
Responsible
Organisation:       
              Cc:
Remark: Deadline:

   
Remark for staff
member:
Reference:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Regards
 
[2]cid:Artboard16-100_9e7f5063-82a4-4388-a45e-d707da0a274f.png

 

 

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PAD, European Border and Coast Guard Agency

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Dear Ms Luisa Izuzquiza,

Dear Mr Arne Semsrott,

 

Please find our response as enclosed.

 

In case of any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Best regards,

 

Transparency Office

Corporate Governance

Tel: +48 22 205 9500

 

 

 

Frontex - European Border and Coast Guard Agency · Plac Europejski 6,
00-844 Warsaw, Poland · Tel: +48 22 205 9500 · Fax: +48 22 205 9501 ·
[1]www.frontex.europa.eu

DISCLAIMER: This e-mail message, including any attachments, cannot be
construed as automatically constituting any form of commitment by Frontex,
unless its contents clearly indicate otherwise. It is intended solely for
the use of the addressee(s). Any unauthorised disclosure, use or
dissemination, either in whole or in part, is prohibited. If you have
received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately via
e-mail and delete the e-mail from your system.

From: Registration
Sent: 01 September 2017 11:41
To: PAD <[email address]>
Subject: PAD request for a document- Frontex vessels under JO Triton

 

 

 

Date: Reg.No:
01.09.2017 19660
Responsible
Organisation:       
              Cc:
Remark: Deadline:

   
Remark for staff
member:
Reference:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Regards
 
[2]cid:Artboard16-100_9e7f5063-82a4-4388-a45e-d707da0a274f.png

 

 

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Dear European Border and Coast Guard Agency,

Please pass this on to the person who reviews confirmatory applications.

We are filing the following confirmatory application with regards to our access to documents request 'Frontex vessels under JO Triton'.

On 1 September 2017 we filed an access to information request asking for documents that contain the following information: “For the period starting 1 June 2017 to 30 August 2017, both inclusive, for all vessels deployed by Frontex in the Central Mediterranean under Joint Operation Triton:
- Name of each vessel;
- Flag; and
- Vessel type.”

On that same day, Frontex acknowledged the receipt of the request.

On 8 September 2017 Frontex responded to the access to documents request refusing access to the requested information under Article 4 (1) (a) of Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council, and Commission documents.

In this regard, we consider that:

I. Contrary to Frontex’s assessment, the requested information does not “specifically and actually” undermine public security, and therefore Frontex has misapplied Article 4 (1) (a) of Regulation 1049/2001.

As stressed in the initial access to documents request, first, the name of each vessel, flag, and vessel type involved in the European External Action Service (EEAS) Operation Sophia is being proactively published online and being actively publicised; second, the name of each vessel, flag, and vessel type involved in Frontex’s own Joint Operation Triton for the year 2016 is also currently available online.

Furthermore, on 12 September 2017, Frontex proactively published on Twitter part of the requested information (i.e. the name, flag, and type of one of the vessels involved in Operation Triton during the period highlighted in the initial request): https://twitter.com/Frontex/status/90755...

It is in this light that we would like to recall that the Court of Justice of the European Union has held that European institutions cannot validly argue that disclosure of information would "specifically and actually" undermine public security where documents that are comparable to the requested information have already been made available to the public (Case T-167/10, paras. 87-88).

Frontex cannot therefore validly argue that disclosure of the requested information would undermine public security, since comparable information has already been made available to the public.

II. Frontex has failed to comply with its obligation to review the arguments put forward in the initial request.

Frontex’s response of 8 September 2017 did not address our initial argument that comparable information is already available online, thus indicating that disclosure of the requested information is not capable of undermining public security.

We reassert that according to the Court of Justice of the European Union, European institutions hold the obligation to review each of the arguments put forward by the applicant and address them individually (Case T-188/98, para. 46).

We are hereby urging Frontex to:
- Rectify its preliminary assessment where it states that the disclosure of the requested information would undermine public security; and
- Comply with its obligation to review the arguments put forward in the initial request in favour of disclosure, as well as the further arguments and evidence now provided.

A full history of our request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/fron... Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any clarification in regards to any aspect of this confirmatory application.

Thank you in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Luisa Izuzquiza
Arne Semsrott

PAD, European Border and Coast Guard Agency

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Dear Ms Izuzquiza and Mr Semsrott,

 

Thank you for your confirmatory application.

 

As your request falls under the regime of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, we
will now forward your email to the responsible Unit and get back to you
within 15 working days.

 

In the meantime, should you have any questions regarding your request or
public access to documents process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

Transparency Office

Corporate Governance

Tel: +48 22 205 9500

 

 

Frontex - European Border and Coast Guard Agency · Plac Europejski 6,
00-844 Warsaw, Poland · Tel: +48 22 205 9500 · Fax: +48 22 205 9501 ·
[1]www.frontex.europa.eu

DISCLAIMER: This e-mail message, including any attachments, cannot be
construed as automatically constituting any form of commitment by Frontex,
unless its contents clearly indicate otherwise. It is intended solely for
the use of the addressee(s). Any unauthorised disclosure, use or
dissemination, either in whole or in part, is prohibited. If you have
received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately via
e-mail and delete the e-mail from your system.

From: Registration
Sent: 29 September 2017 12:38
To: PAD <[email address]>
Subject: FW: Internal review of access to documents request - Frontex
vessels under JO Triton

 

 

 

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PAD, European Border and Coast Guard Agency

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Dear Ms Izuzquiza and Mr Semsrott,

 

As your request needs the consultation of several Member States (vessel
data), which takes more time to process, I would like to extend the
deadline to provide you with a reply of another 15 working days under
Article 8(2) of the Regulation 1049/2001.

 

Nevertheless, we will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.

 

Thank you for your understanding.

 

Kind regards,

 

Transparency Office

Corporate Governance

Tel: +48 22 205 9500

 

 

Frontex - European Border and Coast Guard Agency · Plac Europejski 6,
00-844 Warsaw, Poland · Tel: +48 22 205 9500 · Fax: +48 22 205 9501 ·
[1]www.frontex.europa.eu

DISCLAIMER: This e-mail message, including any attachments, cannot be
construed as automatically constituting any form of commitment by Frontex,
unless its contents clearly indicate otherwise. It is intended solely for
the use of the addressee(s). Any unauthorised disclosure, use or
dissemination, either in whole or in part, is prohibited. If you have
received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately via
e-mail and delete the e-mail from your system.

From: PAD
Sent: 03 October 2017 17:25
To: [FOI #4611 email]
Cc: PAD <[email address]>
Subject: FW: Internal review of access to documents request - Frontex
vessels under JO Triton

 

Dear Ms Izuzquiza and Mr Semsrott,

 

Thank you for your confirmatory application.

 

As your request falls under the regime of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, we
will now forward your email to the responsible Unit and get back to you
within 15 working days.

 

In the meantime, should you have any questions regarding your request or
public access to documents process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

Transparency Office

Corporate Governance

Tel: +48 22 205 9500

 

 

From: Registration
Sent: 29 September 2017 12:38
To: PAD <[2][email address]>
Subject: FW: Internal review of access to documents request - Frontex
vessels under JO Triton

 

 

 

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PAD, European Border and Coast Guard Agency

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Izuzquiza and Mr Semsrott,

 

Please find enclosed Frontex response to your confirmatory application.

 

In case of any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Best regards,

 

Transparency Office

Corporate Governance

Tel: +48 22 205 9500

 

Frontex - European Border and Coast Guard Agency · Plac Europejski 6,
00-844 Warsaw, Poland · Tel: +48 22 205 9500 · Fax: +48 22 205 9501 ·
[1]www.frontex.europa.eu

DISCLAIMER: This e-mail message, including any attachments, cannot be
construed as automatically constituting any form of commitment by Frontex,
unless its contents clearly indicate otherwise. It is intended solely for
the use of the addressee(s). Any unauthorised disclosure, use or
dissemination, either in whole or in part, is prohibited. If you have
received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately via
e-mail and delete the e-mail from your system.

From: PAD
Sent: 17 October 2017 09:07
To: [FOI #4611 email]
Cc: PAD <[email address]>
Subject: RE: Internal review of access to documents request - Frontex
vessels under JO Triton

 

Dear Ms Izuzquiza and Mr Semsrott,

 

As your request needs the consultation of several Member States (vessel
data), which takes more time to process, I would like to extend the
deadline to provide you with a reply of another 15 working days under
Article 8(2) of the Regulation 1049/2001.

 

Nevertheless, we will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.

 

Thank you for your understanding.

 

Kind regards,

 

Transparency Office

Corporate Governance

Tel: +48 22 205 9500

 

 

From: PAD
Sent: 03 October 2017 17:25
To: [2][FOI #4611 email]
Cc: PAD <[3][email address]>
Subject: FW: Internal review of access to documents request - Frontex
vessels under JO Triton

 

Dear Ms Izuzquiza and Mr Semsrott,

 

Thank you for your confirmatory application.

 

As your request falls under the regime of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, we
will now forward your email to the responsible Unit and get back to you
within 15 working days.

 

In the meantime, should you have any questions regarding your request or
public access to documents process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

Transparency Office

Corporate Governance

Tel: +48 22 205 9500

 

 

From: Registration
Sent: 29 September 2017 12:38
To: PAD <[4][email address]>
Subject: FW: Internal review of access to documents request - Frontex
vessels under JO Triton

 

 

 

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