High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth

Pascoe Sabido made this access to documents request to Trade

The request was refused by Trade.

From: Pascoe Sabido

Delivered

Dear Trade (TRADE),

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:

The full membership list of the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth

Yours faithfully,

Pascoe Sabido

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Trade

Dear Mr Sabido,

Thank you for your request in accordance with Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents and registered under the above mentioned number.

There is no full membership list of High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth (HLWG). The HLGW was created in November 2011 (http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/20..., and was chaired by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Unites States Trade Representative Ron Kirk. The work of the HLWG is managed by Jean-Luc Demarty, Director General for Trade and Miriam Sapiro, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative.

The Working Group has provided an interim report to Leaders on the status of its work in June 2012 and a final report on 13 February 2013. You can find both reports and further information on bilateral EU-US relations in http://ec.europa.eu/trade/creating-oppor... .

Do not hesitate to contact us if this information does not meet your needs or if you have further questions.

Best regards,

Raluca MOLDOVAN
Access to Documents

European Commission
DG TRADE
Unit A3 - Information, communication and civil society
CHAR 7/90
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
+32 2 2984 177
[email address]

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From: Pascoe Sabido

Delivered

Dear Trade (TRADE),

Please can you provide me the relevant names of authors of all interim reports produced by the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth.

Yours faithfully,

Pascoe Sabido

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Trade

Dear Mr Sabido,

There is no document containing the list of authors of the reports prepared by the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth (HLWG).

The HLWG has prepared two reports, one interim and one final. Both were presented by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Unites States Trade Representative Ron Kirk. On the EU side, the Directorate General for Trade led the coordination of both reports and the work of the HLWG has been managed by Jean-Luc Demarty, Director General for Trade.

We hope this information meets your needs.

Best regards,

Raluca MOLDOVAN
Access to Documents

European Commission
DG TRADE
Unit A3 - Information, communication and civil society
CHAR 7/90
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
+32 2 2984 177
[email address]

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From: Pascoe Sabido

Delivered

Dear Trade (TRADE),

Thank you for responding that there is no actual document with the authors of the interim reports prepared for the HLWG on Jobs and Growth.

I would, however, expect that according to the Code of Good Administrative Behaviour, which was adopted by the Commission on 13 September 2000 and which applies to Commission staff in their dealings with the public, the information requested can still be supplied by DG TRADE.

I look forward to hearing back from you shortly,

Yours faithfully,

Pascoe Sabido

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Trade

Dear Mr Sabido,

Unfortunately we are not in a position to provide you with the information requested as your request does fall outside the purpose of Regulation No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. As mentioned before, there is no document containing the list of authors of the reports prepared by the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth (HLWG).

We believe that our duties according to the Code of Good Administrative Behaviour have been fully respected as we have shared with you, within the stipulated deadlines, the information which is publicly available, namely, the two reports as well as the names of the two chairs and managers of the HLWG.

Furthermore, and as explained in our previous replies, both reports are the result of a joint effort from both the EU and US administrations. On the EU side, several departments from the European Commission have contributed to the report and its work has been chaired by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and managed by Jean-Luc Demarty, Director General for Trade. On the US side, Unites States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Miriam Sapiro, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative have chaired and managed respectively the work of the HLWG.

We hope this information meets your needs.

Best regards,

Raluca MOLDOVAN
Access to Documents

European Commission
DG TRADE
Unit A3 - Information, communication and civil society
CHAR 7/90
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
+32 2 2984 177
[email address]

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From: Pascoe Sabido

Delivered

Dear Trade (TRADE),

Thank you for taking the time to respond each time to my request. I was slightly confused by your response and wanted to ask for a clarification which should hopefully not be too difficult to answer.

In finding that there is no document containing the authors of the two reports by the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth, does that mean there were no authors apart from the two coordinating chairs? If there were in fact authors, please advise me how to go about finding their identities.

On page 12, point 10, in the 'Communication from the Commission on the Collection and Use of Expertise by the Commission: Principles and Guidelines' (Brussels, 11.12.2002 COM(2002) 713 final), it states that "When using expertise, departments should maintain a record of the process including the terms of reference and the main contributions of different experts or groups of experts."

Therefore while Commission staff may not be considered experts, any outside expertise that contributed to the two reports should be recorded and therefore publicly available.

Does this mean that there was no external (non-governmental) expertise included in the report, or simply that it wasn't considered to be the role of a contributing author?

Yours faithfully,

Pascoe Sabido

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Trade

Dear Mr Sabido,

On 12 March 2013 the Commission released an impact assessment on the future of the EU-US trade relations which devotes a section (1.2. Studies, public consultations and expert evidence) to the various public consultations and expert evidence gathered since the launch of the work of the High Level Working Group. In Annexes 5a and 5b to the impact assessment you find a summary of the contributions to the "Public Consultation on: The future of EU-US trade and economic relations".

The impact assessment and its annexes are available in http://ec.europa.eu/trade/creating-oppor...

Further details on the public consultations DG TRADE has conducted on various aspects of the EU-US trade relations are available in http://trade.ec.europa.eu/consultations/

As to your question on the authors of the two reports by the High Level Working Group let me refer you to our previous reply.

Your sincerely,

Raluca MOLDOVAN
Access to Documents

European Commission
DG TRADE
Unit A3 - Information, communication and civil society
CHAR 7/90
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
+32 2 2984 177
[email address]

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From: Pascoe Sabido

Delivered

Dear Trade (TRADE),

in an access request under Regulation No 1049/2001 via asktheeu.org dated 4 March 2013 (see www.asktheeu.org/de/request/high_level_w... for the whole correspondence) I had asked for access to the full membership list of the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth (HLWG)(1) which has recommended the launch of free trade negotiations between the EU and the US.

Raluca Moldovan from DG Trade responded to this request on 5 March 2013, claiming that there is no full membership list of the HLWG. This was followed by an exchange between myself and Ms Moldovan, during which I specified that I would like to know who where the actual authors of the reports produced by the HLWG. I also referred to the Code of Good Administrative Behaviour,(2) under which, according to DG Trade’s internal Vademecum on Access to Documents, access to information requests should be handled in cases where no document exists in which the requested information can be found.(3) To that, Raluca Moldova responded that my “request does fall outside the purpose of Regulation No 1049/2001”. The last email from our exchange dates from 8 April 2013.

With this letter I would like to confirm my initial request. I do not agree with DG Trade’s non-disclosure of the requested information and would like to ask you to review the decision.

According to the EU’s transparency initiative, which was established with the aim of strengthening public trust in EU institutions through increased openness and accessibility, European citizens “have a right to know how the European institutions are preparing decisions, who participates in preparing them”.(4) Article 15 EU Treaty similarly states that “in order to promote good governance and ensure the participation of civil society, the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies shall conduct their work as openly as possible.”

The EU and US are currently preparing negotiations for an encompassing free trade agreement on the basis of the conclusions of the HLWG. This trade agreement will have implications for billions of people on both sides of the Atlantic. Hence, the public has a right to know who actually participated in the HLWG and wrote the recommendations.

The HLWG, as any other expert group set up by the Commission and other similar entities should be subject to the transparency requirements set up in the rules on Commission expert groups.(5) This includes transparency about the composition of such groups, including the publication of names. The information as provided by DG Trade – on the chairs of the HLWG and the fact that several Commission departments have contributed to its report – does not satisfy these transparency requirements.

I therefore ask you to reconsider the case and grant me access to the withheld information.

Yours sincerely,

Pascoe Sabido

(1) http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/...
(2) http://ec.europa.eu/civil_society/code/d...
(3) In DG Trade’s Vademecum on Access to Documents from October 2010, which was sent to Corporate Europe Observatory by the Commission, it is stated: “The right of access applies to existing documents. This may sound obvious, but it means that the Regulation does not require us to create documents to meet a given request (although we do normally provide lists of meetings or documents covered in a request) nor to reply under the Regulation to requests for information rather than documents per se. Requests for information should be handled under the Code of Good Administrative Behaviour (see: http://ec.europa.eu/civil_society/code/d....
(4) http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/
(5) European Commission (2010): Communication from the President to the Commission. Framework for Commission Expert Groups. Horizontal Rules and Public Register. C(2010) 7649 final.

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Trade


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Dear Mr. Sabido,

 

Thank you for your access to documents request received on 27 February
2013 and registered as Gestdem 2013/1128, requesting access to documents
under Regulation No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents.

 

Please find attached DG Trade's reply.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

VÃctor GarcÃa

 

 

 

 

VÃctor GarcÃa López-Berges

[1]Description: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/images/ec_logo...

European Commission

DG TRADE E1 – USA and Canada
CHAR 8/216
B-1040 Brussels-Belgium
Rue de la Loi 170
1040 Bruxelles/Brussel
+32 2 29 80202
[2][email address]

 

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