Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

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:

- any impact assessments on the Food Information to Consumers Regulation submitted to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB)

- all RSB opinions on these impact assessments

- a list and minutes of any upstream meetings held between RSB members and staff in the Commission on this file

I note that usually the Commission usually only publishes the IA and RSB opinion when the final legislative proposal is published. However, I note the Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 4 September 2018 in Case C-57/16 P in which the Court held that documents drawn up in the context of an impact assessment procedure for a legislative proposal constitute legislative documents that should be made directly accessible to the public pursuant to Article 12(2) of Regulation No 1049/2001 before the proposal and that access should not be denied on request.

Please note that the RSB opinion is also being requested in a confirmatory application under a request to DG Sante (details: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/docu... )

Yours faithfully,

Suzy Sumner
foodwatch
Mundo Madou
Avenue des Arts 7-8
1210 Brussels

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Secretariat General of the European Commission

Your message has been received by the Transparency Unit of the
Secretariat-General of the European Commission.
Requests for public access to documents are treated on the basis of
[1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
The Secretariat-General will reply to your request within 15 working days
upon registration of your request and will duly inform you of the
registration of the request (or of any additional information to be
provided in view of its registration and/or treatment).
 
 
L’unité «Transparence» du secrétariat général de la Commission européenne
a bien reçu votre message.
Les demandes d’accès du public aux documents sont traitées sur la base du
[2]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 la date d’enregistrement de votre demande, et vous
informera de cet enregistrement (ou vous indiquera toute information
supplémentaire à fournir en vue de l'enregistrement et/ou du traitement de
votre demande).
 
 
Ihre Nachricht ist beim Referat „Transparenz“ des Generalsekretariats der
Europäischen Kommission eingegangen.
Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden auf der Grundlage der
[3]Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der
Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und
der Kommission behandelt.
Das Generalsekretariat beantwortet Ihre Anfrage innerhalb von
15 Arbeitstagen nach deren Registrierung und wird Sie über die
Registrierung Ihres Antrags (oder die Notwendigkeit weiterer Informationen
im Hinblick auf dessen Registrierung und/oder Bearbeitung) unterrichten.
 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
3. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your request for access to documents
sent on 07/09/2023 and registered on 07/09/2023 under the case number
2023/5211.

We will handle your request within 15 working days as of the date of
registration. The time-limit expires on 28/09/2023. We will let you know
if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working days.

To find more information on how we process your personal data, please see
[1]the privacy statement.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

References

Visible links
1. https://ec.europa.eu/info/principles-and...

SANTE-ACCESS-TO-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu,

1 Attachment

Hello,

Please find attached a message concerning your request for access to
Commission documents registered under the above case number 2023/5211.

Kind regards,

SANTE-CONSULT-A1@ec.europa.eu, Secretariat General of the European Commission

1 Attachment

Dear Madam,

We are writing concerning your request for access to Commission documents
registered on 7 September 2023 under case number 2023/5211.

Please note that that the reply has been prepared and we are waiting for
it to be signed. We hope to be in a position to send this to you as soon
as possible.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Kind regards,

 

European Commission
DG Health and Food Safety
Unit A1 – Antimicrobial Resistance, Human nutrition

 

 

 

Dear Unit A1 – Antimicrobial Resistance, Human nutrition,
Thank you for your message. I would be grateful if you can update me on the state of play with signing the letter as there are a number of interested organisations, including media, waiting on this response. It would be useful to know on what date you expect the letter to be ready.

Yours sincerely,

Suzy Sumner

DURACK Liam, Secretariat General of the European Commission

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Sumner,
 
Thank you for your email regarding your access to documents request. The
reply to your request has been delayed due to internal procedures, but the
reply should reach you shortly. Please accept our sincere apologies for
the delay and let us assure you that we strive to send the letter to you
as soon as possible.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
European Commission
DG Health and Food Safety
Unit A1 – Antimicrobial Resistance, Human nutrition
 
 
 

show quoted sections

SANTE-ACCESS-TO-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu,

1 Attachment

Hello,

Please find attached a message concerning your request for access to
Commission documents registered under the above case number 2023/5211.

Please accept our apologies for the delay in sending this reply.

We would be grateful if you acknowledge the receipt of this message by
return email.

Kind regards,

Dear [email address],
I acknowledge receipt of the document Negative reply EASE 2023 5211.pdf - however the list of 2 documents referred to in the reply was not included.

Please can you also send me the attachment.

Yours sincerely,

Suzy Sumner

SANTE-CONSULT-A1@ec.europa.eu, Secretariat General of the European Commission

2 Attachments

Dear MS Sumner,

 

I hope this message finds you well. Thank you for bringing the missing
list to our attention.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Please kindly find attached the missing list of the 2 documents.

 

Kind regards,

Unit A1

 

European Commission

 

Directorate-General for Health and Food safety

Unit A1: Antimicrobial Resistance, Human nutrition 

 

 

 

Confirmatory Application

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

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

I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to my access to documents request 'Impact Assessment and RSB opinion on Food Information to Consumers'.

You have identified two documents that fit into the scope of my request, however in your letter of 30 October 2023, access to these documents, even partially, has been denied.

The requested documents indeed relate to a draft impact assessment and an upstream meeting concerning the legislative proposal on Food Information to Consumers, a piece of legislation which has not been released and for which timing for its release is no longer included in the Commission’s work programme.
Regulation 1049/2001 in Article 4(3) permits an exception to be applied to documents where the decision has not been taken by the institution if “disclosure of the document would seriously undermine the institution’s decision-making process, unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure.” [emphasis added].

In accordance with Case T-448/21 Saure v Commission, when the institution refuses access to the requested documents under the 4(3) exception, it must provide explanations as to how the access to such documents could concretely and effectively undermine the protection of the decision-making process, and demonstrate that this risk is reasonably foreseeable and not merely hypothetical.

However, in your letter of 30 October 2023 and as regards to the undermining the institution’s decision making process, you have provided absolutely no analysis of the possible harms this could cause, nor did you provide any proof that such an undermining risk was foreseeable and not merely hypothetical, and therefore have not justified the application of this exception. Also since the legislation seems to currently be "withdrawn" from the European agenda, it is difficult to understand which decision making process it is undermining.

In a recent recommendation (Recommendation of September 25th 2023 - Case 1053/2023/MIK), the European Ombudsman stated that even if the EU administration might be reluctant to share its preliminary views, in that they might be subject to public criticism or pressure - it is, as the Court of Justice held, “for the Commission to prevent any adverse impact in its decision-making process arising from such external pressures. Refusing public access to legislative documents cannot be used as a safeguard by EU institutions when faced with external pressures.”

Furthermore, Article 4(3) makes clear that – even where harm is identified – consideration should be given as to whether there is an “overriding public interest in disclosure”, something which you have not done.
You state that you were unable to identify any public interest. You also state that I did not submit any such arguments. In fact, the burden is on the EU body to identify the public interest. In this regard, I would note that you could give the following matters due consideration:
- The content of this legislation is of fundamental concern to the health of European citizens. It concerns information that we should all know about the food we consume on a daily basis and provisions which should help us not be misled by the food industry. Non-communicable diseases are putting financial and societal pressure on our countries, and yet legislation on what is in our food and associated health and nutrition claims, as well as a front of pack nutritional label which is accessible to all is being delayed, or even cancelled.
- In a parallel request for information, https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/docu... documents have been shared which show the pressure of the agro-industry and Italy in the weeks before this legislation should have been released. Analysis by BEUC https://www.beuc.eu/blog/food-label-ambu... draws conclusions of influence in this legislation. Given that it is known that there has been lobbying, it is important that full information is available to the public so as to ensure that the public interest is being taken into account in the proposals.
- Moreover, the release of the requested documents would enable the public to effectively participate in the legislative process, with the aim of improving the protection of human health and the environment and could provide further information as to why the legislative proposal on Food Information to Consumers was not released, and why its release is no longer included in the Commission’s work programme.
- These specific circumstances - of the absence of release of the legislative proposal and of the non-inclusion of the latter in the Commission’s work programme, in addition with the essential principles of greater transparency, citizen participation in the decision making process as well as greater legitimacy, efficiency and accountability of the European administration towards citizens in a democratic system, undeniably establish the existence of an overriding public interest which justifies the release of the requested documents.
- Finally I refer to the general importance of the openness of decision making, of the Commission, which permits the public to participate in or even simply follow and understand decision making processes. As the European Ombudsman stated (Recommendation of September 25th 2023 - Case 1053/2023/MIK), the Court of Justice recalled that the expression by the public or interested parties of their views on the policy options envisaged by the Commission before specific legislative proposals are announced “is an integral part of the exercise by EU citizens of their democratic rights.”

Even if you did identify that some of the information in these documents requires redaction, the rest could indeed be provided. Article 4(6), Regulation 1049/2001 simply says that if “only parts of the requested document are covered by any of the exceptions, the remaining parts of the document shall be released.” Hence it is for the recipient of the information to determine how useful or meaningful it may be.

A full history of my request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/impa...

Yours faithfully,

Suzy Sumner

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Secretariat General of the European Commission

Your message has been received by the Transparency Unit of the
Secretariat-General of the European Commission.
Requests for public access to documents are treated on the basis of
[1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
The Secretariat-General will reply to your request within 15 working days
upon registration of your request and will duly inform you of the
registration of the request (or of any additional information to be
provided in view of its registration and/or treatment).
 
 
L’unité «Transparence» du secrétariat général de la Commission européenne
a bien reçu votre message.
Les demandes d’accès du public aux documents sont traitées sur la base du
[2]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 la date d’enregistrement de votre demande, et vous
informera de cet enregistrement (ou vous indiquera toute information
supplémentaire à fournir en vue de l'enregistrement et/ou du traitement de
votre demande).
 
 
Ihre Nachricht ist beim Referat „Transparenz“ des Generalsekretariats der
Europäischen Kommission eingegangen.
Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden auf der Grundlage der
[3]Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der
Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und
der Kommission behandelt.
Das Generalsekretariat beantwortet Ihre Anfrage innerhalb von
15 Arbeitstagen nach deren Registrierung und wird Sie über die
Registrierung Ihres Antrags (oder die Notwendigkeit weiterer Informationen
im Hinblick auf dessen Registrierung und/oder Bearbeitung) unterrichten.
 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
3. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your confirmatory request for case
2023/5211, sent on 14/11/2023 and registered on 14/11/2023.

We will handle your confirmatory request within 15 working days as of the
date of registration. The time-limit expires on 05/12/2023. We will let
you know if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working
days.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Hello,

We are writing concerning your confirmatory request for access to
Commission documents for case 2023/5211 registered on 14/11/2023.

We are currently working on your confirmatory request. However, we have
not yet been able to gather all the elements necessary to carry out a full
analysis of your request. We will not be able to send you the reply within
the prescribed time limit expiring on 5/12/2023.

Therefore, in line with Article 8(2) of [1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 we
need to extend this time limit by 15 additional working days. The new time
limit expires on 4/1/2024.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Kind regards,

Access to Documents Team

Secretariat-General/SG.C1

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

A response to the above request is now long overdue. Could you please reply by 18 January 2024, as after this date I will proceed to appeal via the European Ombudsman.

Yours faithfully,

Suzy Sumner

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Secretariat General of the European Commission

Your message has been received by the Transparency Unit of the
Secretariat-General of the European Commission.
Requests for public access to documents are treated on the basis of
[1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
The Secretariat-General will reply to your request within 15 working days
upon registration of your request and will duly inform you of the
registration of the request (or of any additional information to be
provided in view of its registration and/or treatment).
 
 
L’unité «Transparence» du secrétariat général de la Commission européenne
a bien reçu votre message.
Les demandes d’accès du public aux documents sont traitées sur la base du
[2]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 la date d’enregistrement de votre demande, et vous
informera de cet enregistrement (ou vous indiquera toute information
supplémentaire à fournir en vue de l'enregistrement et/ou du traitement de
votre demande).
 
 
Ihre Nachricht ist beim Referat „Transparenz“ des Generalsekretariats der
Europäischen Kommission eingegangen.
Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden auf der Grundlage der
[3]Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der
Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und
der Kommission behandelt.
Das Generalsekretariat beantwortet Ihre Anfrage innerhalb von
15 Arbeitstagen nach deren Registrierung und wird Sie über die
Registrierung Ihres Antrags (oder die Notwendigkeit weiterer Informationen
im Hinblick auf dessen Registrierung und/oder Bearbeitung) unterrichten.
 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
3. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Ms Sumner,

Thank you for your message of 9 January 2024 concerning your confirmatory
application.

We would like to inform you that we are currently handling your
application. We can assure you that we are doing our utmost to provide you
with a reply as soon as possible.

We regret this additional delay and sincerely apologise for any
inconvenience this may cause.

Thank you for your understanding,

Kind regards,

Secretariat-General/Access to Documents Team

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu,

1 Attachment

Dear SUMNER, Suzy,

Please find attached the electronic version of European Commission
Decision C(2024)372 as adopted by the European Commission on 28/05/2024
concerning the request 2023/5211.

In accordance with the Terms and Conditions of this portal, please note
that this decision is being formally notified pursuant to article 297 TFEU
through this electronic platform only.

Yours sincerely,

Access to documents team - SG.C.1

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Secretariat General of the European Commission

2 Attachments

Dear Madam,

 

Please find attached the electronic version of Commission Decision
C(2024)3712 as adopted by the European Commission on 28.05.2024.

 

The formal notification of the decision under Article 297 TFEU is being
made only in electronic form.

 

Could you please confirm receipt of the attached document by return
e-mail?

 

Many thanks in advance.

 

Kind regards,

Access to documents team - cr
SG.C.1
Transparency

 

 

 

Dear [email address],

I confirm receipt of the attached letter

Yours sincerely,

Suzy Sumner