Involvement of arms industry actors and private research centres in policy-making concerning the Preparatory Action on Defence Research

Secretariat General of the European Commission did not have the information requested.

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

I am writing on behalf of Vredesactie, a Member of the European Network Against Arms Trade ("ENAAT"), to exercise my right unders Regulation 1049/2001 to request access to documents as detailed below. As a Member of ENAAT, Vredesactie is actively involved in ensuring transparency within the EU institutions' defence and security policy-making process.

In 2016 the European Union took the unprecedented step and for the first time in its history set up a military research programme, the so-called Preparatory Action on Defence Research, worth €90m. Given the amount at stake and potential for conflict of interests, there is a pressing need for transparency in this area to ensure that decisions taken by EU bodies are free from the influence of the arms industry.

With the above in mind, I hereby respectfully request access to:

All documents containing information relating to the involvement of arms industry actors not already disclosed to the public (e.g. arms companies, their lobby groups, etc.) and private research centres in the context of the setting up and continuing development of the Preparatory Action on Defence Research.

For avoidance of doubt, I am seeking documents -- not already disclosed to the public -- which identify Commission interaction with any such arms industry actor and private research centre in relation to the Preparatory Action on Defence Research. Such documents may comprise minutes of meetings/correspondence with one or more of such stakeholders or otherwise refer to such stakeholders (for example, a document that identifies the type of entities that the Commission wanted to consult in relation to matters covered by this initiative).

I believe that disclosure of documents containing the above information is crucial for an enhanced public debate and increased accountability concerning the arms industry's influence on EU defence policy. In particular, getting a proper overview of the arms industry's lobbying in respect of EU policies in this area (ultimately funded by EU taxpayers) is essential for the ability of EU citizens and the civil society to participate more fully in those decision-making processes as well as to oversee that the decisions taken by EU bodies faithfully in the interest of EU citizens rather than being beholden to the arms lobby.

Our request should be treated in light of the European Ombudsman's recent decision in this area (concerning the Group of Personalities on Defence Research) which stipulated that: "[t]ransparency in this regard should have been especially important in the case of the Group of Personalities given that companies represented within the group could be eligible for funding under the programmes that it was advising on […]. (emphasis added) (see Decision in case 811/2017/EA)". The Ombudsman's reasoning – essentially that there is a need for increased transparency when it comes to the involvement of arms industry companies in the formulation of EU defence policy given the potential for such companies to subsequently receive funding under such programmes – is directly applicable to the documents requested here. There is therefore a particularly pressing need for the requested documents to be disclosed in full and without undue delay.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Yours faithfully,

Bram Vranken 
On behalf of Vredesactie

Vredesactie
Patriottenstraat 27, 
2600 Berchem 
www.vredesactie.be 
Tel. +32 (0) 3 281 68 39 
Mobile: +32 497 13 14 64

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.
 
 

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EC ARES NOREPLY,

[1]Ares(2019)480387 - RE: access to documents request - Involvement of
arms industry actors and private research centres in policy-making
concerning the Preparatory Action on Defence Research --- Ref. Gestdem
2019/524

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[DG SG request email]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[DG SG request email]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 28/01/2019. We hereby acknowledge receipt
of your application for access to documents, which was registered on
28/01/2019 under reference number GestDem 2019/524.

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, your application
will be handled within 15 working days.

The time limit will expire on 18/02/2019. In case this time limit needs to
be extended, you will be informed in due course.

You have lodged your application via the AsktheEU.org website. Please note
that this is a private third-party website which has no link with any
institution of the European Union. Therefore, the European Commission
cannot be held accountable for any technical issues or problems linked to
the use of this system.

Please note that the private third party running the AsktheEU.org website
is responsible and accountable for the processing of your personal data
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We understand that the third party running that website usually publishes
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Similarly, the third party publishes on that website any reply that the
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If you do not wish your correspondence with the European Commission to be
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alternative, private e-mail address for further correspondence.

In that case, the European Commission will send all future electronic
correspondence addressed to you only to that private address.

Yours faithfully,

Carlos Remis
SG.C.1
Transparence
Charl. 03/21

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Secretariat General of the European Commission

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Vranken,

 

We refer to your e-mail dated 28/01/2019 in which you make a request for
access to documents, registered on 28/01/2019 under the above mentioned
reference number.

Your application is currently being handled. However, we will not be in a
position to complete the handling of your application within the time
limit of 15 working days, which expires on 18/02/2019.

Therefore, we have to extend the time limit with 15 working days in
accordance with Article 7(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding
public access to documents. The new time limit expires on 11/03/2019.

 

We apologize for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

DG GROW – Access to documents team

 

European Commission
Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and
SMEs
DG GROW/03 – Strategic Planning and Delivery Unit

 

Secretariat General of the European Commission

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Vranken,

 

We refer to your e-mails dated 28/01/2019 in which you make two requests
for access to documents, registered on 28/01/2019 under the above
mentioned reference numbers.

The reply to your requests could not be finalised today. Therefore, we are
not in a position to complete the handling of your applications within the
extended time limit of 15 working days, which expires today (11/03/2019).
Please be reassured that we are doing our best to be able to send you the
replies in the coming days.

 

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

 

Kind regards,

 

 

DG GROW – Access to documents team

 

[1]cid:479385507@17082012-2045

European Commission
Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and
SMEs
DG  GROW/03 – The Strategic planning and delivery Unit

 

 

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Secretariat General of the European Commission

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Vranken,

 

Please find hereby the reply to your request for access to documents – Ref
GestDem 2019/0524.

 

Best regards,

Grow I.5

 

[1]cid:image001.png@01D3258A.F012E100

European Commission
DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Unit I5-Defence2

45, Avenue d'Auderghem 1040 – Brussels

 

 

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