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

The request was successful.

Dear European External Action Service,

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 EEAS 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 EEAS 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

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, European External Action Service

Dear Mr Vranken,

We received your request dated 29 January 2019 and wish to inform you that the subject matter is under the responsibility of European Defence Agency. Based on that, we would like to ask if you still want the European External Action Service (EEAS) to treat your request?

Yours sincerely,

Access to Documents (AD)
[EEAS request email]
SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

Dear European External Action Service,

Many thanks for your mail.

A similar request has been filed with the European Defence Agency, but we are also interested in the subject matter with regard to the External Action Service. So yes, we would like the EEAS to still treat the request.

Yours faithfully,

Bram Vranken

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, European External Action Service

Dear Mr Vranken,

This message is an acknowledgement of receipt for your requests for access to documents under Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (which the EEAS is also respecting).

Your requests for access to documents have been registered under reference number: 2019/019
Please refer to this number in any further correspondence.

In accordance with the Regulation, you will receive a reply within 15 working days: 26/2/2019.

Yours sincerely,

Access to Documents (AD)
[EEAS request email]
SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, European External Action Service

Dear Mr Vranken,

 

We are still waiting for the reply from the Division concerned. We
therefore, exceptionally, need to extend the deadline for reply by an
additional 15 working days.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS (AD)

[1][EEAS request email]

SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

 

 

References

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1. mailto:[EEAS request email]

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, European External Action Service

Dear Mr Vranken,

 

We are still waiting for the reply from the Division concerned. Would you
be so kind as to be patient for a some more days for the reply.

We will make every effort to process your request as quickly as possible.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS (AD)

[1][EEAS request email]

SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[EEAS request email]

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, European External Action Service

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Vranken,

On behalf of Mr Visentin please find attached the reply to your request for access to documents.

Yours sincerely,

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS (AD)
[EEAS request email]
SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs