Dear Madam, Sir,

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:

- All communications between the European Commission and the Dutch 'Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport' (Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate) about market surveillance activities from Regulation (EU) 2018/858 (motor vehicles)

- The 27 overviews of planned market surveillance checks of each Member State, as required by article 8.6 Regulation (EU) 2018/858 - including those received prior and after the deadline of 1 March 2021.

Sincerely
Peter Teffer

postal address:
Peter Teffer
Ekko Voorkamer
Bemuurde Weerd WZ 3
3513 BH Utrecht
The Netherlands

GROW-ACCES-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your e-mail of 19 July 2021. We hereby acknowledge receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered on the same day under reference number GESTDEM 2021/4613.

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 10 August 2021. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due course.

You have lodged your application via 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 website is responsible and accountable for the processing of your personal data via that website, and not the Commission. For further information on your rights, please refer to the third party’s privacy policy.
We understand that the third party running the AsktheEU.org website usually publishes the content of applicants’ correspondence with the Commission on that website. This includes the personal data that you may have communicated to the Commission (e.g. your private postal address).
Similarly, the third party publishes on that website any reply that the Commission will send to the email address of the applicants generated by the AsktheEU.org website.

If you do not wish that your correspondence with the Commission is published on a private third-party website such as AsktheEU.org, you can provide us with an alternative, private e-mail address for further correspondence. In that case, the Commission will send all future electronic correspondence addressed to you only to that private address, and it will use only that private address to reply to your request. You should still remain responsible to inform the private third-party website about this change of how you wish to communicate with, and receive a reply from, the Commission.

For information on how we process your personal data visit our page Privacy statement – access to documents.

Yours faithfully,
DG GROW Access to Documents Team

GROW-ACCES-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

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Dear Sir,

 

We refer to your request for access to documents, registered on 19 July
2021 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 10 August 2021.

 

An extended time limit is needed as (examples below) a your application
concerns a large number of documents.

 

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 31 August 2021.

 

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

 

Yours sincerely,

 

DG GROW – Access to documents team

 

[1]cid:479385507@17082012-2045

European Commission
Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and
SMEs
DG  GROW/B1 – Planning and Briefings

 

References

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GROW-I2@ec.europa.eu, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

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Dear Mr Teffer,

Please find attached the reply letter to your request for access to
documents registered under the reference GestDem 2021/4613.

According to our standard operational procedure, the reply would normally
be sent to you also by registered mail. Please note, however, that due to
the extraordinary health and security measures currently in force during
to the COVID-19 pandemic, which include the requirement for the majority
of Commission non-critical staff to telework, we are unfortunately not in
a position to follow this procedure until further notice.

We would therefore appreciate it if you could confirm receipt of the
documents by replying to [1][email address].

Best regards,

 

European Commission
Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and
SMEs
Mobility

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Dear Madam, Sir,

First let me express my appreciation to the access to documents team of DG GROW, for replying within the extended deadline. This should be normal, but unfortunately it happens quite a lot that other DG’s miss their deadlines.

Then, 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 registered on 19 July 2021 under reference number GESTDEM 2021/4613.

I had asked for:

- All communications between the European Commission and the Dutch 'Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport' (Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate) about market surveillance activities from Regulation (EU) 2018/858 (motor vehicles)
- The 27 overviews of planned market surveillance checks of each Member State, as required by article 8.6 Regulation (EU) 2018/858 - including those received prior and after the deadline of 1 March 2021.

With regard to the first category of documents, DG GROW stated that it had received (only) an overview of the planned market surveillance checks from ILT. However, I have been informed that ILT has also had additional communication with the Commission about the issue of market surveillance checks, including about guidance selecting vehicles in relation to other member states' authorities. I am unsure whether this was verbal or written communication, but I would like the secretariat-general to double-check if there was any written communication between the Commission and ILT regarding market surveillance checks. (The original request did not provide a time scope, but it would be all communications since 1 January 2021.)

With regard to the second category of documents, DG GROW identified overviews originating from 16 member states, but refused to publish them, referring to the exception to the right of access laid down in Article 4(2), third indent of this Regulation ("The institutions shall refuse access to a document where disclosure would undermine the protection of [...] - the purpose of inspections, investigations and audits").

It added: “These documents contain sensitive and confidential information on the vehicles that will be checked and the tests that Member States will perform on those vehicles. Making this information public would have a negative impact on the carrying out of market surveillance activities by the Member States concerned.”

I find this reasoning flawed, and contrary to the goals of Regulation 2018/858 on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles. These market surveillance activities would entail checking vehicles that are already on the market. Revealing which vehicle types or which element of the vehicles are the subject of investigation, cannot undermine the inspection, because the cars are already on the market. The unmentioned fear that when information about market surveillance activities is made public, the car’s design can be changed by the producers to undermine the purpose of inspections, is unrealistic.

Moreover, some member states have in fact already published or released upon request information about their market surveillance activities. This has not undermined their ability to inspect.

Without access to the documents I cannot assess whether the information contained in them are “sensitive and confidential”. But when DG GROW claimed that the documents “are covered in their entirety” by information that is sensitive and confidential, I found this hard to believe. The documents would at the very least contain meta information that is not sensitive or confidential, like the number of tests planned. It should thus be possible for the Commission to release at the very least partial version of the documents.

Nevertheless, the exception from article 4.3 can only be used when there is no overriding public interest in disclosure. I believe there is a great public interest in disclosure of these plans, that overrides any risk deriving from article 4.3.

Regulation 2018/858 was adopted in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal, which showed that member states were not sufficiently carrying out market surveillance activities in the field of diesel emissions. This scandal was of great concern to citizens, because it harmed their health and their environment.

The regulation itself said that there was “a need to improve the enforcement of the framework for type-approval by harmonising and enhancing the type-approval procedures and conformity of production procedures applied by Member States' authorities and technical services” (recital 4); that “recent problems with the implementation of the framework for EU type-approval have revealed particular weaknesses and have demonstrated the need for its fundamental revision in order to ensure that it is robust, transparent, predictable and sustainable and that it provides a high level of safety and of health and environmental protection (recital 5); and that “[n]ational authorities should apply and enforce the requirements of this Regulation in a uniform manner across the Union to ensure a level playing field and to avoid divergent standards being applied across the Union” (recital 9).

My request to publish the market surveillance overviews of member states should be seen in that light: national authorities have in the past failed citizens’ expectations and it is in the public interest to see whether the new regulation has improved enforcement of the type-approval framework and market surveillance.

For example, as recital 31 laid out, the regulation introduced “the establishment of a minimum number of checks on vehicles per year”, which would “contribute to the effective Union-wide implementation of the market surveillance obligations”. It also required that “an adequate share of the minimum number of checks should be allocated to emission-related tests” (recital 32).

It is thus in the public interest that documents are made public allowing citizens to check whether market surveillance authorities have indeed planned the required minimum number of checks on vehicles per year, and allocated an adequate share to emission-related tests.

As a final point: I was informed by the Commission that additional member states have sent an overview of their market surveillance checks since the date of my original request. I would appreciate a cooperative spirit on behalf of the Commission if these overviews were also included in the confirmatory application.

Sincerely,
Peter Teffer

postal address:
Peter Teffer
Ekko Voorkamer
Bemuurde Weerd WZ 3
3513 BH Utrecht
The Netherlands

SG ACCES DOCUMENTS, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

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Dear Sir,

 

Thank you for your email dated 13/09/2021 by which you request, pursuant
to Regulation No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament,
Council and Commission documents, a review of the position taken by DG
GROW in reply to your initial application GESTDEM 2021/4613.

 

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents which was registered on 13/09/2021 (Ares(2021)5604839).

 

Your application will be handled within 15 working days (04/10/2021). In
case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due
course.

 

Please be informed that the answer to your confirmatory application is a
formal Commission decision that will be notified to you by express
delivery. Thank you for providing your contact phone number, so that the
external delivery service can contact you in case of absence.

 

Please note that the Commission will not use your phone number for any
other purpose than for informing the delivery service, and that it will
delete it immediately thereafter.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM (IC)

 

[5]cid:image001.gif@01D46531.06A8B6B0

 

European Commission

Secretariat-General

SG.C1 (Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents)

[6][email address]

 

 

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SG ACCES DOCUMENTS, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

1 Attachment

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Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
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[5]Your confirmatory application for access to documents under Regulation
(EC) No 1049/2001 - GESTDEM 2021/4613 - 1st holding letter -
Ares(2021)6030736  (Please use this link only if you are an Ares user –
Svp, utilisez ce lien exclusivement si vous êtes un(e) utilisateur d’Ares)

Dear Mr Teffer,

 

I refer to your email of 13 September 2021, registered on the same date,
by which you submit a confirmatory application in accordance with Article
7(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents (hereafter ‘Regulation (EC)
No 1049/2001’).

 

I would like to inform you that your confirmatory application is currently
being handled. Unfortunately, due to ongoing consultations, we are not in
a position to reply to your confirmatory request within the prescribed
time limit which expired on 4 October 2021.

 

Consequently, we have to extend this period by another 15 working days in
accordance with Article 8(2) of Regulation(EC) No 1049/2001. The new
deadline expires on 25 October 2021.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

María OLIVÁN AVILÉS
Head of Unit

 

[6]cid:image001.gif@01D13362.41D673C0

European Commission

Secretariat General

SG.C.1 (Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents)

References

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SG ACCES DOCUMENTS, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

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Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
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[5]TEFFER 2021/4613 - Ares(2021)6571014  (Please use this link only if you
are an Ares user – Svp, utilisez ce lien exclusivement si vous êtes un(e)
utilisateur d’Ares)

Dear Mr Teffer,

 

I refer to your email of 13  September 2021, registered on the same day,
by which you submit a confirmatory application in accordance with Article
8(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents ("Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001"), registered under reference numbers GESTDEM 2021/4613.

 

We also refer to our holding reply of 4 October 2021, by which the time
limit for replying to your application was extended by 15 working days.
This extended time limit expired on 25 October 2021.

 

We regret to have to inform you that we will not be able to respond within
the extended time-limit. The consultations with the Directorate-General
concerned is still ongoing and therefore we are missing the important
elements needed to carry out a full analysis of your request and to take a
final decision.

 

We can assure you that we are doing our utmost to provide you with a final
reply as soon as possible. We regret this additional delay and sincerely
apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

María OLIVÁN AVILÉS
Head of Unit

[6]cid:image001.gif@01D13362.41D673C0

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit C.1 (Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents)

 

 

References

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5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...

Dear Mrs Oliván Avilés,

I refer to my confirmatory application for access to documents, registered on 13/09/2021 with reference number Ares(2021)5604839, and the Secretariat-General's inability to handle the application within the prescribed time limit.

I remind you that Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 prescribes that confirmatory applications are handled within 15 working days and that "[in] exceptional cases, for example in the event of an application relating to a very long document or to a very large number of documents, the time limit provided for in paragraph 1 may be extended by 15 working days, provided that the applicant is notified in advance and that detailed reasons are given."

The Secretariat-General notified me in advance, but did not give "detailed reasons". It merely stated that the reason for the first extension of the time limit was "due to ongoing consultations". The e-mail from 25 October added that the reason the Secretariat-General was not able to respond within the extended time limit was because "consultations with the Directorate-General concerned [were] still ongoing".

The fact that consultations are ongoing does not justify going beyond the 1049/2001 time limit. An extension of the time limit is only possible in "exceptional cases". Consultations within the Commission are a standard part of handling a confirmatory application. Hence, there is no exceptional case, and thus no legal basis for an extended time limit. The fact that the Commission is *unable* to finalise what should be a routine element of a confirmatory application (inter-service consultations) within the prescribed time limit, does not change the fact that it is violating Regulation 1049/2001.

So unless I am provided with a different explanation about why this particular confirmatory application is so exceptional, I am forced to ask: Why does the Secretariat-General believe that it is above the law?

Sincerely
Peter Teffer

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

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

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