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Meetings Airbus - EDA

Bram Vranken made this access to documents request to European Defence Agency

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Dear European Defence Agency,

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 documents -including but not limited to e-mails, reports, minutes, etc. - related to meetings between the representatives of the EDA and representatives of the company Airbus since February 2015.
- All correspondence (including emails) between representatives of the EDA and representatives of the company Airbus since February 2015.

Yours faithfully,

Bram Vranken
On behalf of Vredesactie

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

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, European Defence Agency

Dear Sir,

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered by EDA on 03 March 2021.

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, applicable to EDA in accordance with Article 30 of Council Decision 2015/1835 of 12 October 2015, your application will be handled within 15 working days. The time limit will expire on 23 March 2021. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due course.

Yours sincerely,

EDA Access to Documents

[EDA request email]
Rue des Drapiers 17-23
1050 Brussels
Belgium
www.eda.europa.eu

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ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, European Defence Agency

Dear Sir,

We refer to your email of 3 March 2021 wherein you submit a request for access to documents. registered on 3 March 2021 under the above-mentioned reference number.

In your request you seek access to “- All documents -including but not limited to e-mails, reports, minutes, etc. - related to meetings between the representatives of the EDA and representatives of the company Airbus since February 2015.
- All correspondence (including emails) between representatives of the EDA and representatives of the company Airbus since February 2015”.

As the description given and the range of documents requested in your application is very broad, we invite you, in accordance with Article 6(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents, to provide us with more detailed information on the type of documents you request, such as references, topic or subject matter of the documents requested, specific dates or periods during which the documents would have been drawn up, specific persons who participated in drafting the documents/correspondence you seek access to etc.

If you need assistance in clarifying or specifying your application, you can contact us by email to: [EDA request email].

Additionally, we note that the timespan indicated in your request, notably “since 2015” - to the current date - , is very extensive. This would mean that your request would eventually involve a large number of documents, e-mails, minutes etc. Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 also provides for a possibility to confer with an applicant informally with a view to finding a fair solution when an application relates to a very long document or concerns a very large number of documents.

Based on the above-mentioned considerations, we would kindly like to ask you to consider narrowing the timespan of your application so as to reduce it to a more manageable amount of documents. This would allow EDA to perform a more targeted and time efficient search for relevant documents.

Please note that the deadline for responding to your request is suspended until we will receive your response to this email.

Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Yours sincerely,

EDA Access to Documents

[EDA request email]
Rue des Drapiers 17-23
1050 Brussels
Belgium
www.eda.europa.eu

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Dear EDA,

Many thanks for your response. I believe the request is already quite limited in scope as it only covers documents related to meetings and correspondence with just one company.

I agree however to limiting the time span of the request to the period starting from September 2019.

Thank you in advance.

Yours sincerely,

Bram Vranken

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, European Defence Agency

Dear Sir,

We acknowledge receipt of your email dated 16/03/2021 and would like to thank you for your efforts to narrow down the time span of your request to the period starting from September 2019, which should allow us to perform a more targeted and time efficient search for the requested documents.

Your application will be handled within 15 working days, starting from the reception date of your e-mail. The new time limit will expire on 08 April 2021.

Should it during our search happen that more time is needed to collect the requested documents, you will be informed in due course by us.

With best regards,

EDA Access to Documents

[EDA request email]
Rue des Drapiers 17-23
1050 Brussels
Belgium
www.eda.europa.eu

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ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, European Defence Agency

Dear Sir,

We refer to your e-mail dated 03/03/2021, wherein you submit a request for access to documents.

We have identified a number of documents falling within the redefined time span of your request, as proposed by you in your email of 16/03/2021.

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 08/04/2021.

An extended time limit is necessary as your application concerns documents for which consultation(s) are ongoing.

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 29/04/2021.

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

Yours sincerely,

EDA Access to Documents

[EDA request email]
Rue des Drapiers 17-23
1050 Brussels
Belgium
www.eda.europa.eu

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Dear EDA,

Many thanks for your update on the progress of our request for access to documents.

I would like to recall you that the extended deadline has expired a week ago. Could you please give me an update on the status of the request?

Yours sincerely,

Bram Vranken

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, European Defence Agency

Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for your enquiry.

We are in the final stage of preparing a reply to you access to documents request, which will be sent to you before the extended time limit of 29/04/2021, which is the time limit also indicated in our email below.

Yours sincerely,

EDA Access to Documents

[EDA request email]
Rue des Drapiers 17-23
1050 Brussels
Belgium
www.eda.europa.eu

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ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, European Defence Agency

4 Attachments

Dear Sir,

We refer to your email of 03 March 2021, wherein you submit an access to documents request, registered under the reference 2021-08-IN.

We further refer to your email of 16 March 2021, limiting the time span of your request to the period starting from September 2019, and to our last email of 06 April 2021, apologising for the delay due to internal finalisation of the response.

In your request you seek access to:

- All documents -including but not limited to e-mails, reports, minutes, etc. - related to meetings between the representatives of the EDA and representatives of the company Airbus;
- All correspondence (including emails) between representatives of the EDA and representatives of the company Airbus.

In line with the redefined time span, we have identified a number of documents which fall within the scope of your request.

We are pleased to inform you that access can be granted to the following documents:

1 - Invitation letter of Mr Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus to Mr Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of EDA - dated 02 September 2019;
2 - Agenda ''les rencontres Institutionelles 2019 - Airbus, une ambition pour la France et pour l'Europe '' - dated 11 October 2019;
3 - Letter of Mr Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus to Mr Jiří Šedivý, Chief Executive of EDA - dated 18 May 2020;
4 - Letter of Mr Jiří Šedivý, Chief Executive of EDA to Mr Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus - dated 15 June 2020.

Please also be informed that we have identified further documents that correspond to the criteria given in your request and which relate to internal documents re. (1) the above mentioned "Rencontres Institutionnelles d'Airbus", (2) to a meeting between Mr Jiří Šedivý, Chief executive of EDA and the senior vice-president of Airbus and Head of EU & NATO Affairs on 03/09/2020, (3) to procurement related documents. Having examined the documents requested under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents, we regret to inform you that access to those documents cannot be granted, as disclosure is prevented by exceptions to the right of access laid down in Article 4 of this Regulation.

First, please note that only some parts of those documents under (1) and (2) fall under the scope of your request as only part of the document(s) relates to Airbus. Second, the parts of the documents identified that do correspond to the criteria given in your request are protected by the following exceptions:

1.Art.4(1)(a) second indent - defence and military matters.
The documents contain information regarding projects relating to defence and military matters. Additionally, some of the projects mentioned are still ongoing.

2.Art. 4(2) first indent - commercial interests of a natural or legal person, including intellectual property.
The documents, notably the procurement related ones, contain information of commercial nature the disclosure of which could undermine and impact negatively the business activities and commercial interests of Airbus.

3.Art. 4(1)(b) privacy and the integrity of the individual, in particular in accordance with Union legislation regarding the protection of personal data.
Article 9(1)(b) of the Data Protection Regulation does not allow the transmission of these personal data, except if you prove that it is necessary to have the data transmitted to you for a specific purpose in the public interest and where there is no reason to assume that the legitimate interests of the data subject might be prejudiced. In your request, you do not put forward any arguments to establish the necessity to have the data transmitted for a specific purpose in the public interest. Consequently, we have concluded that, pursuant to Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, access cannot be granted to the personal data contained in the requested documents, as the need to obtain access thereto for a purpose in the public interest has not been substantiated and there is no reason to think that the legitimate interests of the individuals concerned would not be prejudiced by disclosure of the personal data concerned.

We have considered whether partial access could be granted to the documents requested. Unfortunately, even in such a case the interests protected under Article 4 would be prejudiced. Therefore, access to the entirety of the documents must be refused.

Means of redress

In accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, you are entitled to make a confirmatory application requesting EDA to review its position.
Such a confirmatory application should be addressed within 15 working days upon receipt of this email to the Chief Executive of EDA to the following email: [EDA request email]

Yours sincerely,

EDA Access to Documents

[EDA request email]
Rue des Drapiers 17-23
1050 Brussels,
Belgium
www.eda.europa.eu

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Dear European Defence Agency,

Many thanks for your response to our Freedom of Information request dated on 23/04. We are pleased you have released several documents related to our request.

You also detail however that access to several other documents cannot be granted because “disclosure is prevented by exceptions to the right of access laid down in Article 4 of this Regulation.” You further set out that the identified documents are protected by 1) Art.4(1)(a) second indent on defence and military matters and 2) Art. 4(2) first indent - commercial interests of a natural or legal person, including intellectual property.

Herewith we are filing a confirmatory application with regards to our access to documents request.

1. Art.4(1)(a) second indent - defence and military matters.

The reasons you have put forward to justify the application of the exceptions are strikingly vague and thus unsatisfactory. In particular, you have not explained how disclosure can "specifically and actually" undermine the public interest as regards defence and public security matters and why this is "reasonably foreseeable and not purely hypothetical", as required by the established case law of the Court of Justice of the EU (see e.g. Cases 576/12 P, para. 45; C-280/11 P, para. 54; and C-506/08 P, para. 76).

2. Art. 4(2) first indent - commercial interests of a natural or legal person, including intellectual property.

In your response, you have failed to show how disclosing the documents would be "likely, specifically and actually" to seriously undermine commercial interests, and that the risk of that interest being undermined is "reasonably foreseeable and not purely hypothetical", as required by the established case law of the Court of Justice of the EU (see e.g. Case T-471/08, paras. 70-71).

Separately, you have failed to take into account the existence of an overriding public interest in disclosure. The relationship between the EDA and Airbus has come under increased scrutiny due to the controversy surrounding the move of the the former CEO of the European Defence Agency, Mr. Domecq, to Airbus Defence and Space as Head of Public Affairs and Strategic Advisor. On 22/02 the European Ombudsman has for example opened an inquiry expressing her concern about a “potential risk of conflicts of interest”. As such it is in the public interest to gain more detailed insights on the interactions between the European Defence Agency and Airbus.

On that basis, we respectfully request that you reconsider your decision, fully comply with your obligations under the Regulation, and disclose the requested documents accordingly.

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

Yours faithfully,
Bram Vranken

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, European Defence Agency

Dear Sir,

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your email dated 28 April 2021 wherein you submit a confirmatory application.

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, applicable to EDA in accordance with Article 30 of Council Decision 2015/1835 of 12 October 2015, your application will be handled within 15 working days. The time limit will expire on 19 May 2021. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due course.

Yours sincerely,

EDA Access to Documents

[EDA request email]
Rue des Drapiers 17-23
1050 Brussels
Belgium
www.eda.europa.eu

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ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, European Defence Agency

1 Attachment

Dear Sir,

Please find attached the Chief Executive's decision regarding the confirmatory application you filed by email on 28 April 2021.

With best regards,

EDA Access to Documents

[EDA request email]
Rue des Drapiers 17-23
1050 Brussels
Belgium
www.eda.europa.eu

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Bram Vranken please sign in and let everyone know.