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Meetings between DG Trade and lobbyists

Nicola Freeman made this access to documents request to Trade

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From: Nicola Freeman

Delivered

Dear DG Trade,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, we are requesting the following documents:

- a list of meetings of Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade) officials/representatives (excluding the European Commissioner, her Cabinet and the director-General) and interest representatives (including companies, consultancies and law firms, trade/business/professional associations, think tanks and NGOs) between December 1st 2014 and today.

We would like the list to include the following information: the date of the meeting, which companies/organisations were present at the meeting, names of the lobbyist(s) that were present, the sector they represented (business, NGOs, academia, think tanks), the name and job title of the European Commission officials that were present (e.g. head of unit, etc.), and also the issues discussed, if possible in sufficient detail so as to identify the dossiers or policy initiatives covered.

We are requesting a list in order to avoid submitting a much broader request for minutes and other reports of meetings with interest representatives, which could require a large amount of effort from the Commission's side. One of the ALTER-EU member organisations received a similar list of such meetings from DG Trade in the summer of 2013.[1] There is clearly a high public interest in transparency over the Commission's interactions with outside interest groups.

Thank you in advance.

Yours sincerely,

Nicola Freeman, on behalf of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU)
Nina Katzemich, LobbyControl

Postal address:
Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU)
Mundo B, Rue d'Edimbourg 26, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium

Note:

1: List of meetings with lobbyists (on the TTIP negotiations) released to Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), July 18 2013: http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/473/r...

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Trade

We are out of office on Monday 20/07 and the EC will be closed on 21/07.
We will reply you on  22/07. ATD team

 

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Trade

Dear Sir,

We refer to your e-mail dated 20/07/2015 in which you made a request for access to documents.
The description given in your application does not enable us to identify concrete documents which would correspond to your request.
We therefore invite you, pursuant to Article 6(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents, to provide us with more detailed information on the documents you seek to obtain, such as
-topic discussed during the meetings
- name of companies
- if you are not in possession of the previous, specific references under which the documents would have been produced, persons or bodies who drafted the documents.

No list of documents exist registering meetings that took place before 2015. We would be glad to produce a list for your information, under the code of good administrative behaviour. We would, however, need to know what topic was discussed during the meetings you are interested in.
The 15 working days time limit for handling your application will start running when we receive the requested clarifications.
Thank you in advance for your understanding.
Yours faithfully,
DG TRADE

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From: Nicola Freeman

Delivered

Dear DG Trade,

thank you for your answer.

In order to facilitate access, I will reduce the scope of my request to only include meetings with Commission officials employed at grades AD 9 - AD 16 (including Deputy Directors-General, Principal Advisers, Directors, Heads of Unit and Deputy Heads of Unit, excluding translators and interpreters).

I would still like to have a list of all the meetings between interest representatives and the officials described above since 1 December 2014, regardless of the topic area or legislative file covered, that contains the following information: which companies/organisations were present at the meeting, names of the lobbyist(s) that were present, the sector they represented (business, NGOs, academia, think tanks), the name and job title of the European Commission officials that were present (e.g. head of unit, etc.), the issues discussed, if possible in sufficient detail so as to identify the dossiers or policy initiatives covered.

The reason I ask this is because the European Commission already does this as part of "Commission Decision C(2014) 9048 on the publication of information on meetings held between Directors-General of the Commission and organisations or self-employed individuals", whereby the Commission now publishes lists including all meetings regardless of the topic area or legislative file. I therefore am asking in the spirit of this decision for a list of meetings with officials grade AD 9 - AD 16.

Yours faithfully,

Nicola Freeman

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Trade

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your application for access to documents, which was registered on 10/08/2015 under reference number GestDem 2015/4318.

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 31/08/2015. 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 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.

Yours faithfully,
DG TRADE

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From: Nicola Freeman

Delivered

Dear Trade,

I have yet to receive a reply to my access to documents request GestDem 2015/4318.

Yours faithfully,

Nicola Freeman

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Trade

Dear Mr Freeman,
We apologize for the delay. Your request is being handled and we hope to be able to send it to you by next week. We will keep you informed.
Thank you for your understanding.

Regards,
DG TRADE

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From: Nicola Freeman

Delivered

Dear Trade,

I have yet to receive a reply to my request GestDem 2015/4318. I was expecting a reply last week, but have yet to receive one.

Yours faithfully,

Nicola Freeman

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Trade


Attachment atd 4318 reply.PDF.pdf
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Dear Ms Freeman,
Please find enclosed the reply to your request for access to documents 2015/4318.
Original copy will follow by post.

Regards,
DG TRADE

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From: Nicola Freeman

Delivered

Dear Trade,

This is a confirmatory application to challenge the response to my request (GestDem 2015/4318) received on 28 September 2015 by email, on a list of meetings since 1 December 2014 between organisations/self-employed individuals and DG TRADE officials employed at grades AD 9 - AD 16 (including Deputy Directors-General, Principal Advisers, Directors, Heads of Unit and Deputy Heads of Unit, excluding translators and interpreters).

I would like to appeal your decision that DG TRADE does not hold a document or documents containing this information.

Public access to the document(s) requested should be made possible following the provisions within the EU Treaties and particularly Article 15 of TFEU stating that “EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies shall conduct their work as openly as possible”, in order to promote good governance and ensure participation of civil society.

This is further developed by Regulation 1049/2001 in order to “bring about greater openness in the work of the institutions” as well as “promote good administrative practice on access to documents.”

To the extent therefore, that a narrow interpretation of the request does not uncover a specific document containing the
information requested, the institution should apply a wider interpretation in order to find out if the information is available through disclosure of multiple documents, in order to satisfy its obligations to conduct its work as openly as possible. This appears not to have been done by DG TRADE.

It is noted also as part of this confirmatory application, that a request for the same information was sent to DG FISMA, which has disclosed a document containing a list of meetings, available here:
http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/meeti...
It therefore appears unlikely that DG TRADE would not be able to process the same request and provide access to a document or documents containing the information requested, in particular as the request has a narrower scope than the one sent to DG FISMA.

As stated in our original request, we deliberately asked for a list of meetings in order to avoid submitting a much broader request for minutes and other reports of meetings with interest representatives, which could require a large amount of effort from the Commission's side. In our view there is clearly a high public interest in transparency over the Commission's interactions with outside interest groups.

DG TRADE should reverse its decision, and the Directorate General should look into providing the information requested, if not contained in one document, then by whatever means possible in order to ensure the widest possible access.

I look forward to your decision following this confirmatory application.

Nicola Freeman

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Trade

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email dated 30/09/2015.

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access to documents, which was registered on 30/09/2015 under reference number GestDem 2015/4318 – Ares(2015)4031689.

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 21/10/2015. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due course.

Yours faithfully,

Carlos Remis
SG.B.4
Transparence
Berl. 05/332

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From: Nicola Freeman

Delivered

Dear DG Trade,

Further to our confirmatory application of 30th September I would like to add that several NGOs have received similar lists from DG Trade in the past, for instance CEO in 2013:
http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/473/r...
as part of this request: http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/dg_tr...

Yours faithfully,

Nicola Freeman

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Trade


Attachment image001.gif
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Attachment freeman 2015 4318 hr.pdf
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Dear Ms.  FREEMAN,

 

Please find attached a letter concerning your confirmatory application for
access to documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 - GESTDEM
No 2015/4318, 4342and 5067

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

TEAM ACCESS DOCUMENTS
[1]cid:image001.gif@01D10B5D.0CD08030
European Commission
Secretariat General

Unit B4 - Transparency

 

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Trade


Attachment image001.gif
3K Download

Attachment freeman 2015 4318 4342 5067 signed.pdf
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Dear Ms.  FREEMAN,

 

Please find attached a letter concerning your confirmatory application for
access to documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 - GESTDEM
No 2015/4318, 4342and 5067

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

TEAM ACCESS DOCUMENTS
[1]cid:image001.gif@01D10B5D.0CD08030
European Commission
Secretariat General

Unit B4 - Transparency

 

References

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