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

Dear Communications Networks, Content and Technology,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents, note meetings which contain the following information:

For the period between November 2014 and March 2019:

- List of lobby meetings held with Communications Networks, Content and Technology with Amazon or its intermediaries. The list should include: date, individuals attending + organisational affiliation, the issues discussed,
- Minutes and other reports of these meetings
- All correspondence including attachements (i.e. any emails, correspondence or telephone call notes) between DG Grow (including the Commissioner and the Cabinet) and Amazon or any intermediaries representing its interests.
- All documents prepared for the meetings and exchanged in the course of the meetings between both parties.

Yours faithfully,

Laura Kayali
POLITICO
Rue de la Loi 62, 1040 Bruxelles, Belgium

Communications Networks, Content and Technology

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

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

Communications Networks, Content and Technology

1 Attachment

Dear Laura Kayali,
Thank you for your e-mail dated 7 March 2019. We hereby acknowledge
receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered
on 08/03/2019 under reference number GestDem 2019/1317.
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
29/03/2019. 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 via that website, and not the European Commission.
For further information on your rights, please refer to the third party’s
privacy policy. We understand that the third party running that website
usually publishes the content of applicants’ correspondence with the
European Commission on that website. This includes the personal data that
you may have communicated to the European 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 your
correspondence with the European Commission to be published on the
AsktheEU.org website, you can provide us with an 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.
 
Best regards,
 
Gitte Louise Olsen
Access to documents team
 
European Commission
Secretariat-General
Unit C1 – Transparency, Document Management &
Access to Documents
Office address CHAR 03/021
+32 2 295 63 26
[1][email address]
 
 
 

show quoted sections

Thank you!
Yours faithfully,
Laura Kayali

ve_cnect.public_access_to_documents (CNECT), Communications Networks, Content and Technology

1 Attachment

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
Link: [3]themeData
Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

[5]Ares(2019)2214909 - Your application for access to documents - Ref
GestDem 2019/1317

Sent by ve_cnect.public_access_to_documents (CNECT)
<[email address]>. All responses have to be
sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_cnect.public_access_to_documents (CNECT)
<[email address]>. Toutes les réponses
doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Ms. Kayali,

We refer to your access to documents request dated 07/03/19 and registered
on 08/03/19 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 29/03/2019.

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 24/04/2019.

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

Yours faithfully,

 

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM
European Commission
DG CONNECT
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D4E573.2D021D20
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/ext/doc...

ve_cnect.public_access_to_documents (CNECT), Communications Networks, Content and Technology

1 Attachment

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
Link: [3]themeData
Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

[5]Ares(2019)2780618 - Your application for access to documents - Ref
GestDem 2019/1317

Sent by ve_cnect.public_access_to_documents (CNECT)
<[email address]>. All responses have to be
sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_cnect.public_access_to_documents (CNECT)
<[email address]>. Toutes les réponses
doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Ms.Kayali,

 

We refer to your application dated 07/03/2019 in which you make a request
for access to documents, registered on 08/03/2019 under the above
mentioned reference number.   

Unfortunately, we are not able to send the reply to your application
within the given time limit, which expires on 24/04/2019.

 

You will receive the answer to your application as soon as possible.

 

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

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Access to Documents Team

[6]cid:image003.jpg@01D3B554.6BC06E90
European Commission
DG Connect – ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS

BU25 – Avenue de Beaulieu 25

B-1160 Brussels/Belgium

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D4FABC.C77CD670
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/ext/doc...

ve_cnect.public_access_to_documents(CNECT), Communications Networks, Content and Technology

14 Attachments

*** Advanced copy by e-mail and registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt ***

Dear Ms Kayali,

Please find attached document Ares(2019)3109197 regarding "GestDem 2019/1317" sent by Mr Roberto Viola, General Director of DG CONNECT on 10/05/2019.

Best regards,

European Commission
DG CONNECT — ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS
Avenue de Beaulieu, 25
B-1160 Brussels/Belgium

Dear Communications Networks, Content and Technology,

Please pass this on to the person who reviews confirmatory applications.

Thank you for getting back to me and for the documents your DG has provided. Unfortunately, I am making a confirmatory application requesting the Commission to review its positions.

I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to my access to documents request 'Meetings with Amazon'.

A full history of my request and all correspondence is available here: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/meet...

By the means of this confirmatory application I would like to contest DG Connect’s unilateral decision, and the subsequent refusal of a series of documents that were placed outside of the scope of my initial request. I would also like to contest DG Connect’s application of the exception in Article 4 (3) of Regulation 1049/2001, protection of the decision-making process.

1 - On the unilateral decision and the SG fair solution: In my April 2 email to the Secretariat General (hereinafter, ‘the SG’), I explained why I did not think the “fair solution” suggested by the Commission was indeed fair. That I have made several simultaneous requests and/the objective of my requests (which I am under no obligation to disclose) are not relevant to assess the relevance of the aforesaid requests, unless what the SG and your reply imply.

Article 6 (1) of Regulation 1049/2001 clearly states: “The applicant is not obliged to state reasons for the application”. Therefore, DG Connect’s unilateral decision to restrict the scope of my request based on the (in addition, false) allegation that I did not provide reasons for my application, is in breach of Regulation 1049/2001.

Furthermore, I would like to state that even if I am not obliged by the Regulation to state “the objective” of my requests, I did – contrary to DG Connect’s assertion – provide a justification in saying that my request was self-explanatory: I am interested in knowing about the interactions that have taken place between EU institutions and bodies and Amazon, as I believe this is in the public interest.

DG Connect’s insistence that I provide reasons for my request is in violation of Regulation 1049/2001.

It is also not true that I did not propose an alternative fair solution. In my response to the SG, I did reduce the scope of my initial requests: as expressed to the SG, I already agreed to “limit the intermediaries I am interested in to law firms and/or consultants directly representing Facebook in meetings.”

The following agreement was reached with the SG: That my requests would be handled separately and independently by each DG and that, in their individual handling of my request, DGs would contact me with the view of finding a fair solution (in line with Article 6 (3) of Regulation 1049/2001).

To this extent I would like to note that after having reached this agreement with the SG, DG Connect did not contact me at any point with the view of finding a fair solution. Instead, it has
unilaterally decided to reduce the scope of my request both in terms of chronology (from 2017 on) and of volume (only the meetings published in the transparency register).

On the one hand, this constitutes a violation of Article 6 (3) of Regulation 1049/2001. On the other hand, as I already explained to the SG, limiting the scope of my request to meetings already listed in the Transparency Register seriously hampers the purpose of my requests (to know about the interactions that have taken place between EU institutions and bodies and Facebook) given that – as it is public knowledge – many stakeholder interactions take place with middle and low-level Commission officials who are not covered by the Transparency Register.

I am therefore hereby calling on DG Connect to:

--> Rectify its unilateral solution by widening the scope of my request both chronologically - from 2014 to 2019 - and in terms of scope, in order to include meetings held with Amazon and intermediaries (per the restricted definition of “intermediaries” I have already provided) with middle and lower-level officials.

--> As an alternative fair solution in the context of the appeal, I would suggest to extend limit to avoid administrative burden in a short period of time. I would not mind waiting until September 2019 for my access to documents request to be completed.

2 - On DG Connect’s application of Article 4 (3) of Regulation 1049/2001 - protection of the decision-making process:

In its response of 10 May, DG Connect refuses partial or total access to a series of documents stating that disclosure would undermine the decision-making process. To this extent I would like to argue:

First, that the refusal of documents on the basis of the “Chatham House” rule is unlawful. The right of access to EU documents is a fundamental right enshrined in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Regulation 1049/2001 sets out the legal framework which regulates the exercise of such fundamental right, including a series of legitimate exceptions under which access to documents may be refused. Nowhere in the Regulation the “Chatham House rule” may be found as a legitimate exception for refusing access to documents containing sensitive information.

Furthermore, protection of interests of stakeholders on the basis of the Chatham House rule creates, de facto, parallel transparency obligations and confidentiality rights, granted in an ad-hoc manner at these stakeholders’ request. This is contrary to the spirit of EU law.

EU legal framework, which is common to all individuals and corporations, already very clearly sets the conditions under which EU interests may be protected. Agreeing to hold meetings with public officials (in which public decision-making is discussed) under the Chatham House rule, and also using this highly irregular practice to refuse access to documents, allowing certain stakeholders to circumvent our common legal framework, which does not seem acceptable.

EU institutions are obliged to consider disclosure of documents under the exceptions set in Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001, and not under ad-hoc, informal rules that lack any kind of legal basis under EU law.

Second, in regards to DG Connect’s argument that disclosure would “deter the services of the European Commission from putting forward their views without being unduly influenced by the prospect of the public exposure of such views”, it is worth noting that the Court of Justice has established that, for external pressure - or, in the present case, external influence - to constitute legitimate ground for refusing access to requested documents, the reality of such external influences must be established with certainty, and evidence must be provided to show that there is a foreseeable risk that the decision to be taken would be substantially affected due to this external influence.

To this extent, the arguments put forward by DG Connect lack of the certainty and evidence required by the cited case law; its response doesn’t even mention the decision-making process supposedly endangered by disclosure, or even if it’s legislative or not.

Third, I would like to state that there is indeed an overriding public interest in the disclosure of these documents, as mentioned above. Transparency in this case acts as a tool for public participation (i.e.: to be able to exercise one’s rights in a participatory democracy) and for public accountability (i.e.: to be able to exercise one’s rights in a representative democracy), two of the founding pillars of the European Union, as recognized in the EU treaties and by EU case law.

On document 8: If the meeting requested on 28/09/18 was indeed held, the minutes of that meetings does fall into the scope of my request, and I would like, in the context of the appeal, to ask for them.

On document 9 https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/6501... The Commission’s services have redacted sentences without any justification on the right side of the page.

On document 10 https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/6501... : Thhe paragraph under “Future DG CNECT policy development” is also redacted without any justification. It seems odd that a company would have access to such information during a lobby meeting but not the general public.

I would please like DG Connect to:

- rectify its assessment that a large number of documents under the scope of my application falls under Article (3) of Regulation 1049/2001;
- rectify its assessment that some parts can be redacted without any justification
- rectify any assertion that the “Chatham House” rule can constitute legitimate ground for the refusal of access to EU documents; and
- disclose all the requested documents. (See point 1)

3 - On the protection of privacy and integrity of the individual and the protection of commercial interests: I fully agree with your assessment that names and people need to be protected. I am not interested in the names of the Amazon employees or representatives who have made arguments on EU policy, I am interested in the company and the arguments themselves. Moreover, I also understand the need to protect the commercial interests of the companies.

Please note that by appealing and developing points 1- and 2-, I do not ask for names of people to be disclosed nor redacted parts meant to protect commercial interests to be disclosed.

4 - On the Facebook precedent: Last year, your services granted access to dozens of documents on Facebook (GestDem 2018/2284, https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/meet...). My request is very similar to that one, so I am a bit surprised about several arguments you bring forward.

First of all, that you unilaterally reduced the scope of my Amazon request when you didn’t do so for last year Facebook’s request (which was similar in terms of scope).

Second of all, you write that: “Moreover, some parts of these same documents also contain views expressed by Amazon on different EU policies. Disclosure of this information would undermine the trust enjoyed by the European Commission to hold free exchange of views with stakeholders concerning the work it carries out.” Leaving aside the fact that the private sector’s lobbying positions on EU policy with an impact on EU citizens and businesses should not be protected from public scrutiny by EU institutions, the European Commission did not put forward such arguments when documents about Facebook were requested (see here https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/5470...). I do not understand why there is a double standard.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any doubts or question in regards to this confirmatory application.

Thank you in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Laura Kayali

Communications Networks, Content and Technology

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

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

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Communications Networks, Content and Technology

1 Attachment

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
Link: [3]themeData
Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

[5]Ares(2019)4028655 - Your confirmatory application for access to
documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 - GESTDEM 2019/1317

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

Dear Ms Kayali,

 

I refer to your emails of 27 May 2019, registered on 3 June 2019, 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 (‘Regulation 1049/2001’).

 

Your confirmatory application is currently being handled. Unfortunately,
we have not yet been able to gather all the elements needed to carry out a
full analysis of your request and to take a final decision. Therefore, we
are not in a position to reply to your confirmatory request within the
prescribed time limit expiring on 25 June 2019.

 

Consequently, we have to extend this period by another 15 working days in
accordance with Article 8(2) of Regulation 1049/2001. The new deadline
expires on 16 July 2019.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

María OLIVÁN AVILÉS
Head of Unit

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

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit C1 (Transparency, Document Management & Access to Documents)

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D52B64.73B0ACA0
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/ext/doc...

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Communications Networks, Content and Technology

1 Attachment

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
Link: [3]themeData
Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

[5]Ares(2019)4598213 - Your application for access to documents under
Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 - GESTDEM 2019/1317

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

Dear Ms Kayali,

 

I refer to your email of 27 May 2019, registered on 3 June 2019, 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 (‘Regulation 1049/2001’).

I also refer to our holding reply of 25 June 2019, by which the time limit
for replying to your confirmatory application was extended by 15 working
days, pursuant to Article 8(2) of Regulation 1049/2001. This extended time
limit expires on 16 July 2019.

I regret to have to inform you that we will not be able to respond within
the extended time-limit, as we have not yet finalised internal
consultations. I can assure you that we are doing our utmost to provide
you with a final reply as soon as possible.

I regret this additional delay and sincerely apologise for any
inconvenience this may cause.

Yours sincerely,

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

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D53BE3.74813F20
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/ext/doc...

Communications Networks, Content and Technology

12 Attachments

Dear Madam,

 

Please find attached an advance information copy of the confirmatory
decision taken on your request for access to documents registered under
Gestdem number 2019/1317, adopted on 11/10/2019 in the above-mentioned
case.

 

Please note that the Secretariat General of the European Commission will
proceed with the formal notification of the decision in the coming days by
express delivery.

 

This advance copy is solely sent for your information and is not the
formal notification of the confirmatory.

 

Yours sincerely,

Access to documents team - RC
SG.C.1
Transparency

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