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Request for access to (draft) studies supporting the impact assessment for the REACH revision

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ClientEarth
60 Rue du Trône (3ème étage),
Box 11 Ixelles, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgique

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,

In accordance with Articles 2 and 6(1) of Regulation 1049/2001, Article 3 of Regulation 1367/2006, and Article 42 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights ClientEarth AISBL submits a request for access to documents, which were prepared in the context of the legislative initiative regarding REACH (This initiative is mentioned and described at: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemica...).

We hereby request access to all reports whether in draft form or finalised of the studies conducted by contractors or the JRC in relation to the REACH revision, including but not limited to the studies listed in the link:
https://ec.europa.eu/environment/pdf/che...

In this context, we expressly request access to the (draft) study to support the impact assessment for potential amendments of the REACH Regulation to extend the use of the generic risk management approach to further hazard classes and uses, and to reform REACH authorisation and restriction (done by VVA) .

Further, we mention that we do not request access to the following documents, to which we already have access:

- Support the integration of REACH aspects into customs legislation and procedures, available at https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2873/624540;

- Scientific and technical support for the development of criteria to identify and group polymers for registration/evaluation under REACH and their impact assessment – final report, available at https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2779/890644;

- Gather Further Information to be Used in Support of an Impact Assessment of Potential Options, for the Update of REACH Annexes for Inclusion of Data Requirements on Endocrine Disruption – Final Report, available at https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2779/90611;

- Study on the establishment of a European audit capacity to ensure compliance and effective national control and enforcement of the REACH regulation and on the extension of that capacity and of those standards to CLP, POPs and PIC Regulations – Final Report, available at https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2779/951.

We urge you to take due account of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 4 September 2018 in Case C-57/16 P (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...) , in which the Court held that documents drawn up in the context of an impact assessment procedure for a legislative proposal constitute legislative documents that should be made directly accessible to the public pursuant to Article 12(2) of Regulation No 1049/2001 and that access should not be denied on request (see paragraphs 84-95).

We note that the Commission’s Better Regulation Guidelines state that “[t]he purpose of evaluations, namely to promote inputs to decision-making, organisational learning, accountability/transparency and efficient resource allocation, can only be achieved if the resultant information reaches all interested parties.” (Tool #50 on Disseminating the evaluation findings). It is in the spirit of these objectives that we make this request to the Commission.

Finally, we request that the document/information falling within the scope of this request to be made publicly available on the Commission’s documents register, in accordance with Articles 11 and 12 of Regulation 1049/2001 and Article 4 of Regulation 1367/2001.

Sincerely,
Julian Schenten

Senior Law and Policy Advisor

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Secretariat General of the European Commission

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/...

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your request for access to documents
sent on 27/06/2023 and registered on 27/06/2023 under the case number
2023/3653.

We will handle your request within 15 working days as of the date of
registration. The time-limit expires on 18/07/2023. We will let you know
if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working days.

To find more information on how we process your personal data, please see
[1]the privacy statement.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

References

Visible links
1. https://ec.europa.eu/info/principles-and...

GROW-ACCES-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu,

Dear applicant,

We are writing concerning your request for access to Commission documents
registered on 27 June 2023 under case number 2023/3654.

We are currently working on your request. However, we have not yet been
able to gather all the elements necessary to carry out a full analysis of
your request. We will not be able to send you the reply within the
prescribed time limit expiring on 18/07/2023, as the application concerns
documents held by different Services, which must be consulted.

Therefore, in line with Article 7(3) of [1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001,
we need to extend this time limit by 15 additional working days. The new
time limit expires on 09/08/2023.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Kind regards,

European Commission

DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

REACH

References

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

JRC-ACCESS-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu,

4 Attachments

Good afternoon,

Please find attached a message concerning your request for access to
Commission documents registered under the above case number 2023/3655.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message by return email.

Kind regards,

JRC Access to Documents team

Dear Secretariat General of the European Commission,
On 27 June 2023, the Commission acknowledged receipt of my Request for access to (draft) studies supporting the impact assessment for the REACH revision and informed me that the 15 working days time limit for responding would expire on 18 July 2023. The Commission sent a second communication on 12 July 2023 informing me that the deadline was extended by a further 15 working days to 9 August 2023, because “the application concerns documents held by different Services, which must be consulted”.
As of today, I still haven't received any information from DG ENV and DG GROW. I expect to receive the requested information by 31 August 2023 at the latest.
Yours faithfully,
Julian Schenten

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Secretariat General of the European Commission

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/...

Confirmatory Application in respect of the Commission’s implied refusal to theaccess to documents request EASE 2023/3653 (DG ENV)

Dear Sir/Madam,

In accordance with Article 7(4) of Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, ClientEarth AISBL (the “Applicant”) hereby submits this confirmatory application in respect of the Commission’s implied refusal of the request for access to documents originally registered under case number 2023/3653 (the “Request”) submitted on 27 June 2023 through www.AsktheEU.org platform. By letter of 25 July 2023, the Commission informed the Applicant that “due to the wide scope of [the] request, covering also areas falling under the responsibility of other Directorates-General, parts of [the] request have been attributed to other Directorates-General”, respectively under case numbers EASE 2023/3653 (DG ENV), EASE 2023/3654 (DG GROW) and EASE 2023/3655 (JRC.F.3).

On 27 June 2023, the Commission acknowledged receipt of the Request and informed the Applicant that the 15 working days time limit for responding would expire on 18 July 2023. The Commission sent a second communication on 12 July 2023 informing the Applicants that the deadline was extended by a further 15 working days to 9 August 2023, because “the application concerns documents held by different Services, which must be consulted”.

On 25 July 2023, the Commission – Joint Research Center provided their initial response falling under EASE 2023/3655, and disclosed two of the requested documents, noting that “with regard to document 2, a complete disclosure is prevented by the exception concerning the protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual outlined in Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001”.” The Applicant does not wish to challenge this decision.

On 29 August 2023, DG Grow of the Commission provided their initial response falling under EASE 2023/3654 and partially disclosed three of the requested documents. The partial disclosure is based on the application of Article 4(3) first subparagraph and Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation 1049/2001. The deadline for challenging this decision is 19 August 2023 and we reserve the right to submit a confirmatory application.

Given that the Commission still has not provided a response to the Request insofar as it relates to the other requested documents attributed by the Commission to DG ENV under case numbers EASE 2023/3653the Applicant is thus entitled to make a confirmatory application in accordance with Article 7(4) of Regulation 1049/2001 to the implied negative refusal from DG ENV.In the event that the Commission provides us with its initial decision to the Request while the confirmatory decision connected to the present confirmatory application is pending, the Applicant requests that, in the interests of sound administration and access to justice, we are permitted by the Commission’s Secretariat- General to amend the confirmatory application as necessary, taking into account the express initial decision.

We look forward to receiving your response.

Yours sincerely,

Julian Schenten

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your confirmatory request for case
2023/3653, sent on 31/08/2023 and registered on 01/09/2023.

We will handle your confirmatory request within 15 working days as of the
date of registration. The time-limit expires on 22/09/2023. We will let
you know if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working
days.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your confirmatory request for case
2023/3653, sent on 31/08/2023 and registered on 01/09/2023.

We will handle your confirmatory request within 15 working days as of the
date of registration. The time-limit expires on 22/09/2023. We will let
you know if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working
days.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

Dear Sir/Madam,

Confirmatory application in respect of the Commission’s partial refusal to provide access to the documents requested through request EASE no. 2023/3654.

In conformity with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, ClientEarth AISBL (the “Applicant”) hereby submits a confirmatory application regarding the Commission’s decision of 29 August 2023 (the “Decision”) responding to the request for access to documents EASE no. 2023/3654 (the “Request”). With this confirmatory application the Applicant requests that the Commission reconsiders its Initial Decision refusing full access to the following documents prepared in the context of the legislative initiative regarding REACH:
- Study to support the impact assessment for potential amendments of the REACH Regulation to extend the use of the Generic Risk Management Approach to further hazard classes and uses, and to reform REACH authorization and restriction – Final report;
- Study to support the impact assessment for potential amendments of the REACH Regulation to extend the use of the Generic Risk Management Approach to further hazard classes and uses, and to reform REACH authorization and restriction – Annexes;
- Study to support the impact assessment for potential amendments of the REACH Regulation to extend the use of the Generic Risk Management Approach to further hazard classes and uses, and to reform REACH authorization and restriction – Executive summary.

Background of the Request:
In the Request, which was submitted on 27 June 2023 through the AsktheEU.org platform, the Applicant requested access to the documents prepared in the context of the legislative initiative regarding REACH, specifically to all reports whether in draft form or finalized of the studies conducted by contractors or the JRC in relation to the REACH revision (hereinafter referred to as the “Requested Documents”).

On 27 June 2023, the Commission confirmed the registration of the Request and established the initial deadline to respond on 18 July 2023. On 12 July 2023, the Commission informed the Applicant that the deadline was extended by a further 15 working days to 9 August 2023, because “the application concerns documents held by different Services, which must be consulted”. By letter of 25 July 2023, the Commission informed the Applicant that “due to the wide scope of [the] request, covering also areas falling under the responsibility of other Directorates-General, parts of [the] request have been attributed to other Directorates-General”, respectively under case numbers EASE 2023/3653 (DG ENV), EASE 2023/3654 (DG GROW) and EASE 2023/3655 (JRC.F.3).

On 25 July 2023, the Commission – Joint Research Center provided their initial response falling under EASE 2023/3655, and disclosed two of the requested documents, apart from the redaction of personal data. The Applicant did not file a confirmatory application for the partial disclosure of these documents.

On 24 August 2023, as there was no response from the other Directorates-General identified in the request (DG ENV and DG GROW), the Applicant submitted a reminder to the Commission and requested to receive the Requested Documents by 31 August 2023 at the latest.

On 29 August 2023, DG GROW of the Commission provided their initial response falling under EASE 2023/3654 and partially disclosed three documents that fall within the scope of the request. The partial disclosure is based on the application of Article 4(3) first subparagraph and Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation 1049/2001.

On 31 August 2023, the Applicant filed a confirmatory application of the Commission’s implied refusal to provide the documents requested under request EASE 2023/3653 (within the remit of DG ENV).
The present confirmatory application relates to the partial disclosure of the Requested Documents falling under request EASE 2023/3654 and is submitted within the time-limit of 15 working days expiring on 19 September 2023.

The Decision provided by the Commission:
The Decision was submitted on 29 August 2023 and it allowed partial access to three documents identified under the responsibility of DG GROW that fall within the scope of the request (References Ares(2023)2240714, Ares(2023)2574485 and Ares(2023)2240714).
In relation to these three documents, the Decision states that the disclosure of the redacted parts of the documents is protected by the exceptions provided under Article 4(1)(b) and Article 4(3) of Regulation 1049/2001.

In relation to the first exception, the Decision notes that “a complete disclosure of these documents is prevented by the exception concerning the protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual outlined in Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, because they contain the following personal data: the names/initials and contact information of staff members not pertaining to the senior management.” The Applicant does not wish to challenge this decision.

In relation to the second exception, the Decision states that the disclosure of the redacted parts of the documents would seriously undermine the Commission’s decision-making process and is therefore protected by the exception provided under Article 4(3) first indent of Regulation 1049/2001.

According to the Decision, the redacted parts of the three documents contain information related to:
“- the analysis of impacts of the policy options considered, and the related methodology;
- the comparison of impacts across the policy options considered;
- monitoring indicators;
- the conclusions drawn from such analysis.”

The reasoning submitted by the Commission to justify the non-disclosure of the redacted parts of the three documents is that “these documents relate to a decision that has not yet been taken by the Commission", referring to the decision on the legislative proposal to be put forward by the Commission in relation to the REACH revision, which the College of Commissioners are expected to take in the future, as indicated in the 2023 Commission Work Programme. The Commission further notes that "an individual assessment of the requested documents was made and it was established that there is a risk that the Commission’s decision-making process would be seriously undermined, if the redacted parts were disclosed. Such a risk is due to the following factors: the precise stage of the decision-making process in question at the time of this request; the specific context in which that process takes place; and the issues still to be discussed internally.”
Moreover, the Commission continues stating that “[i]n particular, the internal discussion on policy options, which have been analysed in the requested documents that support the ongoing decision-making process, is still not finalised. If released now, the content of the redacted parts could give rise to unnecessary misunderstandings.”

In the overall justification, the Commission is also relying on the CJEU case C-57/16 ClientEarth v Commission. This is particularly remarkable as in that case, the Court actually ruled contrary to the conclusions of the Commission in the Decision. The Court concluded that documents drawn up in the context of an impact assessment for a possible legislative proposal represent legislative documents. In this context, the Commission is obliged to make them directly accessible to the public pursuant to Article 12(2) of Regulation No 1049/2001 and that access should not be denied when such are requested. Against this background, denying access to the Requested Documents stands in clear conflict with this judgment and, as a result, the Commission has misapplied the exception, as will be shown in the following.

The Applicant considers that, despite the references in the Decision to an individual assessment having been made on the necessity to protect the redacted parts of the three documents, the Decision is actually not based on a specific and individual examination for each document and fails to identify a serious risk of undermining the ongoing decision-making process to the applicable legal standard.

The Applicant hereby requests a reconsideration of the Decision for the reasons below.

1. Preliminary remarks on the nature of the Requested Documents

a. The Requested Documents are legislative documents
The Applicant points out that the Requested Documents represent legislative documents in the sense of Article 12 of Regulation 1049/2001: “2. In particular, legislative documents, that is to say, documents drawn up or received in the course of procedures for the adoption of acts which are legally binding in or for the Member States, should, subject to Articles 4 and 9, be made directly accessible”. These benefit from a higher level of transparency, and they should be made directly available to the wider public through the documents register of the Commission.

This has also been confirmed by the CJEU in its judgment on case C-57/16 ClientEarth v Commission, in which the Court held that documents drawn up in the context of an impact assessment procedure for a legislative proposal constitute legislative documents that should be made directly accessible to the public pursuant to Article 12(2) of Regulation No 1049/2001 and that access should not be denied on request (see paragraphs 84-95). The Decision confirms the legislative quality of the Requested Documents. Specifically, the Decision notes that the three documents, comprising a study supporting the Commission’s impact assessment in the context of the REACH revision, contain an analysis of the impacts of the various policy options under consideration, a comparison of those options as well as the conclusions drawn from such analysis, and that the Commission considers a legislative proposal as the likely outcome of the decision-making process. Moreover, the fact that the Commission entrusted the studies to an external service provider does not change the fact that the studies were drawn up and received in the course of a decision-making process that may lead to the adoption of EU legislation. This is supported by the wording of Article 12 (2) of Regulation No 1049/2001, which refers to "documents drawn up or received in the course of procedures (…)", expressly including documents not prepared by the EU institutions themselves. On this point, it is possible to draw an analogy with the CJEU's reasoning in its judgment on case C-612/13 ClientEarth v Commission, in which the Court held that contracting out conformity-checking studies to an external service provider, rather than being performed by its own staff, is one of the means available to the Commission to fulfil its duty under Article 17(1) TEU and so the contested studies formed part of the Commission’s investigation (see paragraphs 60-65).

It is therefore clear that the Requested Documents are part of the procedure for the adoption of an act that will be legally binding in and for the Member States.

b. The Requested Documents contain environmental information
The Requested Documents also contain environmental information within the meaning of Article 2(1)(d) of Regulation 1367/2006. Essentially, the Requested Documents outline various policy options that the Commission has identified in the context of the REACH revision. Specifically, the Decision mentions that the redacted parts contain the “analysis of impacts of the policy options considered, and the related methodology, the comparison of impacts across the policy options considered, monitoring indicators, and the conclusions drawn from such analysis.”

These are policy options to implement the European Commission’s commitment “to deliver on the ambitious objectives set under the European Green Deal, which aims to transform the EU into a fair, clean and climate neutral, resource-efficient and competitive economy”, as the Decision itself mentions.
Since one of the central objectives of the REACH revision is the implementation of the Green Deal in general and the Chemical Strategy in particular and, thus, environmental protection, the information included in the Requested Documents falls within several categories of the definition the “environmental information” laid down in Article 2(1)(d) of Regulation 1367/2006, as they contain information on:
(i) measures, such as policies and legislation, affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors of the environment, as well as measures designed to protect these elements. The elements of the environment are defined in Article 2(1)(d)(i) of Regulation 1367/2006 and include air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms, as well as the interaction among them. The factors of the environment are defined in Article 2(1)(d)(ii) and include substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, including emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment, affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment;
(ii) cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to in point (i) above;
(iii) the state of human health and safety, including conditions of human life in as much as they are or may be affected by any of the matters referred to in points (i).

The Requested Documents are in this sense also comparable to those at stake in case C-57/16 mentioned above, which concerned access to the (draft) impact assessment reports and associated opinions pertaining to the potential adoption of EU legislation meant to protect the environment (para. 10). The Court held that these documents contain environmental information (para. 101).
As will be shown below, the status of the Requested Documents as legislative documents containing environmental information is of significance when applying the exception from disclosure provided by Article 4(3) first indent of Regulation 1049/2001.

2. Scope of the present Confirmatory Application
By way of the present Confirmatory Application, the Applicant requests the Commission to reconsider its Decision. Specifically, the Applicant requests the Commission to grant full access to the three Requested Documents – as the Commission has misapplied the exception provided in Article 4(3) first indent of Regulation 1049/2001 to protect the redacted parts of the Requested Documents.
In the alternative, the Applicant considers that the Commission has failed to recognise an overriding public interest in disclosure of the Requested Documents and requests the Commission the above mentioned on that basis.

a. Misapplication of the exception in Article 4(3) first indent of Regulation 1049/2001
According to the Decision, the redacted parts of the documents are protected from disclosure since they relate to a decision on a legislative proposal in relation to the REACH revision that has not yet been taken by the Commission: “in particular, the internal discussion on policy options, which have been analysed in the requested documents that support the ongoing decision-making process, is still not finalized. If released now, the content of the redacted parts could give rise to unnecessary misunderstandings”. The Commission further notes that an individual assessment of the requested documents was made, and it was established that there is a risk that the disclosure of the redacted parts would seriously undermine the decision-making process. In this context, the Commission is applying the exception laid down in the first subparagraph of Article 4(3) first indent of Regulation 1049/2001.

At the outset, the Applicant recalls that the CJEU in case C-57/16 ClientEarth v Commission already rejected similar argumentation aimed at protecting from disclosure the same type of documents as the Requested Documents. In para. 92 of that case, the Court held that: “such a disclosure, at a time when the Commission’s decision-making process is still ongoing, enables citizens to understand the options envisaged and the choices made by that institution and, thus, to be aware of the considerations underlying the legislative action of the European Union. In addition, that disclosure puts those citizens in a position effectively to make their views known regarding those choices before those choices have been definitively adopted, so far as both the Commission’s decision to submit a legislative proposal and the content of that proposal, on which the legislative action of the European Union depends, are concerned.”
The Applicant submits that the general, vague and opaque justification provided by the Commission in the Decision cannot support the application of the exception from disclosure provided under Article 4(3) first indent of Regulation 1049/2001 as it falls far short of the legal test established by the case law of the Court of Justice, Article 296 TFEU and Article 4(3) of Regulation 1049/2001 itself (see, for example, the Court’s judgment in case T-51/15 PAN Europe v Commission, in which the General Court found the Commission’s reasons, which were similar, although slightly more detailed than those put forward in the Decision, to be vague, general and imprecise and thus insufficient to substantiate any risk to the decision-making process at issue in that case (see paras 32 – 35)).

It is the settled case law of the Court of Justice that the exceptions in Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001 "must be interpreted and applied strictly" because they "depart from the principle of the widest possible public access to documents." (See inter alia, Case C‑64/05 P Sweden v Commission, para. 66, C‑506/08 P Sweden v MyTravel and Commission, para. 75 and C-60/15 P Saint-Gobain Glass v Commission, para. 63). Thus, “[t]he mere fact that a document concerns an interest protected by an exception is not of itself sufficient to justify application of that exception” (Case T-51/15 PAN Europe v Commission, para. 22.). According to the Court, “if an EU institution hearing a request for access to a document decides to refuse to grant that request on the basis of one of the exceptions laid down in Article 4 of Regulation No 1049/2001, it must, in principle, explain how access to that document could specifically and actually undermine the interest protected by that exception. Moreover, the risk of the interest being so undermined must be reasonably foreseeable and must not be purely hypothetical” (Case C 280/11 P Council v Access Info Europe, paras 30 and 31 and the case-law cited).

In addition, in order to be covered by the exception in the first subparagraph of Article 4(3) first indent of Regulation No 1049/2001, the decision-making process must be seriously undermined. Analysing the wording of the Decision in light of this requirement, it is beyond doubt that the Commission gives insufficient reasons to justify redacting the Requested Documents based on Article 4(3) first indent of Regulation 1049/2001. No specific reason (let alone evidence of such) is provided in relation to what is the actual and specific risk that the decision-making process would be undermined by the full disclosure of the Requested Documents. In addition, no explanation is provided for how the disclosure of the redacted parts could give rise to misunderstandings, to whom these would arise, and which risks these would pose for the decision-making process. Moreover, the fact that the Commission disclosed the description of the various policy options in the three documents, not considering them at risk of seriously undermining the decision-making process, contradicts its decision to not disclose the related methodology and the monitoring indicators, considering they provide the evidence base for the policy options above but are strictly not part of the decision-making process thereof. Lastly, the Applicant notes that the Joint Research Centre in their response on 25 July 2023 disclosed two of the same category of documents as those provided by DG GROW and included links to two scientific and technical reports without invoking the exception of the protection of the decision-making process. Likewise, in the previous request for access to documents Ref GestDem No 2022/608, which similarly concerned "final reports of the studies conducted by contractors or the JRC in the run up to the REACH revision", the Directorate-General for Environment granted full access and provided a public link to four final studies. It did not disclose the remaining studies, namely draft final reports and reports that were in the process of being validated, solely on the ground that "any such documents do not fall within the scope of this confirmatory request" and not based on any exception to the disclosure. Any potential impacts of disclosure on the decision-making procedure identified by DG GROW in its Decision therefore remain purely hypothetical.

Moreover, given that the three documents are legislative documents containing environmental information, the exception in Article 4(3), first indent, must be subject to an even stricter interpretation (Case C-57/16 ClientEarth v Commission, para. 101); more generally as regards environmental information, see also C-60/15 P Saint-Gobain Glass v Commission, para. 78). Accordingly, the justification for non-disclosure provided by the Commission should have equally been more compelling. It was not.
The fact that the Decision contains no evidence of the Commission having considered whether the three documents contain environmental information amounts to a failure to state reasons under Article 296 TFEU. The Requested Documents clearly contain environmental information, as explained above. As such, the Commission should have justified how the exception from disclosure applies to the Requested Documents with an express consideration and explanation related to the fact that they contain environmental information. The above-mentioned Court of Justice judgement in Case C-57/16 illustrates that the Decision is in direct contravention of the legal standard applicable to requests pertaining to legislative documents containing environmental information. In this case, the Court made clear that transparency in EU decision-making processes contributes “to increasing those citizens’ confidence in those institutions" and recognised that the disclosure of information in good time is crucial to allow citizens to make their views known in an ongoing decision-making procedure (Case T-51/15 PAN Europe v Commission, para. 22).

The future proposal of the Commission in respect of the REACH revision will have a profound effect on people and the environment. Therefore, the process leading to its adoption by the Commission should be open to public scrutiny as required by the EU’s founding treaties. Citizens have a right to know the studies supporting the assessments which represent the evidence base of the future legislative proposal, which are contained in the Requested Documents. The Applicant further notes that the Commission’s Better Regulation Guidelines state that “[t]he purpose of evaluations, namely to promote inputs to decision-making, organisational learning, accountability/transparency and efficient resource allocation, can only be achieved if the resultant information reaches all interested parties.” (Tool #50 on Disseminating the evaluation findings).

To conclude this ground, the refusal provided in the Decision does not allow the Applicant to understand if the need for protection of the ongoing decision-making process related to the Requested Documents is genuine. This amounts to a breach of Article 296(2) TFEU and Article 41(2)(c) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

In addition, the Commission has clearly failed to demonstrate that disclosure would specifically and actually undermine the ongoing decision-making process and that this risk is reasonably foreseeable and not purely hypothetical. As a result, the Commission has misapplied Article 4(3), first indent of Regulation 1049/2001.

b. There is an overriding public interest in disclosure of the Requested Documents
Without prejudice to the foregoing, the Requested Documents should also be disclosed based on an overriding public interest in disclosure. The Decision states that there is no overriding public interest. On the contrary, as shown below, an overriding public interest in disclosure exists.
It follows from the case law of the European Court of Justice that the overriding public interest capable of justifying the disclosure of a document must not necessarily be distinct from the principles which underline Regulation 1049/2001 (Joined cases C-514/11 and C-605/11, LPN and Finland v Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2013:738, paragraph 92 ; Joined cases C-39/05 P and C-52/05 P, Sweden and Turco v Council, ECLI:EU:C:2008:374, paragraphs 74-75). The Court of Justice has confirmed the General Court’s approach in the case Sweden v API and Commission, according to which the invocation of the principle of transparency “may, in the light of the particular circumstances of the case, be so pressing that it overrides the need to protect the documents in question” (Joined cases C-514/07 P, Sweden and others v API and Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2010:541, paragraphs 152-153). In addition, the Court of Justice has also held that the specific circumstances justifying the disclosure of documents must be set out, and that purely general considerations are not an appropriate basis for establishing that an overriding public interest prevails (Joined cases C-514/11 and C-605/11, LPN and Finland v Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2013:738, paragraphs 93 and 94).

The Applicant submits that the specific circumstances of this case are such that the need for the public to have full access to the Requested Documents at the current moment is so pressing as to justify their disclosure.

As recalled in the Inception Impact Assessment on the revision of REACH: “The objectives of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability are to better protect citizens and the environment against hazardous chemicals and encourage innovation for the development of safe and sustainable alternatives. To this end the Strategy outlined a number of actions intended to increase the knowledge base and control of chemicals. Chemicals are everywhere in our daily lives. They are fundamental for our well-being and high living standard and are important building blocks of key technologies to address future challenges. […]” The REACH Regulation was last evaluated in 2018, which concluded that REACH is effective but that there are opportunities for further improvement, simplification and burden reduction. Following the evaluation, a number of non-legislative actions have been launched (some of them finalised, others still ongoing) to improve the implementation of REACH.

There is no doubt that this initiative is of public interest as it should reduce the risk that products and services put on the EU market "will increase the protection of human health by reducing the exposure to hazardous chemicals, for citizens in general, and for workers and self-employed, including via the environment" (according to the Inception Impact Assessment). This upcoming legislation will apply across sectors and therefore should have an effect on all businesses operating in the EU. As business activities impact people and the environment, the Applicant consider that the consequences of the choice of the legislative instrument are crucial for the objective of getting a more sustainable and less harmful economy and should therefore be examined at all stages of the decision-making process.
For the Applicant it is therefore extremely urgent to assess the content of the Requested Documents in order to participate in the Commission’s decision-making process in relation to the legislative proposal, to be able to scrutinize the ongoing decision-making process and assess whether the evidence base of all the appropriate options and their consequences are taken into account in the Commission’s development of this upcoming legislation, and to inform the wider public accordingly so that they can also make their voices heard.

In conclusion, the Applicant submits that there is an overriding public interest, which requires that the Requested Documents to be disclosed by the Commission also on this basis.

c. Active dissemination of the Requested Documents
Finally, we request that the Requested Documents be made publicly available on the Commission’s documents register, in accordance with Articles 11 and 12 of Regulation 1049/2001 and Article 4 of Regulation 1367/2001. We also take this opportunity to point out that the Commission could save valuable resources by actively disseminating all future documents that are similar to the Requested Documents, given that they constitute studies prepared in relation to legislative initiatives and fall squarely within the right of EU citizens to have access to information regarding the EU legislative process.
Thank you in advance for your continued cooperation on this request.

Sincerely,

Julian Schenten
Senior Law and Policy Advisor

ClientEarth AISBL
60 Rue du Trône, Box 11, Ixelles, 1050, Belgium

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Secretariat General of the European Commission

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
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Ihre Nachricht ist beim Referat „Transparenz“ des Generalsekretariats der
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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
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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/...

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your confirmatory request for case
2023/3654, sent on 19/09/2023 and registered on 19/09/2023.

We will handle your confirmatory request within 15 working days as of the
date of registration. The time-limit expires on 10/10/2023. We will let
you know if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working
days.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your confirmatory request for case
2023/3654, sent on 19/09/2023 and registered on 19/09/2023.

We will handle your confirmatory request within 15 working days as of the
date of registration. The time-limit expires on 10/10/2023. We will let
you know if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working
days.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Schenten,

Please find attached DG ENV reply to your request for access to Commission
documents registered under the above case number 2023/3653.

We would like to sincerely apologise for the delay in our reply.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message by return email.

Kind regards,

"Safe and Sustainable Chemicals" unit

DG - Environment

European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Schenten,

Please find attached DG ENV reply to your request for access to Commission
documents registered under the above case number 2023/3653.

We would like to sincerely apologise for the delay in our reply.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message by return email.

Kind regards,

"Safe and Sustainable Chemicals" unit

DG - Environment

European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Schenten,

Please find attached DG ENV reply to your request for access to Commission
documents registered under the above case number 2023/3653.

We would like to sincerely apologise for the delay in our reply.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message by return email.

Kind regards,

"Safe and Sustainable Chemicals" unit

DG - Environment

European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Schenten,

Please find attached DG ENV reply to your request for access to Commission
documents registered under the above case number 2023/3653.

We would like to sincerely apologise for the delay in our reply.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message by return email.

Kind regards,

"Safe and Sustainable Chemicals" unit

DG - Environment

European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Schenten,

Please find attached DG ENV reply to your request for access to Commission
documents registered under the above case number 2023/3653.

We would like to sincerely apologise for the delay in our reply.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message by return email.

Kind regards,

"Safe and Sustainable Chemicals" unit

DG - Environment

European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Schenten,

Please find attached DG ENV reply to your request for access to Commission
documents registered under the above case number 2023/3653.

We would like to sincerely apologise for the delay in our reply.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message by return email.

Kind regards,

"Safe and Sustainable Chemicals" unit

DG - Environment

European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Schenten,

Please find attached DG ENV reply to your request for access to Commission
documents registered under the above case number 2023/3653.

We would like to sincerely apologise for the delay in our reply.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message by return email.

Kind regards,

"Safe and Sustainable Chemicals" unit

DG - Environment

European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Schenten,

Please find attached DG ENV reply to your request for access to Commission
documents registered under the above case number 2023/3653.

We would like to sincerely apologise for the delay in our reply.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message by return email.

Kind regards,

"Safe and Sustainable Chemicals" unit

DG - Environment

European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Schenten,

Please find attached DG ENV reply to your request for access to Commission
documents registered under the above case number 2023/3653.

We would like to sincerely apologise for the delay in our reply.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message by return email.

Kind regards,

"Safe and Sustainable Chemicals" unit

DG - Environment

European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

1 Attachment

Dear applicant,

You can kindly find attached a correspondance related to your access to
documents request EASE 2023/3653.

Kind reagrds,

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear applicant,

We are writing concerning your confirmatory request for access to
Commission documents for case 2023/3654 registered on 19 September 2023.

We are currently working on your confirmatory request. However, we have
not yet been able to gather all the elements necessary to carry out a full
analysis of your request. Unfortunately, we will not be able to send you
the reply within the prescribed time limit expiring on 10 October 2023.

Therefore, in line with Article 8(2) of [1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 we
need to extend this time limit by 15 additional working days. The new time
limit expires on 31 October 2023.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Kind regards,

SG.C1 - Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents

References

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

Dear Sir/Madam,

Confirmatory application in respect of the Commission’s partial refusal to provide access to the documents requested through request EASE no. 2023/3653 (as registered by DG ENV).

In conformity with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, ClientEarth AISBL (the “Applicant”) hereby submits a confirmatory application regarding the Commission’s decision of 4 October 2023 (the “Decision”) responding to the request for access to documents EASE no. 2023/3653 (the “Request”). With this confirmatory application the Applicant requests that the Commission reconsiders its Decision refusing full access to the following documents prepared in the context of the legislative initiative regarding REACH:
- Support to the Commission’s proposal for introducing a Mixtures Assessment Factor in REACH – Final report;
- Support to the possible increased use of the concept of Derived Minimal Effect Level (DMEL) for non-threshold substances in REACH – Draft final report;
- Technical and scientific support to the Commission’s Impact Assessment for the revision of REACH – Report on study sub-projects;
- Support to the Possible Introduction of Additional Information Requirements on Uses and Exposure in REACH – Final report.

Background of the Request:
In the Request, which was submitted on 27 June 2023 through the AsktheEU.org platform, the Applicant requested access to the documents prepared in the context of the legislative initiative regarding REACH, specifically to all reports whether in draft form or finalized of the studies conducted by contractors or the JRC in relation to the REACH revision (hereinafter referred to as the “Requested Documents”).
On 27 June 2023, the Commission confirmed the registration of the Request and established the initial deadline to respond on 18 July 2023. On 12 July 2023, the Commission informed the Applicant that the deadline was extended by a further 15 working days to 9 August 2023, because “the application concerns documents held by different Services, which must be consulted”. By letter of 25 July 2023, the Commission informed the Applicant that “due to the wide scope of [the] request, covering also areas falling under the responsibility of other Directorates-General, parts of [the] request have been attributed to other Directorates-General”, respectively under case numbers EASE 2023/3653 (DG ENV), EASE 2023/3654 (DG GROW) and EASE 2023/3655 (JRC.F.3).

On 25 July 2023, the Commission – Joint Research Center provided their initial response falling under EASE 2023/3655, and disclosed two of the requested documents, apart from the redaction of personal data. The Applicant did not file a confirmatory application for the partial disclosure of these documents.

On 24 August 2023, as there was no response from the other Directorates-General identified in the request (DG ENV and DG GROW), the Applicant submitted a reminder to the Commission and stressed that the Applicant has still not received the initial response to the Request, despite the deadline having passed.

On 29 August 2023, DG GROW provided their initial response falling under EASE 2023/3654 and partially disclosed three documents that fall within the scope of the Request.

On 31 August 2023, the Applicant filed a confirmatory application of the Commission’s implied refusal to provide the documents requested under request EASE 2023/3653 (within the remit of DG ENV).

On 19 September 2023, the Applicant filed a confirmatory application of the partial disclosure by DG GROW of the documents requested under request EASE 2023/3654, challenging the Commission’s application of Article 4(3) first subparagraph of Regulation 1049/2001.

On 4 October 2023, DG ENV provided their initial response and partially disclosed four documents that fall within the scope of the request. The partial disclosure is based on the application of Article 4(1)(b) and Article 4(3) first subparagraph of Regulation 1049/2001.

The present confirmatory application relates to the partial disclosure of the Requested Documents falling under request EASE 2023/3653 and is submitted within the time-limit of 15 working days expiring on 25 October 2023.

The Decision provided by the Commission:
The Decision allowed partial access to four documents identified under the responsibility of DG ENV that fall within the scope of the Request (References Ares(2023)2016825, Ares(2023)1561923, Ares(2023)2399929, and Ares(2022)7535983).
The Decision states that the disclosure of the redacted parts of the four documents is protected by the exceptions provided under Regulation 1049/2001, namely Article 4(1)(b) – protecting personal data, and Article 4(3) first subparagraph – protecting the ongoing decision-making processes.
In relation to the first exception, which protects personal data, the Decision notes that “some parts of the four documents should be blanked out, as their disclosure is prevented by the exception concerning the protection of privacy and integrity of the individual outlined in Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, because they contain the following personal data: the names and contact information of staff members not pertaining to the senior management; the names and contact details of other natural persons; handwritten signatures/abbreviated signatures of natural persons.” The Applicant does not wish to challenge this decision. For the sake of clarity, the present confirmatory application regards only the application of the exception from disclosure protecting the ongoing decision-making process – Article 4(3) first subparagraph of Regulation 1049/2001.
In relation to the second exception, which protects the ongoing decision-making processes, the Decision states that the disclosure of the redacted parts of the documents would seriously undermine the Commission’s decision-making process and is therefore protected by the exception provided under Article 4(3) first subparagraph of Regulation 1049/2001.
According to the Decision, the redacted parts of the four documents contain information related to:
“- the analysis of impacts of the policy options considered, and the related methodology;
- the comparison of impacts across the policy options considered;
- monitoring indicators;
- the conclusions drawn from such analysis.”
The reasoning submitted by the Commission to justify the non-disclosure of the redacted parts of the four documents is that “these documents relate to a matter where the decision that has not been taken by the institution", referring to the decision on the legislative proposal to be put forward by the Commission in relation to the REACH revision, which the College of Commissioners are expected to take in the future. The Commission further notes that "an individual assessment of the requested documents was made and it was established that there is a risk that the Commission’s decision-making process would be seriously undermined if these redacted parts were disclosed. Such a risk is due to the following factors: the precise stage of the decision-making process in question at the time of this request; the specific context in which that process takes place; and the issues still to be discussed internally.”
Moreover, the Commission continues stating that “[i]n particular, the internal discussion on policy options, which have been analysed in the requested documents that support the ongoing decision-making process, is still not finalised. If released now, the content of the redacted parts could give rise to unnecessary misunderstandings.”

In the overall justification, the Commission is also relying on the CJEU case C-57/16 P ClientEarth v Commission. This is particularly remarkable as in that case, the Court actually ruled contrary to the conclusions of the Commission in the Decision. The Court concluded that documents drawn up in the context of an impact assessment for a possible legislative proposal represent legislative documents. In this context, the Commission is obliged to make them directly accessible to the public pursuant to Article 12(2) of Regulation No 1049/2001 and that access should not be denied when such documents are requested. Against this background, denying access to the Requested Documents stands in clear conflict with this judgment and, as a result, the Commission has misapplied the exception, as will be shown in the following.
The Applicant considers that, despite the references in the Decision to an individual assessment having been made on the necessity to protect the redacted parts of the four documents, the Decision is actually not based on a specific and individual examination for each document and fails to identify a serious risk of undermining the ongoing decision-making process to the applicable legal standard.

The Applicant hereby requests a reconsideration of the Decision for the reasons below.

1. Preliminary remarks on the nature of the Requested Documents

a. The Requested Documents are legislative documents
The Applicant points out that the Requested Documents represent legislative documents in the sense of Article 12 of Regulation 1049/2001: “2. In particular, legislative documents, that is to say, documents drawn up or received in the course of procedures for the adoption of acts which are legally binding in or for the Member States, should, subject to Articles 4 and 9, be made directly accessible”. These benefit from a higher level of transparency, and they should be made directly available to the wider public through the documents register of the Commission. This has also been confirmed by the CJEU in its judgment on case C-57/16 P ClientEarth v Commission referred to above.
The Decision confirms the legislative quality of the Requested Documents. Specifically, the Decision notes that the four documents, comprising three final reports and a draft final report supporting the Commission’s impact assessment in the context of the REACH revision, contain an analysis of the impacts of the various policy options under consideration, a comparison of those options as well as the conclusions drawn from such analysis, and that the Commission considers a legislative proposal as the likely outcome of the decision-making process. By analogy, the documents found to be legislative documents in C-57/16 P and thus subject to the requirements to be made directly accessible to the public also contained a presentation of the various policy options under consideration, the study of the impact, advantages and disadvantages of those options and a comparison of those options, which matches the content of the Requested Documents.
Moreover, the fact that the Commission entrusted the studies to external experts does not change the fact that the studies were drawn up and received in the course of a decision-making process that may lead to the adoption of EU legislation. This is supported by the wording of Article 12(2) of Regulation No 1049/2001, which refers to "documents drawn up or received in the course of procedures (…)", expressly including documents not prepared by the EU institutions themselves. On this point, it is possible to draw an analogy with the CJEU's reasoning in its judgment on case C-612/13 P ClientEarth v Commission, in which the Court held that contracting out conformity-checking studies to an external service provider, rather than being performed by its own staff, is one of the means available to the Commission to fulfil its duty under Article 17(1) TEU and so the contested studies formed part of the Commission’s investigation (see paragraphs 60-65).
It is therefore clear that the Requested Documents are part of the procedure for the adoption of an act that will be legally binding in and for the Member States.

b. The Requested Documents contain environmental information
The Requested Documents also contain environmental information within the meaning of Article 2(1)(d) of Regulation 1367/2006. Essentially, the Requested Documents outline various policy options that the Commission has identified in the context of the REACH revision. Specifically, the Decision mentions that the redacted parts contain “the analysis of impacts of the policy options considered, and the related methodology; the comparison of impacts across the policy options considered; monitoring indicators; [and] the conclusions drawn from such analysis.”
These are policy options to implement the Commission’s commitment “to deliver on the ambitious objectives set under the European Green Deal, which aims to transform the EU into a fair, clean and climate neutral, resource-efficient and competitive economy”, as the Decision itself mentions.
Since one of the central objectives of the REACH revision is the implementation of the Green Deal in general and the Chemicals Strategy in particular and, thus, environmental protection, the information included in the Requested Documents falls within several categories of the definition of “environmental information” laid down in Article 2(1)(d) of Regulation 1367/2006, as they contain information on:
(i) measures, such as policies and legislation, affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors of the environment, as well as measures designed to protect these elements. The elements of the environment are defined in Article 2(1)(d)(i) of Regulation 1367/2006 and include air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms, as well as the interaction among them. The factors of the environment are defined in Article 2(1)(d)(ii) and include substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, including emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment, affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment;
(ii) cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to in point (i) above;
(iii) the state of human health and safety, including conditions of human life in as much as they are or may be affected by any of the matters referred to in points (i).
The Requested Documents are in this sense also comparable to those at stake in case C-57/16 P mentioned above, which concerned access to the (draft) impact assessment reports and associated opinions pertaining to the potential adoption of EU legislation meant to protect the environment (para. 10). The Court held that these documents contain environmental information (para. 101).
As will be shown below, the status of the Requested Documents as legislative documents containing environmental information is of significance when applying the exception from disclosure provided by Article 4(3) first subparagraph of Regulation 1049/2001.

2. Scope of the present Confirmatory Application
By way of the present Confirmatory Application, the Applicant requests the Commission to reconsider its Decision. Specifically, the Applicant requests the Commission to grant full access to the four Requested Documents – as the Commission has misapplied the exception provided in Article 4(3) first subparagraph of Regulation 1049/2001 to protect the redacted parts of the Requested Documents.
In the alternative, the Applicant considers that the Commission has failed to recognise an overriding public interest in disclosure of the Requested Documents and requests the Commission the above mentioned on that basis.

a. Misapplication of the exception in Article 4(3) first subparagraph of Regulation 1049/2001
According to the Decision, the redacted parts of the documents are protected from disclosure since they relate to a decision on a legislative proposal in relation to the REACH revision that has not yet been taken by the Commission: “in particular, the internal discussion on policy options, which have been analysed in the requested documents that support the ongoing decision-making process, is still not finalised. If released now, the content of these redacted parts could give rise to unnecessary misunderstandings”. The Commission further notes that an individual assessment of the Requested Documents was made, and it was established that there is a risk that the disclosure of the redacted parts would seriously undermine the decision-making process. In this context, the Commission is applying the exception laid down in the first subparagraph of Article 4(3) first subparagraph of Regulation 1049/2001.
At the outset, the Applicant recalls that the CJEU in case C-57/16 P ClientEarth v Commission already rejected similar argumentation aimed at protecting from disclosure the same type of documents as the Requested Documents. In para. 92 of that case, the Court held that: “such a disclosure, at a time when the Commission’s decision-making process is still ongoing, enables citizens to understand the options envisaged and the choices made by that institution and, thus, to be aware of the considerations underlying the legislative action of the European Union. In addition, that disclosure puts those citizens in a position effectively to make their views known regarding those choices before those choices have been definitively adopted, so far as both the Commission’s decision to submit a legislative proposal and the content of that proposal, on which the legislative action of the European Union depends, are concerned.” The fact that “[t]he final versions of the documents will be published in their entirety, in line with well-established practices, as soon as the College of Commissioners will have adopted the relevant legislative proposal”, as the Commission states in its Decision, will come too late and thus be insufficient for the public and interested parties to exercise their democratic rights in the context of the legislative initiative regarding the REACH revision.
The Applicant submits that the general, vague and opaque justification provided by the Commission in the Decision cannot support the application of the exception from disclosure provided under Article 4(3) first subparagraph of Regulation 1049/2001 as it falls far short of the legal test established by the case law of the Court of Justice, Article 296 TFEU and Article 4(3) of Regulation 1049/2001 itself. See, for example, the Court’s judgment in case T-51/15 PAN Europe v Commission, in which the General Court found the Commission’s reasons, which were similar, although slightly more detailed than those put forward in the Decision, to be vague, general and imprecise and thus insufficient to substantiate any risk to the decision-making process at issue in that case (see paras 32 – 35).
It is the settled case law of the Court of Justice that the exceptions in Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001 "must be interpreted and applied strictly" because they "depart from the principle of the widest possible public access to documents." (See inter alia, Case C‑64/05 P Sweden v Commission, para. 66, C‑506/08 P Sweden v MyTravel and Commission, para. 75 and C-60/15 P Saint-Gobain Glass v Commission, para. 63). Thus, “[t]he mere fact that a document concerns an interest protected by an exception is not of itself sufficient to justify application of that exception” (Case T-51/15 PAN Europe v Commission, para. 22). According to the Court, “if an EU institution hearing a request for access to a document decides to refuse to grant that request on the basis of one of the exceptions laid down in Article 4 of Regulation No 1049/2001, it must, in principle, explain how access to that document could specifically and actually undermine the interest protected by that exception. Moreover, the risk of the interest being so undermined must be reasonably foreseeable and must not be purely hypothetical” (Case C 280/11 P Council v Access Info Europe, paras 30 and 31 and the case-law cited).
In addition, in order to be covered by the exception in Article 4(3) first subparagraph of Regulation No 1049/2001, the decision-making process must be seriously undermined. Analysing the wording of the Decision in light of this requirement, it is beyond doubt that the Commission gives insufficient reasons to justify redacting the Requested Documents based on Article 4(3) first subparagraph of Regulation 1049/2001. No specific reason (let alone evidence of such) is provided in relation to what is the actual and specific risk that the decision-making process would be undermined by the full disclosure of the Requested Documents. The reference to factors that give rise to the alleged risk such as “the precise stage of the decision-making process in question at the time of this request; the specific context in which that process takes place; and the issues still to be discussed internally” is not sufficient in itself to justify non-disclosure as the Commission is relying on a mere statement and has not substantiated it by any concrete and detailed information that would justify the non-disclosure of the redacted parts of the Requested Documents. Even though the Applicant welcomes that an individual assessment of the Requested Documents was made, as the Commission mentions in its Decision, this was not accompanied by any evidence on the outcomes of such an assessment for each specific and individual document requested nor by any detailed arguments on how those permitted the inference that it was reasonably foreseeable that the disclosure of the documents requested would have the effect referred to by the Commission. In addition, no explanation is provided for how the disclosure of the redacted parts “could give rise to unnecessary misunderstandings”, to whom these would arise, and which risks these would pose for the decision-making process. Crucially, the Court of Justice ruled that the public is perfectly capable of understanding that certain documents are provisional in nature and may thus be subject to change, so that the argument brought forward by the Commission does not justify the non-disclosure of the Requested Documents (T-540/15, De Capitani v Parliament, para. 120; see also the European Ombudsman case 1053/2023/MIK, paras. 34-41 as regards impact assessments and opinions of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board). Moreover, the fact that the Commission disclosed the description of the policy options in the four documents, not considering them at risk of seriously undermining the decision-making process, contradicts its decision not to disclose the related methodology and monitoring indicators, whereas these elements provide the evidence base for the policy options above but are strictly not part of the decision-making process thereof. Any potential impacts of disclosure on the decision-making procedure identified by DG ENV in its present Decision therefore remain purely hypothetical.
In this context, the Applicant notes that the Joint Research Centre in their response on 25 July 2023 disclosed two of the same category of documents as those provided by DG GROW and included links to two scientific and technical reports without invoking the exception of the protection of the decision-making process. Likewise, in a response to a previous request for access to documents Ref GestDem No 2022/608, which similarly concerned "final reports of the studies conducted by contractors or the JRC in the run up to the REACH revision", DG ENV granted full access and provided a public link to four final studies. The absence of disclosure of other requested documents was only based on the ground that "any such documents do not fall within the scope of this confirmatory request" and not based on any exception to the disclosure.
Moreover, given that the four documents are legislative documents containing environmental information, the exception in Article 4(3) first subparagraph must be subject to an even stricter interpretation (Case C-57/16 P ClientEarth v Commission, para. 101; more generally as regards environmental information, see also C-60/15 P Saint-Gobain Glass v Commission, para. 78). The above-mentioned Court of Justice judgement in Case C-57/16 P illustrates that the Decision is in direct contravention of the legal standard applicable to requests pertaining to legislative documents. In this case, the Court made clear that transparency in EU decision-making processes contributes “to increasing those citizens’ confidence in those institutions" and recognised that the proactive disclosure of such information in good time, well before the institution has made a decision regarding the planned initiative, is crucial to allow citizens to make their views known in an ongoing decision-making procedure (paras. 75 and 92-93). Significantly, the Court stressed that the expression by the public or interested parties of their views on the policy options envisaged by the Commission before specific legislative proposals are announced "is an integral part of the exercise by EU citizens of their democratic rights" (para. 108). Accordingly, the justification for the partial disclosure of the four documents provided by the Commission should have equally been more compelling. It was not.
Lastly, the fact that the Decision contains no evidence of the Commission having considered in the first place whether the four documents contain environmental information amounts to a failure to state reasons under Article 296 TFEU. The Requested Documents clearly contain environmental information, as explained above. As such, the Commission should have justified how the exception from disclosure applies to the Requested Documents with an express consideration and explanation related to the fact that they contain environmental information.
The future proposal of the Commission in respect of the REACH revision will have a profound effect on people and the environment. Therefore, the process leading to its adoption by the Commission should be open to public scrutiny as required by the EU’s founding treaties. Citizens have a right to know the studies supporting the assessments which represent the evidence base of the future legislative proposal, which are contained in the Requested Documents. The Applicant further notes that the Commission’s Better Regulation Guidelines state that “[t]he purpose of evaluations, namely to promote inputs to decision-making, organisational learning, accountability/transparency and efficient resource allocation, can only be achieved if the resultant information reaches all interested parties.” (Tool #50 on Disseminating the evaluation findings).
In this context, the Applicant would like to remind that on 3 October 2023, the Ombudsman launched an inquiry into how EU institutions apply EU law and case law when handling public access requests for legislative documents (OI/4/2023/MIK). The Ombudsman noted that past inquiries on insufficient and delayed public access suggested that EU institutions are not currently giving full effect to EU law and related case law of the European Court of Justice. The Ombudsman referred to case 1053/2023/MIK, in which the Commission refused to fully disclose documents regarding the envisioned revision of REACH and the Mercury Regulation. In that context, the Ombudsman found that the Commission presented general arguments, which did not prove the risk of undermining an ongoing decision-making process with the level of certainty required by recent EU rulings, as well as used arguments previously dismissed by the EU Courts in similar cases, including that the disclosure of provisional documents may lead to unnecessary confusion and misunderstandings, similar to the arguments brought forward by the Commission in the Decision at hand.
To conclude this ground, the refusal provided in the Decision does not allow the Applicant to understand if the need for protection of the ongoing decision-making process related to the Requested Documents is necessary. This amounts to a breach of Article 296(2) TFEU and Article 41(2)(c) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
In addition, the Commission has clearly failed to demonstrate that disclosure would specifically and actually undermine the ongoing decision-making process and that this risk is reasonably foreseeable and not purely hypothetical. As a result, the Commission has misapplied Article 4(3) first subparagraph of Regulation 1049/2001.

b. There is an overriding public interest in disclosure of the Requested Documents
Without prejudice to the foregoing, the Requested Documents should also be disclosed based on an overriding public interest in disclosure. The Decision states that there is no overriding public interest. On the contrary, as shown below, an overriding public interest in disclosure exists.
It follows from the case law of the European Court of Justice that the overriding public interest capable of justifying the disclosure of a document must not necessarily be distinct from the principles which underline Regulation 1049/2001 (Joined cases C-514/11 and C-605/11, LPN and Finland v Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2013:738, paragraph 92; Joined cases C-39/05 P and C-52/05 P, Sweden and Turco v Council, ECLI:EU:C:2008:374, paragraphs 74-75). The Court of Justice has confirmed the General Court’s approach in the case Sweden v API and Commission, according to which the invocation of the principle of transparency “may, in the light of the particular circumstances of the case, be so pressing that it overrides the need to protect the documents in question” (Joined cases C-514/07 P, Sweden and others v API and Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2010:541, paragraphs 152-153). In addition, the Court of Justice has also held that the specific circumstances justifying the disclosure of documents must be set out, and that purely general considerations are not an appropriate basis for establishing that an overriding public interest prevails (Joined cases C-514/11 and C-605/11, LPN and Finland v Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2013:738, paragraphs 93 and 94).
The Applicant submits that the specific circumstances of this case are such that the need for the public to have full access to the Requested Documents at the current moment is so pressing as to justify their disclosure.
As recalled in the Inception Impact Assessment on the revision of REACH: “The objectives of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability are to better protect citizens and the environment against hazardous chemicals and encourage innovation for the development of safe and sustainable alternatives. To this end the Strategy outlined a number of actions intended to increase the knowledge base and control of chemicals. Chemicals are everywhere in our daily lives. They are fundamental for our well-being and high living standard and are important building blocks of key technologies to address future challenges. […]” The REACH Regulation was last evaluated in 2018, which concluded that REACH is effective but that there are opportunities for further improvement, simplification and burden reduction. Following the evaluation, a number of non-legislative actions have been launched (some of them finalised, others still ongoing) to improve the implementation of REACH.
There is no doubt that this initiative is of public interest as it should reduce the risk that products and services put on the EU market. In particular, it "will increase the protection of human health by reducing the exposure to hazardous chemicals, for citizens in general, and for workers and self-employed, including via the environment" (according to the Inception Impact Assessment). This upcoming legislation will apply across sectors and therefore should have an effect on all businesses operating in the EU. As business activities impact people and the environment, the Applicant consider that the consequences of the choices made in the revised legislation are crucial for the objective of getting a more sustainable and less harmful economy and should therefore be examined at all stages of the decision-making process.
For the Applicant it is therefore extremely urgent to assess the content of the Requested Documents in order to participate in the Commission’s decision-making process in relation to the legislative proposal, to be able to scrutinize the ongoing decision-making process and assess whether the evidence base of all the appropriate options and their consequences are taken into account in the Commission’s development of this upcoming legislation, and to inform the wider public accordingly so that they can also make their voices heard.
Additionally, in relation to the redaction of the methodology and monitoring indicators from the Requested Documents, the Applicant reminds the Commission of the ambition of its Open Science policy. Open Science has been identified as a policy priority by the Commission as a means to increase the quality and impact of science by fostering reproducibility and interdisciplinarity, acknowledging that “it makes science more efficient through better sharing of resource, more reliable through better verification and more responsible to society’s needs” (European Commission, 'Open science' Factsheet, 13/12/2019). It is in the spirit of Open Science to remove structural obstacles to dissemination and render all possible scientific data available for everyone to access and use. Given this additional public interest for disclosure, the Applicant considers that the disclosure of the methodology and monitoring indicators of the studies conducted in relation to the REACH revision is even more pertinent. Such information would allow for the replication of the studies and reproducibility of the findings, which would increase the quality of the scientific results and overall lead to a more reliable and up-to-date evidence base underlying the ongoing decision-making process.
In conclusion, the Applicant submits that there is an overriding public interest, which requires that the Requested Documents to be disclosed by the Commission also on this basis.
c. Active dissemination of the Requested Documents
Finally, we request that the Requested Documents be made publicly available on the Commission’s documents register, in accordance with Articles 11 and 12 of Regulation 1049/2001 and Article 4 of Regulation 1367/2001. We also take this opportunity to point out that the Commission could save valuable resources by actively disseminating all future documents that are similar to the Requested Documents while the decision-making process is still ongoing, given that they constitute studies prepared in relation to legislative initiatives and fall squarely within the right of EU citizens to have access to information regarding the EU legislative process.
Thank you in advance for your continued cooperation on this request.

Sincerely,
Julian Schenten, Senior Law and Policy Advisor – Chemicals Project
Gaia Lisi, Law and Policy Advisor – Environmental Democracy
ClientEarth AISBL
60 Rue du Trône, Box 11, Ixelles, 1050, Belgium

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Secretariat General of the European Commission

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

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your confirmatory request for case
2023/3653, sent on 25/10/2023 and registered on 25/10/2023.

We will handle your confirmatory request within 15 working days as of the
date of registration. The time-limit expires on 17/11/2023. We will let
you know if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working
days.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear Sir or Madam,

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your confirmatory request for case
2023/3653, sent on 25/10/2023 and registered on 25/10/2023.

We will handle your confirmatory request within 15 working days as of the
date of registration. The time-limit expires on 17/11/2023. We will let
you know if we need to extend this time limit for additional 15 working
days.

Yours faithfully,

Secretariat-General - Access to Documents
European Commission

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear applicant,

We are writing to you concerning your confirmatory request for access to
Commission documents for case 2023/3654, registered on 19 September 2023.

On 9 October 2023, we extended the time limit for replying to your
confirmatory request to 31 October 2023.

Unfortunately, as internal consultations are still ongoing, we will not be
able to send you the reply within this extended time limit.

However, we assure you that we are doing our best to send a reply to your
confirmatory request as soon as possible.

We regret this additional delay and sincerely apologize for any
inconvenience this may cause.

Kind regards,

SG.C1 Access to Documents team

sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear applicant,

We are writing concerning your confirmatory request for access to
Commission documents for case 2023/3653 registered on 25 October 2023.

We are currently working on your confirmatory request. However,
consultations need to be performed and we have not yet been able to gather
all the elements necessary to carry out a full analysis of your request.
We will not be able to send you the reply within the prescribed time limit
expiring on 17 November 2023.

Therefore, in line with Article 8(2) of [1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 we
need to extend this time limit by 15 additional working days. The new time
limit expires on 8 December 2023.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Kind regards,

SG.C.1 - Access to Documents team

References

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sg-acc-doc@ec.europa.eu,

Dear applicant,

We are writing to you concerning your confirmatory request for access to
Commission documents for case 2023/3653, registered on 25 October 2025.

On 16 November 2023, we extended the time limit for replying to your
confirmatory request to 8 December 2023.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to send you the reply within this
extended time limit. Internal consultations are still ongoing and need to
be finalised before we can issue the reply.

However, we assure you that we are doing our best to send a reply to your
confirmatory request as soon as possible.

We regret this additional delay and sincerely apologize for any
inconvenience this may cause.

Kind regards,

SG.C.1 - Access to Documents team

GROW-F1@ec.europa.eu, Secretariat General of the European Commission

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Schenten,

 

With reference to our below reply to your request for access to documents
dated 29/08/2023, we regret to inform you that the document named
“ARES(2023)5856678 - Doc 2 – VVA study_REACH_Annexes_Redacted_1” listed
in the below email was erroneously released.

 

More precisely, in reply to your request we disclosed personal information
of another person that should not have been disclosed in accordance with
the applicable data protection rules, namely Regulation (EU)
2018/1725[1]^^[1].

 

In order to limit any further infringement of the applicable rules and to
limit any negative consequences on the data subject following this
erroneous disclosure, we have to ask you to refrain from using,
disseminating, sharing, duplicating, printing or processing the
erroneously released version of this document and any information
contained therein in any way and from making it public. Furthermore, we
have to ask you to delete the document, and any information contained
therein, from your paper and electronic records, including your email and
computer hard drive, and to confirm these actions to us in writing. Should
you have shared or published the document before receipt of this email, we
have to ask you to inform us thereof.

 

As the disclosure of this document you received from DG GROW on 29 August
2023 was erroneous and against applicable data protection rules, any
further use or processing of that version of the document or of any
information contained therein, after receipt of the present email and
information may engage your personal responsibility, which may include
compensation for any damage provoked.

 

To confirm the above-mentioned necessary actions by you please send us an
e-mail with the following text and undersigned with your name:

 

I confirm that I will not use the erroneously released version of the
above-mentioned document or any information contained therein, will not
disseminate, share, duplicate, print or process it in any way, nor make it
public. I confirm that I have permanently deleted it from my paper and
electronic records, including my e-mail system and computer hard drive. I
confirm that I have not shared the document with anyone and have not
published it.

 

Alternatively, you can also sign the attached declaration confirming the
above and send it to the below postal address and/or to the below e-mail
address:

 

European Commission

DG GROW/Directorate F/unit F1 REACH

B – 1049 Brussels

Email: [2][email address]    

 

We would like to express our sincere apologies for this incident and the
inconvenience it might cause for you. The European Commission attaches
great importance to the protection of personal data of individuals and we
thank you in advance for your cooperation in limiting the negative
consequences of this incident.

 

Please find attached the declaration to be signed (if you choose this
option to provide your confirmation).

 

Many thanks for your collaboration and best regards,

 

Giuseppe Casella

Head of Unit
 
European Commission
DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
REACH
Avenue des Nerviens, 105

B-1040 Brussels/Belgium

 

From: GROW F1
Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2023 10:30 AM
To: '[FOI #13197 email]'
<[FOI #13197 email]>
Subject: Your application for access to documents - Ref. EASE 2023/3654

 

Dear applicant,

 

Please find attached the reply to your request for access to documents,
registered under reference EASE 2023/3654.

 

We would appreciate if you could confirm receipt of the present e-mail by
replying to [3][email address].

 

Many thanks in advance and best regards,

 

European Commission
DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
REACH

 

────────────────────────

[4][1]      Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of
the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with
regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions,
bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and
repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC,
Official Journal L 295 of 21.11.2018, p. 39.

References

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2. mailto:[email address]
3. mailto:[email address]
4. file:///tmp/foiextract20240301-1573443-bybumo#_ftnref1

Rachel Hanna,

4 Attachments

**Message 1 of 2 from asktheeu admin team**

 

In response to this request, on 29/08/23 a document was released that
contained personal data.

 

To remove the document, the entire response from the Commission had to be
removed.

 

See below original message from 29/08/23, with now redacted documents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear applicant,

 

Please find attached the reply to your request for access to documents,
registered under reference EASE 2023/3654.

 

We would appreciate if you could confirm receipt of the present e-mail by
replying to [1][[1]email address].

 

Many thanks in advance and best regards,

 

European Commission
DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
REACH

 

 

References

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Rachel Hanna,

1 Attachment

**Message 2 of 2 from asktheeu admin team**

 

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