the visit of four dutch ministers to European Commissioner Sinkevičius
Thomas Spekschoor made this access to documents request to Environment
Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:
- All documents about the visit of four dutch ministers to commissioner Sinkevičius in june or july. This includes emails or other messages between dutch and EU-officials in preparation for the meeting, minutes of other meetings to prepare the visit of the four ministers, the minutes of the meeting with the ministers and all communication afterwards between EU- and dutch officials.
Thomas Spekschoor (NOS, dutch tv and radio)
Dear Sir or Madam,
We are writing to you concerning your request for access to documents sent
on 14/11/2022 and registered on 16/11/2022 under case number 2022/6618.
Since you have not indicated your postal address, we are not able to start
handling your request. The 15 working days to reply to your request will
start running only when you send us your postal address.
You can send your postal address by replying to this e-mail. If we do not
receive your reply we may close this case.
Please note that you can submit a request for access to Commission
documents via the portal 'Request a Commission document', which does
not require you to indicate your postal address.
Why do we need your personal postal address?
Since 1 April 2014, the submission of a postal address became a mandatory
feature when submitting an application for access to Commission documents
via an e-mail. We would like to explain why we need your postal address in
order to register and handle your application for access to documents when
submitted via e-mail:
• Firstly, to obtain legal certainty as regards the date you received
the European Commission reply to your application for public access to
documents. Article 297 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the
European Union (TFEU) states that 'decisions which specify to whom
they are addressed, shall be notified to those to whom they are
addressed and shall take effect upon such notification.' In line with
this provision, if the Commission does not grant full access to the
requested documents, it notifies the reply to the applicant via
registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt or via delivery
service. This requires an indication of a valid postal address by the
• Secondly, to apply correctly the Data Protection Regulation (EU)
2018/1725. Knowing whether the applicant is an EU resident (or not) is
necessary for deciding which conditions shall apply for the
transmissions of personal data to applicants for access to documents.
These conditions are not the same for recipients established in the
Union and for recipients in third countries. As the vast majority of
the documents requested contain personal data, the Commission cannot
ensure the correct application of the data protection rules in the
absence of a postal address;
• Thirdly, to apply correctly Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. Article
4(1)(b) of that Regulation refers to the protection of the privacy and
integrity of the individual and has to be applied in line with the
Data Protection Regulation;
• Fourthly, to protect the interest of other citizens and safeguard the
principle of good administration. The Commission has to treat all
citizens equally by ensuring that the legal framework for public
access to documents is respected. For example, it has to verify
whether Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 is being evaded
by introducing several requests under different identities. Indeed, in
its Ryanair judgment (EU:T:2010:511), the General Court confirmed
that Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 cannot be evaded by
splitting an application into several, seemingly separate, parts. In
addition, the Commission has to make sure that the legal framework is
respected and the right of access to documents is not abused by making
requests under an invented identity.
The considerations above show that the request for and the consequent
processing of the applicant's postal address is not only appropriate, but
also strictly necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the
public interest within the meaning of Article 5(1)(a) of Data Protection
Regulation, namely providing a smooth and effective access to documents.
Directorate-General for Environment - Access to Documents