Ref. Ares(2019)3498126 - 29/05/2019
DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR MARITIME AFFAIRS AND FISHERIES
Ms Gisella ROJAS
Bayona II 28028
By registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt
Advance copy by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your application for access to documents - GESTDEM 2019/2077
Dear Ms Rojas,
We refer to your e-mail requesting access to documents dated 02/04/2019, which was registered on
the same day under the above-mentioned reference number.
You request access to the following documents:
"-All documents - including but not limited to minutes, notes, audio recordings, verbatim reports,
operational conclusions, e-mails, and presentations – produced, exchanged and related to the
following meetings between Alain Paul Lebeaupin, Apostolic Nuncio, Head of the Mission of the
Holy See to the European Union and at the time:
-Karmenu Vella, Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, 17 March 2017.
-Karmenu Vella, Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, 7 December 2015.
Your application to DG MARE concerns the following documents:
"Briefing for the meeting between Commissioner Karmenu VELLA and Archbishop Alain Paul
Charles Lebeaupin of 7 December 2015" and "Briefing for the meeting between Commissioner
Karmenu VELLA and Archbishop Alain Paul Charles Lebeaupin of 17 March 2017". You will find
the redacted version of these documents attached to this letter.
Pursuant to Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, access to a document has to be
refused if its disclosure would undermine the protection of privacy and the integrity of the
individual, in particular in accordance with European Union legislation regarding the protection of
The applicable legislation in this field is 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
Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111
Office: J-99 05/014 ‐ Tel. direct line +32 229 96310
movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No
1247/2002/EC1 (‘Regulation 2018/1725’).
The documents to which you request access contains personal data, in particular names of
Commission staff members.
Indeed, Article 3(1) of Regulation 2018/1725 provides that personal data ‘means any information
relating to an identified or identifiable natural person […]’. The Court of Justice has specified that
any information, which by reason of its content, purpose or effect, is linked to a particular person is
to be considered as personal data2.
Please note in this respect that the names, signatures, functions, telephone numbers and/or initials
pertaining to non-senior staff members of an institution are to be considered personal data.
In its judgment in Case C-28/08 P (Bavarian Lager
), the Court of Justice ruled that when a request
is made for access to documents containing personal data, the Data Protection Regulation becomes
Pursuant to Article 9(1)(b) of Regulation 2018/1725, ‘personal data shall only be transmitted to
recipients established in the Union other than Union institutions and bodies if ‘[t]he recipient
establishes that it is necessary to have the data transmitted for a specific purpose in the public
interest and the controller, where there is any reason to assume that the data subject’s legitimate
interests might be prejudiced, establishes that it is proportionate to transmit the personal data for
that specific purpose after having demonstrably weighed the various competing interests’.
Only if these conditions are fulfilled and the processing constitutes lawful processing in accordance
with the requirements of Article 5 of Regulation 2018/1725, can the transmission of personal data
According to Article 9(1)(b) of Regulation 2018/1725, the European Commission has to examine
the further conditions for a lawful processing of personal data only if the first condition is fulfilled,
namely if the recipient has established that it is necessary to have the data transmitted for a specific
purpose in the public interest. It is only in this case that the European Commission has to examine
whether there is a reason to assume that the data subject’s legitimate interests might be prejudiced
and, in the affirmative, establish the proportionality of the transmission of the personal data for that
specific purpose after having demonstrably weighed the various competing interests.
In your request, you do not put forward any arguments to establish the necessity to have the data
transmitted for a specific purpose in the public interest. Therefore, the European Commission does
not have to examine whether there is a reason to assume that the data subject’s legitimate interests
might be prejudiced.
Notwithstanding the above, please note that there are reasons to assume that the legitimate interests
of the data subjects concerned would be prejudiced by disclosure of the personal data reflected in
the documents, as there is a real and non-hypothetical risk that such public disclosure would harm
their privacy and subject them to unsolicited external contacts.
Consequently, I conclude that, pursuant to Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, access
cannot be granted to the personal data, as the need to obtain access thereto for a purpose in the
1 Official Journal L 205 of 21.11.2018, p. 39.
2 Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 20 December 2017 in Case C-434/16, Peter Nowak v Data
, request for a preliminary ruling, paragraphs 33-35, ECLI:EU:C:2017:994.
3 Whereas this judgment specifically related to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the
Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data, the principles set out therein are also
applicable under the new data protection regime established by Regulation 2018/1725.
public interest has not been substantiated and there is no reason to think that the legitimate interests
of the individuals concerned would not be prejudiced by disclosure of the personal data concerned.
In accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, you are entitled to make a
confirmatory application requesting the Commission to review this position.
Such a confirmatory application should be addressed within 15 working days upon receipt of this
letter to the Secretary-General of the Commission at the following address:
Transparency, Document Management & Access to Documents (SG.C.1)
or by email to: email@example.com
João AGUIAR MACHADO
Briefing for the meeting between Commissioner Karmenu VELLA and
Archbishop Alain Paul Charles Lebeaupin of 7 December 2015 and briefing
for the meeting between Commissioner Karmenu VELLA and Archbishop
Alain Paul Charles Lebeaupin of 17 March 2017.
Electronically signed on 28/05/2019 16:19 (UTC+02) in accordance with article 4.2 (Validity of electronic documents) of Commission Decision 2004/563