Ref. Ares(2019)5061282 - 02/08/2019
Directorate-General for Trade
Directorate F - WTO, Legal Affairs and Trade in Goods F2: Dispute Settlement and Legal Aspects of Trade Policy
Head of Unit
Ms Lora Verheecke
on behalf of Friends of the Earth Europe
26 rue d'Edimbourg
1050 Brussels Email: email@example.com
Your application for access to documents – Ref GestDem No 2019/4005
Dear Ms Verheecke,
I refer to your request for access documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/20011
("Regulation 1049/2001") dated 10 July 2019 and registered under the reference
GestDem No 2019/4005.
You request access to “the summary of the meeting between DG Trade and Nord Stream
2 in June 2019
” and “all email and letter exchanges and phone conversations between
representatives of DG Trade and representatives of Nord Stream 2 between 1st June
2017 and today”
[i.e. 10 July 2019].
We have identified the following documents falling within the scope of your request:
An email exchange between DG TRADE and Nord Stream 2 representatives and
outside counsel between 27 May 2019 and 2 July 2019 (Ares(2019)4518257)
) which contains in attachment four articles and a note summarising
Nord Stream 2’s legal arguments;
The report of a meeting between Nord Stream 2 and Commission representatives
on 25 June 2019 (Ares(2019)5032625) (Document 2
A letter from Nord Stream 2 to the Directorate General for Trade (DG TRADE)
dated 8 July 2019 (Ares(2019)4372375) (Document 3
A letter from DG TRADE to Nord Stream 2 dated 26 July 2019
(Ares(2019)4907588) (Document 4
1 Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2001
regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, OJ L 145,
31.5.2001, p. 43.
Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111
I am glad to inform you that access is granted to the content of these documents. Documents 3 and 4
are publicly accessible on the website of DG TRADE at http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/accessing-markets/dispute-settlement/investment-
where DG TRADE regularly publishes the official exchange of letters between
Nord Stream 2 and the Commission in relation to the potential investment claims under
the Energy Charter Treaty.
Some personal data have been redacted in documents 1 to 4
, in accordance with Article
4.1(b) of Regulation 1049/2001. The legal reasoning underlying the protection of these
personal data is provided below. In addition, two documents enclosed in document 2
have been excluded as they fall outside the scope of your request.
Article 4.1(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 provides that the institutions can refuse
access to a document where disclosure would undermine the protection of privacy and
the integrity of the individual. In its judgment in Case C-28/08 P (Bavarian Lager
Court of Justice ruled that when a request is made for access to documents containing
personal data, the Data Protection Regulation becomes fully applicable.
The applicable legislation in this field is Regulation (EU) No 2018/1725, which replaces
Regulation (EC) No 45/2001.3 Article 3(1) of Regulation 2018/1725 provides that personal
data "means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person […]
Names, signatures, job titles, telephone numbers and/or initials pertaining to staff members
of an institution, or outside individuals, are to be considered personal data.5
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 the first condition is fulfilled, namely if the recipient
establishes that it is necessary to have the data transmitted for a specific purpose in the
public interest, the institution concerned will examine whether the conditions under Article
9(1)(b) are satisfied.
In your application, you do not put forward arguments to establish the necessity to have the
data transmitted for a specific purpose in the public interest. Therefore, we do not need to
2 Judgment of 29 June 2010 in Case C-28/08 P, European Commission v The Bavarian Lager Co. Ltd
EU:C:2010:378, paragraph 59.
3 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, OJ L 295, 21.11.2018, p. 39.
4 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 data (see judgment of the Court of
Justice of the European Union of 20 December 2017 in Case C-434/16, Peter Novak v Data Protection
, EU:T:2018:560, paragraphs 33-35).
5 Judgment of the General Court of 19 September 2018 in case T-39/17, Port de Brest v Commission
EU:T:2018:560, paragraphs 43-44.
substantiate in this reply whether there is a reason to assume that the data subject’s
legitimate interests might be prejudiced.
Nevertheless, we consider that there are reasons to assume that the legitimate interests of the
data subjects concerned could be prejudiced by disclosure of the personal data 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 1049/2001, access
cannot be granted to the personal data in documents 1 to 4.
In line with the Commission's commitment to ensure transparency and accountability6,
the names of the Members of Cabinet and of senior management of the Commission
(starting from the Director level) are disclosed. Copies of the accessible documents are
In accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 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 unit SG-C-1
BE - 1049 Brussels
or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
6 See Commission decisions C(2014) 9051 and C(2014) 9048 of 25 November 2014.
Electronically signed on 02/08/2019 12:16 (UTC+02) in accordance with article 4.2 (Validity of electronic documents) of Commission Decision 2004/563