Ref. Ares(2020)2425129 - 07/05/2020
Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations
R - RESOURCES
R.2 - LEGAL ISSUES
Your applications for access to documents – Ref. GestDem 2020/2086,
2020/2087 and 2020/2088
Dear Ms Pacciardi,
I refer to your emails of 7 April 20201 in which you submit three requests for access to
documents, registered under the above-mentioned reference numbers2.
Your applications concern a very large number of documents, which need to be assessed
individually. The handling of your requests also involves the assessment of documents
originating from third parties and Member States. Disclosure of these documents requires
prior consultation with the relevant third parties and Member States in accordance with
Article 4(4) and 4(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/20013.
Such a detailed analysis, given especially the exceptional circumstances related to
COVID-19 under which the Commission operates, cannot be carried out within the
normal time limits set out in Article 7 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.
However, Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 also provides for a possibility to
confer with an applicant informally with a view to finding a fair solution when an
application relates to a very long document or concerns a very large number of
In accordance with case law of the EU Courts, such a solution can only concern the
content or the number of documents applied for, not the deadline for replying4. This
means that the scope of the request must be reduced in a way that would enable its
treatment within the extended deadline of 15 + 15 working days.
1 Ref. Ares(2020)2036519, Ares(2020)2036648 and Ares(2020)2036770 respectively.
2 Ref. Ares(2020)2037234.
3 Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding
public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, Official Journal L 145 of 31
May 2001, p. 43.
4 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 2 October 2014, Strack
v European Commission
(hereinafter referred to as the ‘Strack
judgment’), EU:C:2014:2250, paragraphs 26-28.
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111
Based on the above-mentioned provision, we would kindly ask you to specify the
objective of your request and your specific interest in the documents requested5, and
whether you could narrow down the scope of your request (i.e. the subject matter(s)
and/or timeframe covered), so as to reduce it to a more manageable amount of
We are hereby making an estimation of the work that can be performed within the
extended deadline of 30 working days in order to offer you a fair solution.
Overall, the treatment of your request takes the following steps:
- identification of the documents falling under your request;
- retrieval and establishment of a complete list of the documents identified;
- assessment of the content of the documents in light of the exceptions of Article 4
of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001;
- third-party / Member State consultations under Article 4(4) and 4(5) of
Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001;
- final assessment of the documents in light of the comments received;
- drafting of the reply;
- redaction of those parts of the documents to which one or several exceptions
- internal review and approval of the draft decision; and
- preparation of the reply and the documents for dispatch.
According to our first preliminary estimates, the workload for the treatment of your
request for handling the relevant documents of 1 year would take approximately 60
A fair solution could therefore consist in the assessment of all documents related to your
requests that were produced since 1 January 2020. Please note that the majority of
documents that we will assess contain sensitive information. Each document will be
properly assessed on a case-by-case basis under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001 and in line with the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Due to security and confidentiality reasons, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to
provide access to a large percentage of documents that will fall under the scope of the
In order to enable us to respect the time-limits of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, we
would ask you for a swift reply to our invitation to propose a fair solution, within five
working days at the latest:
by email to: email@example.com
judgment, paragraph 28; Judgment of the General Court (then 'Court of First
Instance') of 22 May 2012, EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg
v European Commission
EU:T:2012:242, paragraph 105.
6 Taking into account other applications for access to documents and other tasks that the staff concerned
are likely to have to deal with during the same period.
If you have any questions concerning the invitation, you can contact us at the same email
In the absence of a reply within five working days, we will unilaterally restrict the scope
of your application to those parts that can be dealt with within the extended deadline of
30 working days, counting from the registration of your application on 14 April 2020.
Thank you in advance for your understanding
Head of Unit
Electronically signed on 07/05/2020 11:32 (UTC+02) in accordance with article 4.2 (Validity of electronic documents) of Commission Decision 2004/563