Ref. Ares(2020)3286147 - 24/06/2020
HUMAN RESOURCES AND SECURITY
Brussels, 24 June 2020
Ms Margarita DA SILVA
Rue d'Edimbourg 26
By email: ask+request-7937-
Your application for access to documents – Ref /GestDem No 2020/2620
Dear Ms DA SILVA,
I refer to your e-mail, dated 6 May 2020 and registered on 8 May 2020 under reference
number 2020/2620, in which you make a request for access to documents.
Your application concerns "[…] documents related to any article 16, article 12B and
article 40 (staff regulations) applications made by Ms. Aura Salla to take up employment
in Facebook's EU affairs office”.
In particular, you request "a note of all Ms. Salla's job
titles at the Commission including dates held; copies of any application(s) that she has
made under article 12b, 16 and 40 to undertake the new professional activity; the date of
issuing the authorisation; any possible assessments of the compatibility of Ms. Salla's
new role with the 12 months lobbying ban as set by the EU Staff Regulation; and all
documents (correspondence, emails, meeting notes etc) related to the authorisation of the
I have examined your request under the provisions of 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.
I understand that your request refers to documents relating to the new role and new
professional activity of Ms SALLA after leaving the service.
In this context, the documents identified in the framework of your request are: a
document extracted from the relevant staff database listing the job titles of Ms SALLA, a
declaration form submitted by Ms SALLA in the framework of Article 16 of the Staff
Regulations, and the related decision from the Appointing Authority. In addition, e-mail
exchanges within Commission services and between Commission services and Ms
SALLA concerning these requests for authorisation and the related Appointing Authority
decisions were also identified.
Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111
Office: SC11 09/012 - Tel. direct line +32 229-90515
In accordance with Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) 1049/2001, it is the Commission's
obligation to ensure that the privacy and the integrity of the EU staff member concerned,
including in her professional capacity, are correctly protected. The documents you
requested contain personal data relating to the past and present occupational activities of
Ms SALLA, the disclosure of which would entail a transmission of personal data falling
under the provisions of Regulation (EU) 2018/17251.
In the case EC v Bavarian Lager
,2 the Court of Justice ruled that when a request is made
for access to documents containing personal data, Regulation 2018/1725 becomes fully
applicable.3 Pursuant to Article 9(1)(b) of that Regulation, personal data shall only be
transferred to recipients if they established the necessity of having the data transferred to
them and if there is no reason to assume that the legitimate rights of the persons
concerned might be prejudiced.
Although you did not establish the necessity of having the data transferred, I consider
that there is no reason to think that the legitimate interests of the individual concerned
would not be prejudiced by disclosure of her personal data.
Consequently, I consider that the exception provided for in Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation
(EC) No 1049/2001 applies. As for the correspondence between the Commission services
and Ms SALLA, in addition to the protection of personal data, the second subparagraph
of Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 applies. That exception is related to the
protection of the Commission's decision-making process even after the decision of the
Appointing Authority has been taken. As no overriding public interest in disclosure could
have been identified in the present case, that exception to the right of access cannot be
While I have also considered the possibility of granting partial access on the basis of
Article 4(6) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, I have concluded that this would equally
undermine the protection of personal data.
Against this background, in order to address your query to the extent possible, and after
having consulted Ms SALLA, I can nevertheless provide you with the following general
information on the process to which your request relates.
Ms SALLA’s declaration to engage in a remunerated occupational activity after leaving
the Commission (pursuant to Article 16 of the Staff Regulations) was received on 31
March 2020. She requested to perform a remunerated occupational activity for an
undefined period, envisaged starting date of activity was as of 1 May 2020, as Head of
the Office and Director of EU Affairs. The main activities of her role would include team
management, representing the company and communicating the company’s position.
Following the general rules concerning the consultation process for this type of request,
on 13 May 2020, the Appointing Authority gave its approval to carry out the activity
1 Regulation (EU) No 2018/1725 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 (OJ L 295, 21.11.2018, p. 39).
2 Judgment of 29 June 2010, Case C-28/08 P, European Commission v The Bavarian Lager Co. Ltd
ECLI:EU:C:2010:378, paragraph 59.
3 This judgment specifically cited Regulation (EC) No 45/2001, which was repealed by Regulation (EU)
2018/1725. In accordance with Article 99 of that latter Regulation, references to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001
should be construed as references to Regulation (EU) 2018/1725.
subject to strict compliance with certain conditions aimed at preventing any potential
conflict of interest with the legitimate interests of the Commission. In particular, these
conditions can be described as follows:
Having regard to the interest of the service and under the second paragraph of
Article 16 of the Staff Regulations, Ms SALLA was requested not to have any
professional contact with her former service (Inspire, Debate, Engage and
Accelerate Action, I.D.E.A.) on behalf of Facebook or its companies for a period
of 6 months. This included participating in events organised by I.D.E.A
Ms SALLA was also requested not to engage, in the 12 months period after
leaving the service, in professional contacts aiming at lobbying or advocacy,
towards staff of the Commission on behalf of Facebook or its companies on
matters related to the work she carried out during the last 3 years of service (i.e.
February 2017 to February 2020). This prohibition only applies to matters in
which she worked personally
and in which she may
exceptionally have exercised responsibility
for specific files, cases, decisions or
legislative proposals working for I.D.E.A. This prohibition to lobby does not
affect general exchanges of and on publicly available information, her work on
interdisciplinary research, collaborative projects and organising thought
provoking seminars and events;
Ms SALLA was also reminded to always make her new employment status clear
to her interlocutors, in the framework of the requested activity, and that she does
not represent in any way the views or position of the Commission;
Ms SALLA was furthermore reminded of the statutory obligation to refrain from
any unauthorised disclosure of information received in the line of duty during her
work at the Commission, unless that information has already been made public or
is accessible to the public (pursuant to Article 17 of the Staff Regulations), and, in
this context, to refrain from exploiting insights of a confidential nature in policy,
strategy or internal processes that she may have acquired in the line of service and
that have not yet been public or are not commonly available in the public domain;
Ms SALLA was finally reminded of the obligation to inform the Commission if
she intends to engage also in any new occupational activity within 2 years after
leaving the service. She was reminded of the fact that any activity must comply
also with other statutory obligations, notably Articles 16 and 19 of the Staff
Regulations concerning respectively the duty to behave with integrity and
discretion as regards the acceptance of certain appointments or benefits and the
unauthorised disclosure of information received in the line of duty in any legal
proceedings, and with Articles 19, 20 and 21 of Commission Decision C(2018)
4048 on outside activities and assignments and on occupational activities after
leaving the Service.
Furthermore, I can provide you with some information on the last posts held by Ms
SALLA, with regard to the relevant period assessed as regards any potential conflict of
interest in the framework of Article 16 of the Staff Regulations, she worked as an
Administrator (Policy Analyst) between 9 December 2019 and 29 February 2020, at
Inspire, Debate, Engage and Accelerate Action (I.D.E.A.), and between 1 February 2017
and 8 December 2019 at the European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC).
I would like to remind you that Corporate Observatory Europe remains subject to the
provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 on the protection of natural persons with regard
to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, (General Data
Protection Regulation)4 according to which personal data must, inter alia
, be processed
fairly and lawfully and subject to the unambiguous consent of the data subject concerned.
Finally, please be informed that a copy of this letter will be sent to the person 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:
or by email to: email@example.com
4 Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the
protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement
of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation), OJ L 119,
4.5.2016, p. 1.
Electronically signed on 24/06/2020 10:32 (UTC+02) in accordance with article 4.2 (Validity of electronic documents) of Commission Decision 2004/563