Dear Environment,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I would like to request a list of all lobby meetings (including phone calls, conference calls etc) held by DG Environment since 1 March 2020 where single-use plastics were discussed, including in the light of the developing coronavirus pandemic. The list should include the names of the individuals and organisations participating; the date; and any minutes / notes produced. I would additionally like to receive any emails or other correspondence related to single use plastics during this time period.

Please provide all responses electroniclaly via this site.

Yours faithfully,

Vicky Cann
CEO
Rue d'Edimbourg 26
1050 Brx

Medio Ambiente

4 Adjuntos

Dear Madam,

 

Thank you for your e-mail of 17 April 2020. We hereby acknowledge receipt
of your application for access to documents, which was registered on 20
April 2020 under reference number GESTDEM 2020/2238.

 

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, your application
will be handled within 15 working days. The time limit will expire on 12
May 2020. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be
informed in due course.

 

You have lodged your application via a private third-party website, which
has no link with any institution of the European Union. Therefore, the
European Commission cannot be held accountable for any technical issues or
problems linked to the use of this system.

 

Please note that the private third party running the AsktheEU.org website
is responsible and accountable for the processing of your personal data
via that website, and not the Commission. For further information on your
rights, please refer to the third party’s privacy policy.

 

We understand that the third party running the AsktheEU.org website
usually publishes the content of applicants’ correspondence with the
Commission on that website. This includes the personal data that you may
have communicated to the Commission (e.g. your private postal address).

 

Similarly, the third party publishes on that website any reply that the
Commission will send to the email address of the applicants generated by
the AsktheEU.org website.

 

If you do not wish that your correspondence with the Commission is
published on a private third-party website such as AsktheEU.org, you can
provide us with an alternative, private e-mail address for further
correspondence.  In that case, the Commission will send all future
electronic correspondence addressed to you only to that private address,
and it will use only that private address to reply to your request. You
should still remain responsible to inform the private third-party website
about this change of how you wish to communicate with, and receive a reply
from, the Commission.

 

 

Yours faithfully,

 

DG ENVIRONMENT

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM

 
[1]cid:image001.gif@01D0EB13.FFE86270
European Commission
DG Environment
Directorate E-Implementation & Support to Member States

Unit E4 - Compliance & Better Regulation

B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

 

Website: [2]http://ec.europa.eu/environment

Follow us on:
[3]cid:image001.jpg@01D2723E.68BD2210 [4]cid:image002.jpg@01D2723E.68BD2210 [5]cid:image003.png@01D2723E.68BD2210

 

 

 

 

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Medio Ambiente

2 Adjuntos

On behalf of Mr Mattia Pellegrini HOU ENV B.3

 

Dear Ms Cann,

 

Please find attached the above mentioned reply to your request.

 

Best regards,

 

HAROULA KOZIS

Assistant

 

[1]cid:image001.gif@01D627A7.C1CFEFA0

European Commission

Directorate-General for Environment

Waste Management & Secondary Materials

 

BU-9 05/102

B-1160 Auderghem/Belgium

+32 229-86037

[2][email address]

 

References

Visible links
2. mailto:[email address]

KOZIS Haroula, Medio Ambiente

1 Adjuntos

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
Link: [3]themeData
Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

[5]Ares(2020)2916911 - RE: Ares(2020)2484542-[Re] GESTDEM 2020/2238 -
Initial request - IR and AR

Sent by KOZIS Haroula (ENV) <[email address]>. All responses
have to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par KOZIS Haroula (ENV) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Ms Cann,

I am contacting you with regards your access to document request mentioned
here above.

Due to the magnitude of your request and resource restraints, I regret to
inform you that we cannot reach the deadline of today 5 June 2020.

We would need additional time to complete the request. We kindly ask for
an extension until the 10 June 2020.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding.

Best regards,

 

HAROULA KOZIS

Assistant

 

 

European Commission

Directorate-General for Environment

Waste Management & Secondary Materials

 

BU-9 05/102

B-1160 Auderghem/Belgium

+32 229-86037

[6][email address]

 

 

 

From: KOZIS Haroula (ENV)
Sent: Monday, May 11, 2020 4:09 PM
To: '[FOI #7862 email]'
<[FOI #7862 email]>
Cc: ENV ACCESS DOCUMENTS <[DG ENV request email]>
Subject: Ares(2020)2484542-[Re] GESTDEM 2020/2238 - Initial request - IR
and AR

 

On behalf of Mr Mattia Pellegrini HOU ENV B.3

 

Dear Ms Cann,

 

Please find attached the above mentioned reply to your request.

 

Best regards,

 

HAROULA KOZIS

Assistant

 

[7]cid:image001.gif@01D627A7.C1CFEFA0

European Commission

Directorate-General for Environment

Waste Management & Secondary Materials

 

BU-9 05/102

B-1160 Auderghem/Belgium

+32 229-86037

[8][email address]

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D63B43.E33669D0
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...
6. mailto:[email address]
8. mailto:[email address]

Dear KOZIS Haroula,
Thank you for the update.

Yours sincerely,

Vicky Cann

Medio Ambiente



 

Thank you for your message.

 

I am currently out of the office. I will be back on Monday 15 June 2020.

 

For urgent matters please contact our FMB at : [email address]

 

Stay safe!!

 

Kind regards,
Haroula Kozis

 

 

Dear Environment,

Is there any update to GESTDEM 2020/2238 please? It was originally tabled on 17 April 2020. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Vicky Cann

Medio Ambiente

1 Adjuntos

Dear Ms Cann,

 

Sorry for the late reply, please find attached the reply of your request
GESTDEM 2020/2238.

The list of documents can be found here:

[1]https://we.tl/t-eaofDutcmK

 

Best regards,

 

Marina

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. https://we.tl/t-eaofDutcmK

Dear Environment,

Please can you repost the documents for 2020/2238? I have not yet seen them.

Yours faithfully,

Vicky Cann

Medio Ambiente

Dear Ms Cann,

Please find below the link of wetransfer with the requested documents. Please note that the link is available only 48h

https://we.tl/t-jZfHZ5cUio

Best regards

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Dear Environment,

Please pass this on to the person who reviews confirmatory applications.

I am filing the following confirmatory application, submitted as set out in Article 7(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, with regards to my access to documents request 'DG ENV: Plastics industry lobbying since 1 March 2020', GESTDEM 2020/2238.

In your response you correctly summarise that my request sought documents relating to a list of all lobby meetings (including phone calls, conference calls, etc.) held by DG Environment since 1 March 2020 where single-use plastics were discussed, including in the light of the developing coronavirus pandemic. The list should include the names of the individuals and organisations participating, the date, and any minutes / notes produced. This should also include any emails or other correspondence related to single use plastics during this time period.

In your response you state that you identified 67 documents that fell within the scope of my request. 65 of these documents were released to me via a time limited Wetransfer link, with personal data redacted under Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.

You then refused access to the following two documents, identified as falling under the scope of my request, under Article 4 paragraph 2 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001:

- Email: “Freshfel Europe input on guidance on identifying and describing the products
covered by the SUP Directive (WP1)”, from Freshfel, addressed to DG ENV, 17 April 2020,
reference Ares(2020)2511371.
- Email: “SUP Input Unilever’, from Unilever, addressed to DG ENV, 17 April 2020,
reference Ares(2020)2511371.

You state that these documents originated from third parties and they contain commercially sensitive business information, and the companies concerned have expressly refused access to this information provided to the Commission. You expressly state that

“Disclosure of these documents would undermine the protection of commercial interests of a natural or legal person, including intellectual property, as referred to in Article 4 paragraph 2 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. Disclosing the documents could reveal information that is linked to production processes and marketing of products, which could affect the competitive position of the parties that have provided the information, and negatively impact the level playing field between operators.”

You then state that, in your opinion, there is no overriding public interest that would allow the disclosure of these documents.

You then address the topic of copyright, expressly stating:

“All the documents subject to your request originating from third parties are disclosed to you based on Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. However, this disclosure is without prejudice to the rules on intellectual property, which may limit your right to reproduce or exploit the released documents without the agreement of the originator, who may hold an intellectual property right on them. The European Commission does not assume any responsibility from their reuse.”

You make a final comment stating:

“In addition, I would like to kindly ask you and Corporate Europe Observatory not to put in your website the documents disclosed under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 in the framework of the present request for access to documents since the cover letter contain personal data and the documents disclosed are subject to the copyright of the rights holders. In order to avoid any further infringement of the applicable data protection rules, in particular Regulation (EU) 2018/17251 and the copyright provisions, I kindly ask you to remove any such documents from the AskTheEU website and to inform me as soon as this has been done, so that we can reassure the data subjects concerned.”

In this confirmatory application, I would like to address concerns I have about the reply received from DG Environment dated 7 July 2020.

1. Documents released using time limited Wetransfer link

I was very surprised to find that documents were released to me via a time limited Wetransfer link via the AsktheEU.org site, one that has since expired. When I asked for the documents to be reposted, a further Wetransfer link was provided, but I was told that that would only be available for 48h.

The right of access to information is a fundamental human right that is linked to freedom of expression, as protected by Article 10 European Convention on Human Rights, which states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

In responding to my access to documents request with a time limited Wetransfer link, you are essentially limiting public access to these documents. If this is due to your copyright and personal data concerns, I would like to enquire as to why you would release the documents to me, a member or the public, if you were not willing for these documents to be widely shared.

In addition, this approach is also contradictory. The documents have been published via the public platform AsktheEU.org, albeit temporarily. Anyone could have downloaded them and further shared them. It does not make sense to publicly release documents, then to refuse to publish them permanently.

I would like to enquire on what grounds the decision to provide the documents via Wetransfer was made.

I can confirm that the Ask the EU site is perfectly able to handle such a large document upload.

2. There does in fact exist an overriding interest in disclosure

I would like to challenge the Commission’s refusal to grant me the following 2 documents:

- Email: “Freshfel Europe input on guidance on identifying and describing the products
covered by the SUP Directive (WP1)”, from Freshfel, addressed to DG ENV, 17 April 2020,
reference Ares(2020)2511371.
- Email: “SUP Input Unilever’, from Unilever, addressed to DG ENV, 17 April 2020,
reference Ares(2020)2511371.

You refuse disclosure of these documents under Article 4(2) Regulation 1049/2001 which states that access can be refused where disclosure would undermine the protection of commercial interests of a natural or legal person, including intellectual property. While this exception is subject to an overriding public interest, you state that there is no such interest in this case.

I would like to expressly state that I do not agree with your assessment, as there does in fact exist an overriding public interest in the release of these documents and the Commission has not provided adequate justification for the non-release.

There is indeed an overriding public interest rationale for the Commission to be fully open with the public about the lobbying that it receives. Article 15 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states:

In order to promote good governance and ensure the participation of civil society, the Union's institutions, bodies, offices and agencies shall conduct their work as openly as possible.

EU institutions are under an obligation to take decisions as openly and closely as possible to the citizens. There should be no place for lobbying of the Commission that is kept entirely secret, especially when it is by those with commercial interests in EU policy-making.

I note that in your response, you say that “the companies concerned have expressly refused access to this information provided to the Commission”. However, while private companies are free to point out what they consider to be confidential data, they are not in a position to veto disclosure of documents.

This is not the first time that I have challenged the non-disclosure of lobby documents at the Commission; in the recent case of 2020/490 I was provided with the missing documents after a confirmatory application similar to this one. I ask that the Commission re-consider the decision to refuse access to the documents.

3. Apparent release of personal data and breach of copyright

Personal data

You expressly ask Corporate Europe Observatory not to publish the documents due to concerns of the release of personal data. Yet on page one, you state that the “personal data” from the released documents have been redacted:

complete disclosure of the identified documents is prevented by the exception concerning the protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual outlined in Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, because they contain personal data

I would like to enquire why you have expressly asked Corporate Europe Observatory not to publish the documents due to protection of personal data, when in fact you had stated that personal data had been redacted.

For the record, I can confirm, that I do not wish to receive personal data such as signatures and contact details.

Copyright

Regarding copyright of the released documents, you state:

“All the documents subject to your request originating from third parties are disclosed to you based on Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. However, this disclosure is without prejudice to the rules on intellectual property, which may limit your right to reproduce or exploit the released documents without the agreement of the originator, who may hold an intellectual property right on them. The European Commission does not assume any responsibility from their reuse.”

You state that the documents disclosed are “subject to the copyright of the rights holders”, due to this and to avoid any further infringement of copyright provisions, you ask for the documents to be removed from AsktheEU.org.

Yet, you have not clarified or explained which elements of which documents are covered by this provision. In addition, in line with the previous argument, I would like to enquire why you released documents, on a public platform, to a member of the public in response to an access to documents request, if these documents couldn’t be widely shared?

How is it, that the Commission can publicly disclose these documents to me, a member of the public, yet I am now restricted in sharing these documents under copyright?

Please could you explain the legal rationale behind this.

I ask the Commission to urgently review this decision, to withdraw the final paragraph of the 7 July letter, and to permanently publish the 65 lobby documents on the AsktheEU.org website, as indeed has been repeatedly done before, including very recently for very similar requests to this one, by other Directorate-Generals ie. GESTDEM 2020/2219 and GESTDEM 2020/2223, and to provide access to the two excluded documents due to an overriding public interest in disclosure.

A full history of my request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/dg_e...

A full history of my request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/dg_e...

Yours faithfully,

Vicky Cann

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Medio Ambiente

1 Adjuntos

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
Link: [3]themeData
Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

[5]Ares(2020)3818904 - Your confirmatory application GESTDEM 2020/2238

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Madam,

 

Thank you for your email dated 17 July 2020 by which you request, pursuant
to Regulation No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament,
Council and Commission documents, a review of the position taken DG ENV in
reply to your initial application GESTDEM 2020/2238.

 

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents which was registered on 20 July 2020 (Ares(2020)3818722).

 

Your application will be handled within 15 working days (11/08/2020). In
case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due
course.

 

Please be informed that the answer to your confirmatory application is a
formal Commission decision that will be notified to you by express
delivery. Thank you for providing your contact phone number, so that the
external delivery service can contact you in case of absence.

 

Please note that the Commission will not use your phone number for any
other purpose than for informing the delivery service, and that it will
delete it immediately thereafter.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM (GD)

 

[6]cid:image001.png@01D45409.F767C980

European Commission

Secretariat-General

SG C.1

[7][email address]

 

 

 

 

 

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Medio Ambiente

1 Adjuntos

Dear Ms Cann,

We refer to your email of  20 July 2020, registered on the next day, by
which you submit a confirmatory application in accordance with Article
7(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents[1]^[1] ("Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001").

 

Your confirmatory application is currently being handled. Unfortunately,
we have not yet been able to gather all the elements needed to carry out a
full analysis of your request and to take a final decision. Therefore, we
were not in a position to reply to your confirmatory request within the
prescribed time limit which expires on 11 August 2020.

 

Consequently, we have to extend this period by another 15 working days in
accordance with Article 8(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. The new
deadline expires on 01/09/2020.

 

We regret this additional delay and sincerely apologise for any
inconvenience this may cause. However, we can assure you that we are doing
our utmost to provide you with a final reply as soon as possible.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

María OLIVÁN AVILÉS
Head of Unit

[2]cid:image001.gif@01D13362.41D673C0

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit C.1 (Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents

 

 

 

------------------------

------------------------

[3][1]               Official Journal L 145 of 31.5.2001, p. 43.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/foiextract20200929-1805-wrne6#_ftn1
3. file:///tmp/foiextract20200929-1805-wrne6#_ftnref1

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Medio Ambiente

1 Adjuntos

Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
Link: [3]themeData
Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

[5]Ares(2020)4470216 - HOLDING REPLY FOR GESTDEM 2020-2238

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Ms Cann,

We refer to your email of  20 July 2020, registered on the next day, by
which you submit a confirmatory application in accordance with Article
7(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents[6]^[1] ("Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001"). We also refer to our holding letter of 11 August 2020.

 

Your application in currently being handled. Unfortunately, we have not
yet been able to gather all the elements required to carry out a full
analysis of your request in order to take a decision, due to ongoing
internal consultations.

 

Therefore, we regret to inform you hereby that we will not be in a
position to reply to your request within the prescribed time limit which
expires on 1 September 2020.

 

We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause but
we would like to assure you that we will do our utmost to provide you with
a reply as soon as possible.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

María OLIVÁN AVILÉS
Head of Unit

[7]cid:image001.gif@01D13362.41D673C0

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit C.1 (Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents)

 

 

 

 

 

------------------------

[8][1]               Official Journal L 145 of 31.5.2001, p. 43.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D67D22.052ACF20
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...
6. file:///tmp/foiextract20200929-1805-rn9vyj#_ftn1
8. file:///tmp/foiextract20200929-1805-rn9vyj#_ftnref1

Dear Environment,

Is there an update to GESTDEM 2020/2238? I tabled the confirmatory application on 17 July 2020 so it is now substantially overdue.

Thanks in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Vicky Cann

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Medio Ambiente

[1]Ares(2020)5154921 - access to documents request - DG ENV: Plastics
industry lobbying since 1 March 2020

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Ms Cann,

Thank you for your kind reminder.

We would like to inform you that we are fully working on your request, the
handling of which was unfortunately delayed due to ongoing internal
consultations.

Please accept our apologies for this delay and for any inconvenience this
may cause. However, we would like to assure you that we will do our utmost
to provide you with a reply as soon as possible.

Thank you for your understanding.

Kind regards,

Access to documents team - cr
SG.C.1
Transparency
Berl. 07/251

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Medio Ambiente

2 Adjuntos

Dear Ms Cann,

Further to your request, we are sending all documents related tot his
request via mail. You will receive several mails due to the volume of the
documents.

Best regards,

ENV B.3 TEAM

 

Medio Ambiente

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Dear Environment,

Thank you for permanently uploading these documents.

Please can you indicate when I will receive a reply to my confirmatory application to 2020/2238?

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Vicky Cann

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Medio Ambiente

[1]Ares(2020)5373630 - GestDem 2020/2238

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[email address]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Ms Cann,

Thank you for your email. 

We would like to inform you that we are fully working on your request.
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide you with an specific deadline when
the final decision will be adopted.

Nonetheless, we would  like to assure you that we are doing our utmost to
provide you with a reply as soon as possible. Please accept our apologies
for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause once again.

Thank you for your understanding.

Kind regards,

Access to documents team (cr)
SG.C.1
Transparency
Berl. 07/251

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