DG MARKT contacts with Clifford Chance

Dear Internal Market and Services (MARKT),

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as
developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting all documents,
including notes of minutes, emails and other correspondence,
relating to contacts between staff of DG MARKT and staff of law
firm Clifford Chance, between January 2008 and February 2013.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel Tansey

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

Dear Ms Tansey,
 
We refer to your email of 6 February 2013, in which you submit a request
for access to all documents, including notes of minutes, emails and other
correspondence, relating to contacts between staff of the
Directorate-General Dear Internal Market and Services (MARKT) and staff of
law firm Clifford Chance, between January 2008 and February 2013.
 
This is a very broadly formulated request, which would require extensive
searches on different locations. It is not really feasible to retrieve
documents on these criteria. In particular, for a significant part of the
period covered by your request, there is no central electronic archiving
of correspondence. Therefore, searches in paper files would be necessary,
which would be very labour-intensive and time consuming.
 
Furthermore, correspondence with law firms may cover very different
subjects and some of it is likely to be confidential in nature.
 
Consequently, we are unable to handle your request in its present form. We
would kindly ask you to make a more targeted request.
 
Yours sincerely,  
 
Alvydas Stancikas
Head of Unit Markt B3
 
 
 
 

Dear Internal Market and Services (MARKT),

In accordance with your request for a more targeted access to documents request - due to the labour-intensive and time consuming nature of dealing with my request as previously formulated - I will narrow the time period and scope of my request as follows.

I will reduce the time span of my request to one year, from February 2012 to February 2013. I trust that this will address the issue of having no central electronic archiving of correspondence, for a significant part of the period covered by my original request (Jan 2008-Feb 2013).

Furthermore, since Clifford Chance is a large, multinational law firm, with branches all over the world, I will reduce the scope of my request to cover only correspondence between staff of DG MARKT
and three particular branches of Clifford Chance: the Brussels, Paris and London offices of Clifford Chance.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel Tansey

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

Dear Ms Tansey,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 6/2/2013 and your e-mail dated 14/02/2013 giving clarifications concerning your request for access to documents. We hereby acknowledge receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered today on 14/2/2013 under reference number GestDem 2013/830.

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 7/3/2013. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due course.

Yours sincerely,
Didier Boulouque

Commission européenne
DG Marché intérieur et services
Unité B-3: Application du droit du marché unique
B-1049 Bruxelles
Tél: 00.32.2.295.08.14
Fax: 00.32.2.299.21.06
e-mail: [email address]

Nous trouver sur le web: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market
De l'information concernant les droits tirés de l'UE: http://ec.europa.eu/youreurope
Votre opinion: Debate on the Single Market Act

mostrar partes citadas

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

Dear Ms Tansey,

Subject: Your application for access to documents – Ref GestDem No 2013/830
We refer to your e-mail dated 6/2/2013 in which you make a request for access to documents, registered on 14/2/2013 under the above mentioned reference number.
Your application is currently being handled. However, we will not be in a position to complete the handling of your application within the time limit of 15 working days, which expires today on 7/3/2013.
An extended time limit is needed as your application need to retrieve and assess the documents requested.

Therefore, we have to extend the time limit with 15 working days in accordance with Article 7(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents. The new time limit expires on 2/4/2013.
We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.
Yours sincerely,
Didier Boulouque

Commission européenne
DG Marché intérieur et services
Unité B-3: Application du droit du marché unique
B-1049 Bruxelles
Tél: 00.32.2.295.08.14
Fax: 00.32.2.299.21.06
e-mail: [email address]

Nous trouver sur le web: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market
De l'information concernant les droits tirés de l'UE: http://ec.europa.eu/youreurope
Votre opinion: Debate on the Single Market Act

mostrar partes citadas

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

Dear Ms Tansey,
Subject: Your application for access to documents – Ref GestDem No 2013/830
We refer to your e-mail dated 6/2/2013 and 14/2/2013 in which you make a request for access to documents, registered on 14/2/2013 under the above mentioned reference number.

Your application concerns several documents that we have been able to retrieve and which need to be assessed individually. Some consultations are necessary outside and inside the Commission. Such a detailed analysis cannot be carried out within the normal time limits set out in Article 7 of Regulation 1049/2001.

The analysis of these documents, together with the need to consult in accordance with Article 4(4) 4(5) of Regulation 1049/2001, cannot be expected to be completed within the normal time limits set out in Article 7 of Regulation 1049/2001 (2/4/2013).

However, the Regulation also provides for a possibility to confer with applicants in order to find a fair solution when an application concerns documents for which consultations are required. For these reasons, we propose to give you an answer no later than at the end of April.

If you have any question, please free to contact us:
Thank you in advance for your understanding.
Yours sincerely,
Didier Boulouque

Commission européenne
DG Marché intérieur et services
Unité B-3: Application du droit du marché unique
B-1049 Bruxelles
Tél: 00.32.2.295.08.14
Fax: 00.32.2.299.21.06
e-mail: [email address]

Nous trouver sur le web: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market
De l'information concernant les droits tirés de l'UE: http://ec.europa.eu/youreurope
Votre opinion: Debate on the Single Market Act

mostrar partes citadas

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #355 email]

This message and all replies from Internal Market and Services
(MARKT) will be published on the AsktheEU.org website. For more
information see our dedicated page for EU public officials at
http://www.asktheeu.org/en/help/officers


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

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

1 Adjuntos

Dear Ms Tansey,

Please find attached the answer to your request.

Best regards,

Tinne Tombeur
Secretary to the Head of Unit
 

European Commission
DG Internal Market and Services
Unit B3 – Application of Single Market Law and Relations with the European Parliament

SPA2 07/065
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
//+32 2 29 91567
[email address]

Help save paper - do you need to print this email?

Disclaimer required under the terms and conditions of use of the Internet and electronic mail from Commission equipment: "The views expressed are purely those of the writer and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission."

Dear Internal Market and Services (MARKT),

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews [EC Secretariat-General, Unit SG/B/5, [email address] - unfortunately asktheeu.org does not enable me to send the request for internal review directly.]

I am writing to request an internal review of Internal Market and Services (MARKT)'s handling of my FOI request 'DG MARKT contacts with Clifford Chance'.

I hereby submit a confirmatory application of my initial request to DG MARKT of 6 February 2013, clarified and narrowed on 14 February 2013, and registered on 14/2/2013 under reference number GestDem 2013/830. This request to DG MARKT was for all correspondence between DG MARKT and law firm Clifford Chance (London, Paris and Brussels' offices only) between February 2012 ans February 2013 (http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/dg_ma...). DG MARKT responded to my request on 23 May 2013 (12 working days ago).

I would like to challenge the refusal of access to the fourth file that fell under the scope of my request, namely letters by Clifford Chance on behalf of its clients, which DG MARKT refused access to on the grounds that “the possibility to disclose these letters must be assessed taking into account the overall scope of your request, which concerns correspondence of Clifford Chance with all Commission departments. Disclosing correspondence of Clifford Chance on behalf of its clients with all Commission departments would reveal a considerable part of the commercial activity of Clifford Chance.” DG MARKT then referred to Article 4(2), first indent of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, which provides the exception to access to documents if their disclosure “would undermine the protection of (...) commercial interests of a natural or legal person (...)”. They elaborated that this includes protection of professional secrecy, in particular to “information about undertakings, their business relations or their cost components”, elaborated in case law (T-198/03 of the Court of First Instance) as information “known to a limited number of persons and whose disclosure is liable to cause serious harm to the person who has provided it or to third parties, whereas the interests liable to be harmed by disclosure must be objectively worthy of protection.” Finally, DG MARKT notes that whilst Article 4(2) requires that access shall not be refused where an “overriding public interest” justifies disclosure, no such public interest could be identified in this case.

I would firstly like to dispute the premise upon which the refusal is based, that the overall scope of my request was for correspondence of Clifford Chance and all Commission departments. This is not the case, as my request GestDem 2013/830, dated 6/2/2013 and refined on 14/02/2013 quite clearly shows – the request is for correspondence between Clifford Chance London, Paris and Brussels offices only (3 offices out of their total 36 offices, see http://www.cliffordchance.com/content/cl...) and DG MARKT only. I therefore request a review of the refusal of access to these letters on the grounds that “disclosing correspondence of Clifford Chance on behalf of its clients with all Commission departments would reveal a considerable part of the commercial activity of Clifford Chance”. This is not what my request was for, and correspondence between only one Commission DG and only 3 out of 36 offices of a multinational law firm, for one year only, can hardly face the same argument that this would constitute a considerable part of their commercial activity.

I further note that on 4 February 2013 I did make a request to DG SG for all correspondence between the European Commission and Clifford Chance (http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/all_c...), but this request was refused. I have since then submitted requests to some (but not all) Commission DGs about correspondence between that individual DG and three branches of Clifford Chance. This does not equate to “correspondence of Clifford Chance on behalf of its clients with all Commission departments”. Moreover, each request has been dealt with on an individual basis by the respective DG, with some documents disclosed, in full or part, and others withheld (for various reasons, partly covered by exceptions, as dictated by Regulation 1049/2001), but none have invoked this argument about commercial protection as made by DG MARKT, making it odd at best, and spurious at worst.

This first dispute based on the scope of my request notwithstanding, I would also like to address the issue of overriding public interest, and make the case that there is an overriding public interest in releasing these documents, by giving a bit of background context.

The EU's Joint Transparency Register – which is voluntary – covers all organisations involved in interest representation (lobbying), including law firms who offer lobbying services. Law firms who lobby on behalf of clients have proved very reluctant to embrace transparency and largely boycott the register or fail to disclose clients, to the detriment of EU citizens' right to know who is trying to influnece their laws, on behalf of whom and with what budgets. Clifford Chance, on its webpage 'political advocacy strategy' offers clients assistance in “shaping law and policy as it evolves” and further notes that clients need to know “how best to represent your interests to government” and that Clifford Chance “offer a blend of legal and political expertise and can assist in preparing position papers, approaching government or the EU institutions, campaigning, responding to public consultations, advising on the parliamentary and political process, and drafting and tabling amendments to proposed legislation” (http://www.cliffordchance.com/legal_area...). These are very clearly lobbying services, and therefore fall, explicitly and indisputably, under the European Commission and European Parliament's definition of interest respresenation, as covered by the Joint Transparency Register.*

Thus, Clifford Chance offers lobbying services to clients, but has chosen not to be transparent about which companies etc it is lobbying for, on which issues, at EU level, by not signing up to the Transparency Register. It is therefore not possible for citizens to exercise their right to know about lobbying. It is in this context that this request to DG MARKT about correspondence between Clifford Chance and the Brussels, Paris and London offices (those most likely to be lobbying the EU institutions) has been made – in order to gauge if and for which clients Clifford Chance is lobbying DG MARKT. The public interest in these documents is made greater by this summer's two year review of the Joint Transparency Register, in which the issue of law firms who lobby will be quite crucial. Despite their reluctance to be transparent about their lobbying activities (i.e. to be on a level playing field with other lobbying actors such as lobby consultancies etc) various law firms – particularly those not registered – have expressed opinions that they should have exceptional treatment for their lobbying activity, or have tried to argue that they are not engaged in lobbying, when evidence suggests that they are. These letters by Clifford Chance on behalf of its clients to DG MARKT, would provide insight into the (potential) lobbying activities that one such unregistered law firm is involved in, and help shed light onto the issue of lobbying law firms, which is vitally needed in this time of review.

I furthermore wish to request clarification of the statement relating to the third file (emails between DG MARKT and Clifford Chance), which were released to me in part, that “the Commission has received these documents from Clifford Chance. They are disclosed for information purposes only and cannot be re-used without the agreement of the originator, who holds a copyright on it.” I would like to request an explanation of what is meant by Clifford Chance holding a copyright on these emails, i.e. what does this mean in practice? Did they take a copyright out on them, or are email exchanges copyrighted by the sender if they simply state that they own the copyright on them? This is the first time I have come across an invocation of copyright in this context, and I am eager to understand the implications and legal basis for this statement.

I look forward to your response within 15 working days.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel Tansey

N.B. A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.asktheeu.org/request/dg_markt...

* Interest representation - or lobbying - covers "activities carried out with the objective of directly or indirectly influencing the formulation or implementation of policy and the decision-making processes of the EU institutions, irrespective of the channel or medium of communication used, for example outsourcing, media, contracts with professional intermediaries, think-tanks, platforms, forums, campaigns and grassroots initiatives. These activities include, inter alia, contacting Members, officials or other staff of the EU institutions, preparing, circulating and communicating letters, information material or discussion papers and position papers, and organising events, meetings or promotional activities and social events or conferences, invitations to which have been sent to Members, officials or other staff of the EU institutions. Voluntary contributions and participation in formal consultations on envisaged EU legislative or other legal acts and other open consultations are also included." http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexU...

Pam Bartlett,

Subject: Acknowledgement of receipt - Request under Regulation
1049-2001 for access to documents held by the European Commission -
GESTDEM 2013-0830 - TANSEY
Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2013 07:59:18 +0000
From: <[email address]>
To: <[FOI #355 email]>

Dear Mrs Tansey,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 07/06/2013, registered on 10/06/2013. I
hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents (ref.: Ares(2013)1903358 – *gestdem 2013-0830*).

In accordance with Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, you will receive
a response to your request within 15 working days (01/07/2013).

Yours sincerely,

Paul SIMON
European Commission - Secretariat General
Unit SG.B.5, Transparency

From: Rachel Tansey [mailto:[FOI #355 email]]

Sent: Friday, June 07, 2013 4:55 PM

To: MARKT DOSSIERS ACCES

Subject: Internal review of access to information request - DG MARKT
contacts with Clifford Chance

Dear Internal Market and Services (MARKT),

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of

Information reviews [EC Secretariat-General, Unit SG/B/5,

[email address] <mailto:[email address]> - unfortunately
asktheeu.org does not

enable me to send the request for internal review directly.]

I am writing to request an internal review of Internal Market and

Services (MARKT)'s handling of my FOI request 'DG MARKT contacts

with Clifford Chance'.

I hereby submit a confirmatory application of my initial request to

DG MARKT of 6 February 2013, clarified and narrowed on 14 February

2013, and registered on 14/2/2013 under reference number GestDem

2013/830. This request to DG MARKT was for all correspondence

between DG MARKT and law firm Clifford Chance (London, Paris and

Brussels' offices only) between February 2012 ans February 2013

(http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/dg_ma...).

DG MARKT responded to my request on 23 May 2013 (12 working days

ago).

I would like to challenge the refusal of access to the fourth file

that fell under the scope of my request, namely letters by Clifford

Chance on behalf of its clients, which DG MARKT refused access to

on the grounds that “the possibility to disclose these letters must

be assessed taking into account the overall scope of your request,

which concerns correspondence of Clifford Chance with all

Commission departments. Disclosing correspondence of Clifford

Chance on behalf of its clients with all Commission departments

would reveal a considerable part of the commercial activity of

Clifford Chance.” DG MARKT then referred to Article 4(2), first

indent of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, which provides the

exception to access to documents if their disclosure “would

undermine the protection of (...) commercial interests of a natural

or legal person (...)”. They elaborated that this includes

protection of professional secrecy, in particular to “information

about undertakings, their business relations or their cost

components”, elaborated in case law (T-198/03 of the Court of First

Instance) as information “known to a limited number of persons and

whose disclosure is liable to cause serious harm to the person who

has provided it or to third parties, whereas the interests liable

to be harmed by disclosure must be objectively worthy of

protection.” Finally, DG MARKT notes that whilst Article 4(2)

requires that access shall not be refused where an “overriding

public interest” justifies disclosure, no such public interest

could be identified in this case.

I would firstly like to dispute the premise upon which the refusal

is based, that the overall scope of my request was for

correspondence of Clifford Chance and all Commission departments.

This is not the case, as my request GestDem 2013/830, dated

6/2/2013 and refined on 14/02/2013 quite clearly shows – the

request is for correspondence between Clifford Chance London, Paris

and Brussels offices only (3 offices out of their total 36 offices,

see

http://www.cliffordchance.com/content/cl...)

and DG MARKT only. I therefore request a review of the refusal of

access to these letters on the grounds that “disclosing

correspondence of Clifford Chance on behalf of its clients with all

Commission departments would reveal a considerable part of the

commercial activity of Clifford Chance”. This is not what my

request was for, and correspondence between only one Commission DG

and only 3 out of 36 offices of a multinational law firm, for one

year only, can hardly face the same argument that this would

constitute a considerable part of their commercial activity.

I further note that on 4 February 2013 I did make a request to DG

SG for all correspondence between the European Commission and

Clifford Chance


(http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/all_c...),

but this request was refused. I have since then submitted requests

to some (but not all) Commission DGs about correspondence between

that individual DG and three branches of Clifford Chance. This does

not equate to “correspondence of Clifford Chance on behalf of its

clients with all Commission departments”. Moreover, each request

has been dealt with on an individual basis by the respective DG,

with some documents disclosed, in full or part, and others withheld

(for various reasons, partly covered by exceptions, as dictated by

Regulation 1049/2001), but none have invoked this argument about

commercial protection as made by DG MARKT, making it odd at best,

and spurious at worst.

This first dispute based on the scope of my request

notwithstanding, I would also like to address the issue of

overriding public interest, and make the case that there is an

overriding public interest in releasing these documents, by giving

a bit of background context.

The EU's Joint Transparency Register – which is voluntary – covers

all organisations involved in interest representation (lobbying),

including law firms who offer lobbying services. Law firms who

lobby on behalf of clients have proved very reluctant to embrace

transparency and largely boycott the register or fail to disclose

clients, to the detriment of EU citizens' right to know who is

trying to influnece their laws, on behalf of whom and with what

budgets. Clifford Chance, on its webpage 'political advocacy

strategy' offers clients assistance in “shaping law and policy as

it evolves” and further notes that clients need to know “how best

to represent your interests to government” and that Clifford Chance

“offer a blend of legal and political expertise and can assist in

preparing position papers, approaching government or the EU

institutions, campaigning, responding to public consultations,

advising on the parliamentary and political process, and drafting

and tabling amendments to proposed legislation”


(http://www.cliffordchance.com/legal_area...).

These are very clearly lobbying services, and therefore fall,

explicitly and indisputably, under the European Commission and

European Parliament's definition of interest respresenation, as

covered by the Joint Transparency Register.*

Thus, Clifford Chance offers lobbying services to clients, but has

chosen not to be transparent about which companies etc it is

lobbying for, on which issues, at EU level, by not signing up to

the Transparency Register. It is therefore not possible for

citizens to exercise their right to know about lobbying. It is in

this context that this request to DG MARKT about correspondence

between Clifford Chance and the Brussels, Paris and London offices

(those most likely to be lobbying the EU institutions) has been

made – in order to gauge if and for which clients Clifford Chance

is lobbying DG MARKT. The public interest in these documents is

made greater by this summer's two year review of the Joint

Transparency Register, in which the issue of law firms who lobby

will be quite crucial. Despite their reluctance to be transparent

about their lobbying activities (i.e. to be on a level playing

field with other lobbying actors such as lobby consultancies etc)

various law firms – particularly those not registered – have

expressed opinions that they should have exceptional treatment for

their lobbying activity, or have tried to argue that they are not

engaged in lobbying, when evidence suggests that they are. These

letters by Clifford Chance on behalf of its clients to DG MARKT,

would provide insight into the (potential) lobbying activities that

one such unregistered law firm is involved in, and help shed light

onto the issue of lobbying law firms, which is vitally needed in

this time of review.

I furthermore wish to request clarification of the statement

relating to the third file (emails between DG MARKT and Clifford

Chance), which were released to me in part, that “the Commission

has received these documents from Clifford Chance. They are

disclosed for information purposes only and cannot be re-used

without the agreement of the originator, who holds a copyright on

it.” I would like to request an explanation of what is meant by

Clifford Chance holding a copyright on these emails, i.e. what does

this mean in practice? Did they take a copyright out on them, or

are email exchanges copyrighted by the sender if they simply state

that they own the copyright on them? This is the first time I have

come across an invocation of copyright in this context, and I am

eager to understand the implications and legal basis for this

statement.

I look forward to your response within 15 working days.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel Tansey

N.B. A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is

available on the Internet at this address:

http://www.asktheeu.org/request/dg_markt...

* Interest representation - or lobbying - covers "activities

carried out with the objective of directly or indirectly

influencing the formulation or implementation of policy and the

decision-making processes of the EU institutions, irrespective of

the channel or medium of communication used, for example

outsourcing, media, contracts with professional intermediaries,

think-tanks, platforms, forums, campaigns and grassroots

initiatives. These activities include, inter alia, contacting

Members, officials or other staff of the EU institutions,

preparing, circulating and communicating letters, information

material or discussion papers and position papers, and organising

events, meetings or promotional activities and social events or

conferences, invitations to which have been sent to Members,

officials or other staff of the EU institutions. Voluntary

contributions and participation in formal consultations on

envisaged EU legislative or other legal acts and other open

consultations are also included."

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexU...

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

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:

[FOI #355 email]
<mailto:[FOI #355 email]>

This message and all replies from Internal Market and Services

(MARKT) will be published on the AsktheEU.org website. For more

information see our dedicated page for EU public officials at

http://www.asktheeu.org/en/help/officers

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

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

2 Adjuntos

Dear Ms Tansey,
Kindly find the answer to your confirmatory application concerning your
request for access to documents pursuant to Regulation (EC) N° 1049/2001
regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission
documents (Gestdem 2013/830).
Yours sincerely,
 
Carlos Remis
SG.B.5.
Transparence.
Berl. 05/329.