Negotiating mandate, text and related correspondence of the EU and Germany for the TiSA

The authority would like to / has responded by postal mail to this request.

Dear Trade (TRADE),

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:

1) the negotiating mandate of the Federal Republic of Germany for the TiSA.

2) the content of all correspondence (including e-mails) between the European Commission and representatives of the German Government (especially German Ministry of Economy) on TiSA (between the exploratory talks of the "Really Good Friends of Services" in 2012 and today).

3) what individuals and organizations (private, social or public) have had so far (up to the date of application) access to all or part of the proposed proviosions of the TiSA. Please give me:
a) the names of these institutions and the names and positions of persons,
b) date of availability of documents,
c) their scope and
d) the purpose of availability, as well as
e) the legal basis on which this access was granted.

4) the most recent (draft) text of the TiSA.

If applicable, please kindly make available all existing language versions.

With kind regards,
Florian Wagner

Dear Mr Wagner,

Your request for access to documents has been registered with the ref. number 2014/1420. This message is an acknowledgement of receipt.
In accordance with Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, you will receive a reply within 15 working days (02/04/2014).

Yours faithfully,

Laura Saija
Access to Documents

European Commission
DG TRADE
Unit A3 - Information, communication and civil society
CHAR 7/90
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
+32 2 29 83078
[email address]

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Dear Mr Wagner,

Subject: Your application for access to documents – Ref GestDem No 2014/1420

We refer to your request for access to documents, registered on 12/03/2014 under the above mentioned reference number.
Your application is currently being handled. However, an extended time limit is needed as your application concerns a large number of documents.

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 28/04/2014.
We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.
Yours faithfully,

Access to Documents

European Commission
DG TRADE
Unit A3 - Information, communication and civil society
CHAR 7/90
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

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Dear Madame or Sir,

as you might have noticed has the extended time limit for the request with the reference number Ref GestDem No 2014/1420 expired.

Since the next round of negotiations has already started I would like to extend the time period mentioned in my initial request to also cover the current round of negotiations.
I am aware that DG Trade seems to experience some difficulty in delivering requested information on time so I am looking forward to receive a satisfactory answer until Monday, 5th May.

Kind regards,
Florian Wagner.

1 Adjuntos

Dear Mr Wagner,

 

We refer to your access to documents requests, registered under the above
mentioned reference numbers.

Both of your applications are currently being handled, however, as you
have noticed we were not able to complete the handling of your application
within the time limit which expired on 28/04/2014.

An extended time limit is needed as your application as your application
concerns large number of documents. All of these documents need to be
assessed individually. Such a detailed analysis together with the need to
consult the third parties concerned in accordance with Article 4(4)cannot
be carried out within the normal time limits set out in Article 7 of
Regulation 1049/2001.

Article 6(3) provides that "in the event of an application relating to a
very long document or to very large number of documents, the institution
concerned may confer with the applicant informally, with a view to finding
a fair solution".

 

Based on this provision, and taking into account your request to extend
the request for documents (GestDem No 2014/1422) to the current round of
negotiations, as well as, having consulted the unit in charge of
collecting the material, we would like to propose you end of June as a new
deadline, for both requests. If we are able to reply sooner we will make
sure you receive replies as soon as possible.

 

We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.

Yours faithfully,

Indre

 

Access to Documents

[1]http://ec.europa.eu/trade/images/ec-logo...
European Commission
DG TRADE
Unit A3 - Information, communication and civil society

CHAR 3/3
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
+32 2 295 61 07

 

References

Visible links

1 Adjuntos

Dear Mr Wagner,

 

We refer to your access to documents requests, registered under the above
mentioned reference numbers.

Both of your applications are currently being handled, however, as you
have noticed we were not able to complete the handling of your application
within the time limit which expired on 28/04/2014.

An extended time limit is needed as your application as your application
concerns large number of documents. All of these documents need to be
assessed individually. Such a detailed analysis together with the need to
consult the third parties concerned in accordance with Article 4(4)cannot
be carried out within the normal time limits set out in Article 7 of
Regulation 1049/2001.

Article 6(3) provides that "in the event of an application relating to a
very long document or to very large number of documents, the institution
concerned may confer with the applicant informally, with a view to finding
a fair solution".

 

Based on this provision, and taking into account your request to extend
the request for documents (GestDem No 2014/1422) to the current round of
negotiations, as well as, having consulted the unit in charge of
collecting the material, we would like to propose you end of June as a new
deadline, for both requests. If we are able to reply sooner we will make
sure you receive replies as soon as possible.

 

We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.

Yours faithfully,

Indre

 

Access to Documents

[1]http://ec.europa.eu/trade/images/ec-logo...
European Commission
DG TRADE
Unit A3 - Information, communication and civil society

CHAR 3/3
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
+32 2 295 61 07

 

References

Visible links

Dear Mr Wagner,
Could you kindly provide us with your full postal address. As in line with the procedural requirements we should send you paper copy of the decision.
Than you

Access to Documents
European Commission
DG TRADE
Unit A3 - Information, communication and civil society
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

Dear Mr Wagner,
We did not receive your address. Could you please provide it to us

Thank you
Access to Documents
European Commission
DG TRADE
Unit A3 - Information, communication and civil society
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

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Dear Mr Wagner,
This is the third tentative of gathering your address.
We are not able to send you the material requested. Please provide us with your full postal address by the end of the week, otherwise we will be obliged to close your request.
Thank you for your understanding

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Dear Mr Wagner,

Unfortunately you have not indicated your postal address that is required for registering and handling your request in line with the procedural requirements. After several tentative we did not receive your reply.
We will then close your AtD request 2014-1420 and 2014-1422.
Should you still be interested in receiving the documents requested you may, of course, use directly the electronic form for entering your request:
http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/... many tentative we did not get your reply, therefore we are unable to send you the reply to your request of access to documents.
Thank you
Access to Documents
European Commission
DG TRADE
Unit A3 - Information, communication and civil society
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

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Re: TiSA meeting documents (ref. number 2014/1422) / Negotiating mandate, text and related correspondence of the EU and Germany for the TiSA (ref. number 2014/1420)

Dear Trade (TRADE),

thank you for your email in which you asked me to provide my full postal address.

I think it is reasonable to assume that I won't send you my postal address without you explaining what it is that you need to send me which you cannot send by email.
In your first request to disclose my postal address, dated May 12th, you said you need it in order to send me a “paper copy of the decision“. What decision are you talking about? And why is it not possible to send it by email?
Then, in your second request dated May 19th, you just asked for the address, no reason given.
In your third request dated May 21st you seem to have changed your mind and need my postal address now in order to provide me with the documents I requested. Does it mean that the documents are not available in electronic form? And, more importantly, does it mean that you are able to go below the deadline of end of June you gave in your email dated May 5th?
Then, in your fourth request dated May 27th, you say that you want to close my request. Why would you do that when the deadline you have provided yourself expires only end of June?

So, I would be grateful for some clarification as well as a reasonable explanation why it is that you need my postal address.

Secondly, I noticed that you did not respond to my suggestions presented in my previous email dated May 6th, ref. Number 2014/1422, to split up the documents and release them in batches. Are you still planning on releasing all documents on the same date?

I had also argued that the Commission by now must have put together a list of documents falling under my request. Did the Commission proceed in that way?

Furthermore, in my initial request I asked for “a list of meetings of DG Trade officials and/or representatives (including the Commissioner and the Cabinet) and representatives of individual companies, including lobby consultancies and law firms, and/or industry associations, in which the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) negotiations were dealt with (between January 2012 and today)”.
In your previous email dated May 5th you cited Article 6 (3) of Regulation 1049/2001 stating that "in the event of an application relating to a very long document or to very large number of documents, the institution concerned may confer with the applicant informally, with a view to finding a fair solution".
I am surprised by this answer because unless it turns out that there have been hundreds of meetings I am not convinced that this is a request of the kind to which Article 6(3) applies.

So I am concerned that my request - on an issue of major public interest - could suffer unjustified delay. To clarify this matter, I would like to reiterate my earlier suggestion that it would be appropriate for the Commission to put together a full list of all meetings falling under my request and subsequently provide me with that list. Similarly I would appreciate receiving a list of all correspondence falling under my request together with a precise timeline for when the documents will be released.

Thank you in advance.

With kind regards,
Florian Wagner.

Dear Mr Wagner,

From the first of April the Secretary General has given us a new rule on the access to documents` procedure.
Every applicant is obliged to provide an official full postal address in order to receive the original, signed reply by registered mail.

The decision we were talking about in the e-mail of 12/05 was the letter signed by TRADE together with the first batch of documents, as previously agreed with you. You would receive both a copy by mail and a copy by registered mail, as by procedure.
In the second mail , dated 19/05, we asked you again for your address, for the same reason. Needless to repeat the reason already explained in the mail of 12/05.
In the mail of 21/05 we did not change mind, simply asked you for the third time to provide us with a valid address where to send you the letter. I repeat that, despite of having electronic copy of the documents, by procedure we must send you original paper version of the letter, signed by TRADE.
In our last mail, we informed you that since you never replied to us we would have closed the request. We tried to get a reply four times. End of June is the deadline you agreed to receive the second batch of documents.
I hope this explanations are enough to reply all your doubts.
Since we need an official registration number for every AtD request, I kindly invite you to re-submit the request, together with your full postal address, so that we can proceed sending you the first part of the reply. You may, of course, use directly the electronic form for entering your request:
http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/...

Thank you

Access to Documents
European Commission
DG TRADE
Unit A3 - Information, communication and civil society
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

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Dear Trade (TRADE),

thank you very much for your reply in which you explain that the Secretary General has given you a new rule on the access to documents procedure stating that applicants are as of April 1st, 2014, obliged to provide an official full postal address, and asked me to re-submit my request.

I am surprised, not in a good way, that I need to remind the Commission of the European Union's fundamental legal principles of legal certainty and of legitimate expectations.

Even if I would grant any external effects to DG Trade's internal rules of procedure, which I do not, I would like to point out that my application dates back to March 12, 2014, meaning that it cannot be affected by any later rule change. Also, the above cited rule is nowhere to be found on the website you provided a link to. A rule which is not publicly available cannot be followed.
In addition, Regulation 1049/2001, Article 6 (1) requires the application only to be in writing; it does not require the applicant to use the Commission's web form nor to attach the official full postal address nor is the Commission empowered to enact such a rule.

I therefore strongly suggest that you dispatch the documents immediately and without any further deliberate, undue delay.

With kind regards,
Florian Wagner.

Dear Mr Wagner,
It looks we did not received your postal address.
Could you kindly provide it to us so that we can send you the reply to the below mentioned request.
Thank you
DG TRADE

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Dear Mr Wagner,
Since you did not provide us with your postal address, we are now closing your request 2014/1422.
Should you wish to open a new request of access to documents, please note that providing with your full postal address is a condition to access the service.
Thank you,
DG TRADE

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Dear Mr Wagner,
Since you did not provide us with your postal address, we are now closing your request 2014/1420.
Should you wish to open a new request of access to documents, please note that providing with your full postal address is a condition to access the service.
Thank you,
DG TRADE

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Dear Trade (TRADE)!

Thank you for your response, in which you ask for my postal address, which you state is "required" for registering and handling my request in line with the "procedural requirements".

I would like this to be considered as a confirmatory application against your refusal to process my request without a postal address.

The right of access to EU documents is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 42 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and set out in Article 15 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. My request was made in exercise of that right.

Article 15 of the TFEU makes clear that the principles for and limits on exercise of the right of access to documents “shall be determined by the European Parliament and the Council, by means of regulations, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure” and that any Rules of Procedure adopted by the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the EU must be “in accordance with [these] regulations.” The Regulation currently in force is Regulation 1049/2001.

According to Regulation 1049/2001, the only things which may be "required" of an applicant in order for a request to be registered are found in Article 6.1, which includes an exhaustive list: applications must be made in "any written form", in one of the official languages, and in a "sufficiently precise manner to enable the institution to identify the document". I have met all of these requirements.

At no point does the Regulation mention that the requester must provide his or her postal address before the request can even be registered.

Indeed, since it was adopted in 2001, many requesters have exercised the right to documents under this Regulation without the need to provide a postal address.

Furthermore, the Regulation states that requests for access to documents should be handled "promptly" and in Article 15 there is an explicit reference to the need to "develop good administrative practices in order to facilitate the exercise of the right of access guaranteed by this Regulation."
The refusal to register a request if the citizen involved does not provide a postal address is contrary to the principles of good administration which require that officials “shall in particular avoid restricting the rights of the citizens … when those restrictions … are not in a reasonable relation with the purpose of the action pursued” (Code of Good Administrative Behaviour, Article 6). Delaying registering a request for want of a postal address in the 21st Century when emails are a common means of communicating with public administrations is an unnecessary impediment. It also serves to delay the processing of requests sent to the institutions, which constitutes an unreasonable and disproportionate impediment to the exercise of the fundamental right of access to EU documents.

Finally, in your response you have not indicated which "procedural requirements" you are referring to, which leaves me little certainty as to which procedural steps I now need to follow in order to exercise my right of access to documents. I am therefore requesting a copy of these requirements in order to know where I stand legally.

At the same time, since I am interested in obtaining the documents requested and have already been waiting for a response to my request since March 12 2014, please find Access Info's postal address below, as I do not consider it reasonable or appropriate to have to provide my personal details to the European Commission before you will process a request to exercise my fundamental rights:

Cava San Miguel 8 4C
Madrid
28005
Spain

I look forward to your prompt response.

Yours Sincerely,

Florian Wagner

Dear Mr Wagner,

In our previous correspondence we have informed you that we are unable to register your request for access to documents in the absence of a valid postal address. We wish to recall in this regard that since 1 April 2014, the Commission requires applicants to submit a valid and complete postal address. The decision to ask for a postal address was triggered by the following considerations:

 The need to obtain legal certainty as regards the date of receipt of the reply by the applicant under Regulation 1049/2001. Indeed, as foreseen by Article 297 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), […] decisions which specify to whom they are addressed, shall be notified to those to whom they are addressed and shall take effect upon such notification. Replies triggering the possibility for administrative or judicial redress are therefore transmitted via registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt. This requires an indication of a valid postal address by the applicant;

 The need to direct the Commission's scarce resources first of all to those requests which have been filed by "real" applicants. With only a compulsory indication of an e-mail address, applicants can easily introduce requests under an invented identity or under the identity of a third person. Asking for a postal address helps the Commission to protect the administration, as well as other citizens and legal persons, from abuse;

 For similar reasons, asking for a compulsory indication of a postal address enables the Commission services to verify whether Article 6(3) of the Regulation, on voluminous requests, is being evaded by introducing several requests under different identities. Indeed, in its Ryanair judgment, the General Court confirmed that Article 6(3) cannot be evaded by splitting the application into a number of applications. The Commission would like to point out that, in 2012/2013, it received some 57 confirmatory requests from what it suspects to be one single applicant operating under 13 different identities;

 Knowing whether the applicant is an EU resident in the sense of Article 2(1) of Regulation 1049/2001 is a precondition for the purpose of correctly applying the exception in Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation 1049/2001 (protection of the privacy and integrity of the individual), which has to be interpreted in accordance with Data Protection Regulation 45/2001. Article 9 of Regulation 45/2001 requires the adequacy of the level of protection afforded by the third country or international organisation when transmitting personal data to third-country residents or legal persons. It follows that, in case of requests for documents which include personal data, the correct application of the data protection rules cannot be ensured in the absence of a postal address enabling the Commission to ascertain that the minimum data protection standards will be respected.

All of these considerations show that the request for and the consequent processing of a postal address is not only appropriate but also strictly necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest within the meaning of Article 5 (a) of Data Protection Regulation 45/2001, namely providing a smooth and effective access to documents.

The Commission's new approach of requesting applicants for a valid postal address was introduced precisely because of the various problems encountered by the Commission in its previous practice (legal uncertainty, false identities used etc.), as pointed out above. It is evident that if the Commission were to accept generic postal addresses, as the one provided by you - an office address of Access Info in Mardid - the above-mentioned problems would not be addressed and the procedural requirement for a valid postal address would in practice be effectively by-passed.

Consequently, we cannot accept the address provided by you below and we kindly reiterate our request to you to provide us with your postal address (and not a generic one), so that we can duly register and handle your request. Please note that, once we receive your postal address, we will register your access to documents request accordingly.

Please be also informed that, as your application has not been dealt with yet at the initial level pending the receipt of your postal address, your message cannot be considered a confirmatory application in the meaning of Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001.

The European Data Protection Supervisor has also recently confirmed that the Commission's requirement for applicants in access to documents requests to submit their postal address is compatible with Regulation 45/2001.

Best regards,
DG TRADE

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Dear Trade (TRADE),

please send all documents to the following address:

[NAME]
[ADDRESS]

I am looking forward to your prompt response!

Yours faithfully,

Florian Wagner