Travel expenses of ESA Director-General

Esperando una revisión interna por parte de Agencia de Abastecimiento de Euratom de cómo han respondido a esta solicitud.

Dear EURATOM Supply Agency,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am hereby requesting access to the travel expenses of ESA's Director-General, for the period 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016 inclusive.

I am looking for documents that contain, for each of the trips, the following information:
- Place of origin and destination, and the amount spent on travel or transportation;
- Exact dates and duration of the trip;
- Amount spent on accommodation;
- Amount spent on subsistence;
- Other information, such as possible miscellaneous costs.

If the travel was by air taxi and a team of people were travelling, please also provide documents with details on the other travellers (at a minimum, names and job titles).

With respect to personal information contained in any documents that you might have, I note that the only information being sought here is the name and surname of ESA's Director-General, something which is already in the public domain. This request does not seek access to any other personal information such as bank account details. Nor am I requesting data such as the office addresses, signatures or telephone numbers of ESA staff members.

I remain at your disposition to answer any questions or clarifications you might have related to this request.

Thank you in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Luisa Izuzquiza
Access Info Europe

Agencia de Abastecimiento de Euratom

1 Adjuntos

Dear Ms Uzuzquiza

Please find attached a reply to your request for access to documents, of 16 January 2018..

Kind regards,

Ivanka Nenova-Simeonova

European Commission
Euratom Supply Agency
Euroforum Building EUFO 02/168
10, rue Robert Stumper
L-2557 Luxembourg
Tel.: +352 4301 38972
e-mail: [email address]

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Dear EURATOM Supply Agency,

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

I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to our access to documents request ‘Travel expenses of ESA Director-General’.

On 16 January 2018 I filed an access to information request asking for documents that contain the following information: “the travel expenses of ESA's Director-General, for the period 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016 inclusive.” My request was registered under reference number ener.aae.dir(2018)301067.

On 31 January 2018 the Euratom Supply Agency (ESA) responded to the access to documents request refusing access to the requested information under Article 4 (1) (b) of Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council, and Commission documents.

In this regard, I consider that:

I. Contrary to the ESA’s assessment, disclosure of the information requested would not “undermine the protection of the privacy and the integrity of individuals.”

In the first place, I would like to recall the specific language included in my initial request in regards to personal information:
“With respect to personal information contained in any documents that you might have, I note that the only information being sought here is the name and surname of ESA's Director-General, something which is already in the public domain. This request does not seek access to any other personal information such as bank account details. Nor am I requesting data such as the office addresses, signatures or telephone numbers of ESA staff members.”

Indeed, from the personal details that the requested documents might include, I’m only interested in information (i.e.: name, surname and job title of the ESA’s Director-General) that is already in the public domain – see: http://ec.europa.eu/euratom/organization... Because of this fact, the ESA’s assertion that disclosure of the requested information would undermine Ms Marian O'Leary’s privacy and integrity is manifestly incorrect.

As stated above, aside from the aforementioned information regarding the ESA’s Director-General, am not interested in the travel expenses of any other Commission official, and I am not interested in accessing information of any other ESA staff member.

To this extent, given that the requested information (the travel expenses) refers merely to Ms O’Leary, I would assume that the overwhelming majority of details the documents contain are related to the ESA Director-General, and not to other ESA staff members.

If personal information of other ESA staff members is included among the requested information (such as the name and identification of the person processing the request), I would assume this content to be minimal within the total amount of information requested, and could therefore be easily redacted, leaving the rest of the document (i.e.: the actual content of Ms O’Leary’s travel expenses) as suitable for disclosure.

II. Information on the spending of public funds by public officials when conducting public business cannot be considered private information.

The information requested merely relates to – one would hope and assume – travel expenses resulting from official ESA trips; it is therefore certain that disclosure does not reveal anything relating to the private life of the ESA Director-General. Hence, there is no specific and adverse effect that will arise from the publication of this data.

On the contrary, the requested information has undeniable value when it comes to assessing and evaluating how public funds are being spent by public officials when conducting public functions.

To this regard I would like to point out that the right of access to documents as established in the EU treaties has at its heart the goal “to promote good governance and ensure the participation of civil society”. High levels of transparency on spending are necessary to achieve that goal.

Furthermore, European Commission senior officials should be standard bearers for the highest standards of probity and this can only be ascertained by having details about the way in which, and on what, they are spending public funds.

III. Transparency of travel expenses is a proven achievable accountability standard.

To finalise, I would like to point out that, to date, the information hereby requested has already been published by 40 other EU agencies and institutions in response to the exact same access to documents request.

This proves that disclosure of the requested information is indeed possible, and that transparency of senior officials’ travel expenses does not undermine the protection of any individual’s privacy and integrity.

I am hereby urging the ESA to:
- Rectify its preliminary assessment where it states that the disclosure of the requested information would undermine the protection of privacy and integrity; and
- Provide the requested documents.

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

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any clarification in regards to any aspect of my request.

Thank you in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Luisa Izuzquiza
Access Info Europe

EC ARES NOREPLY,

1 Adjuntos

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

[5]Ares(2018)1021004 - access to documents request - Travel expenses of
ESA Director-General

Sent by NENOVA-SIMEONOVA Ivanka (ENER) <[email address]>. All
responses have to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par NENOVA-SIMEONOVA Ivanka (ENER) <[email address]>.
Toutes les réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Ms Izuzquiza,

 

As indicated in our letter of 31^st January 2018 (Ref. Ares(2018)576592),
please address your confirmatory application to the Secretary-General of
the European Commission at the following address:

European Commission

Secretary-General

Transparency unit SG-B-4

BERL 5/282

B-1049 Bruxelles

or by email to: [6][email address]

 

Yours sincerely,

Ivanka Nenova-Simeonova

Secretary to the Director-General

[7]cid:image001.png@01CD95B5.47A2C040

European Commission

Euratom Supply Agency

 

Euroforum Building EUFO 02/168

10, rue Robert Stumper

L-2557 Luxembourg

Tel.: +352 4301 38972

e-mail: [8][email address]

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D3ABF3.F959F060
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/ext/doc...
6. mailto:[email address]
8. mailto:[email address]

Luisa Izuzquiza,

Dear Secretariat General,

Please pass this on to the person who reviews confirmatory applications.
This appeal was filed on 21 February 2018 to the Euratom Supply Agency,
which asked me to redirect it to the European Commission Secretariat
General.

I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to my
access to documents request ‘Travel expenses of ESA Director-General’.

On 16 January 2018 I filed an access to information request asking for
documents that contain the following information: “the travel expenses of
ESA's Director-General, for the period 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016
inclusive.” My request was registered under reference number
ener.aae.dir(2018)301067.

On 31 January 2018 the Euratom Supply Agency (ESA) responded to the access
to documents request refusing access to the requested information under
Article 4 (1) (b) of Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council, and Commission documents.

In this regard, I consider that:

I. Contrary to the ESA’s assessment, disclosure of the information
requested would not “undermine the protection of the privacy and the
integrity of individuals.”

In the first place, I would like to recall the specific language included
in my initial request in regards to personal information:
“With respect to personal information contained in any documents that you
might have, I note that the only information being sought here is the name
and surname of ESA's Director-General, something which is already in the
public domain. This request does not seek access to any other personal
information such as bank account details. Nor am I requesting data such as
the office addresses, signatures or telephone numbers of ESA staff
members.”

Indeed, from the personal details that the requested documents might
include, I’m only interested in information (i.e.: name, surname and job
title of the ESA’s Director-General) that is already in the public domain
– see: [1]http://ec.europa.eu/euratom/organization... Because of this
fact, the ESA’s assertion that disclosure of the requested information
would undermine Ms Marian O'Leary’s privacy and integrity is manifestly
incorrect.

As stated above, aside from the aforementioned information regarding the
ESA’s Director-General, am not interested in the travel expenses of any
other Commission official, and I am not interested in accessing
information of any other ESA staff member.

To this extent, given that the requested information (the travel expenses)
refers merely to Ms O’Leary, I would assume that the overwhelming majority
of details the documents contain are related to the ESA Director-General,
and not to other ESA staff members.

If personal information of other ESA staff members is included among the
requested information (such as the name and identification of the person
processing the request), I would assume this content to be minimal within
the total amount of information requested, and could therefore be easily
redacted, leaving the rest of the document (i.e.: the actual content of Ms
O’Leary’s travel expenses) as suitable for disclosure.

II. Information on the spending of public funds by public officials when
conducting public business cannot be considered private information.

The information requested merely relates to – one would hope and assume –
travel expenses resulting from official ESA trips; it is therefore certain
that disclosure does not reveal anything relating to the private life of
the ESA Director-General. Hence, there is no specific and adverse effect
that will arise from the publication of this data.

On the contrary, the requested information has undeniable value when it
comes to assessing and evaluating how public funds are being spent by
public officials when conducting public functions.

To this regard I would like to point out that the right of access to
documents as established in the EU treaties has at its heart the goal “to
promote good governance and ensure the participation of civil society”.
High levels of transparency on spending are necessary to achieve that
goal.

Furthermore, European Commission senior officials should be standard
bearers for the highest standards of probity and this can only be
ascertained by having details about the way in which, and on what, they
are spending public funds.

III. Transparency of travel expenses is a proven achievable accountability
standard.

To finalise, I would like to point out that, to date, the information
hereby requested has already been published by 40 other EU agencies and
institutions in response to the exact same access to documents request.

This proves that disclosure of the requested information is indeed
possible, and that transparency of senior officials’ travel expenses does
not undermine the protection of any individual’s privacy and integrity.

I am hereby urging the ESA to:
- Rectify its preliminary assessment where it states that the disclosure
of the requested information would undermine the protection of privacy and
integrity; and
- Provide the requested documents.

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

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any clarification in
regards to any aspect of my request.

Thank you in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Luisa Izuzquiza
Access Info Europe

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