Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
By registered letter with
acknowledgment of receipt
Ms Rachel Tansey
Corporate Europe Observatory
Rue d'Edimbourg 26
Advance copy by email
Subject: Request for access to documents – GESTDEM No. 2018/6883
Dear Ms Tansey,
Thank you for your e-mail of 13 December 2018 which was registered on 19/12/2018 under
reference number GestDem 2018/6883, requesting access to documents under Regulation (EC)
No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission
documents (OJ L145, 31 May 2001, page 43 and following).
SCOPE OF YOUR REQUEST
Your e-mail requested access to documents as follows:
“(i) a list of meetings between DG GROW officials and/or representatives (including the
Commissioner and her Cabinet) and
- representatives of collaborative economy platform companies (such as, but not limited to,
Amazon (including Amazon Mechanical Turk/ ‘MTurk’), Deliveroo, TaskRabbit, Upwork,
HomeAway, ClickWorker, Wimdu, Interhome, etc);
- consultancies or law firms acting for any of these companies (such as, but not limited to, FIPRA
International, FTI Consulting, Covington & Burling, Technology Policy Advocates, acumen
public affairs, Gide Loyrette Nouel, Flint Europe, EUROS / AGENCY, Delany & Covely, etc);
- representatives of Consumer Choice Center, Sharing Economy Ireland, Asociación Española de
la Economía Digital (adigital), and/or any other collaborative economy platform interest
- representatives of cross-sectoral industry federations (such as, but not limited to,
BusinessEurope and AmCham EU),
Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111
Office: BREY - 14/110 - Tel. direct line +32 229-66379
at which the Collaborative Economy Communication, or follow-up to it, was discussed (since
(ii) minutes and other reports of these meetings
(iii) all correspondence (including emails) between DG GROW officials and/or representatives
(including the Commissioner and Cabinet) and representatives of the entities listed in part (i),
concerning the Collaborative Economy Communication, or follow-up to it, since January 2015.”
By letter of 24 January 2019, you further clarified that your request “concerning the
Collaborative Economy Communication, or follow-up to it
” is meant to cover “meetings and
documents in which the 2016 Communication was subject of discussion
”. You also agreed to
narrow the scope of your request to the period 1st January 2016 to 31st December 2017.
According to your request, you were only interested in meetings and correspondence with
representatives of collaborative economy platform companies
, consultancies or law firms
acting for any of these companies, collaborative economy platform interest groups
representatives of cross-sectoral industry federations
We would like to point out that the European Commission, during the same period of time, has
met and had correspondence with further stakeholders, including trade unions and consumer
DESCRIPTION OF DOCUMENTS IDENTIFIED
We have identified eleven documents that match the scope of your request related to the
collaborative economy. The list of these documents is in annex. Please note that documents
which concern on-going investigations about potential infringements of Union law are covered
by the exceptions of Article 4(2) third indent and Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001
and are therefore not included in this list of documents.
Eight documents relate to meetings held between the Directorate-General for Internal Market,
Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and the mentioned associations and companies. Please note
that the content of the reports of meetings with the third parties were drafted by the Commission;
therefore they represent the Commission’s interpretation of what was discussed in the meetings and
were not verified by the third parties.
Three documents include correspondence between the Directorate-General for Internal Market,
Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and the associations and companies at stake. 3.
ASSESSMENT ON DISCLOSURE
All the documents to which you have requested access contain personal data.
Four documents are disclosed with protection of personal data only. One of those relates to a
meeting held and three to correspondence with those associations and companies.
Pursuant to Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, access to a document has to be refused
if its disclosure would undermine the protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual, in
particular in accordance with European Union legislation regarding the protection of personal data.
The applicable legislation in this field is Regulation (EC) No 2018/1725 of the European Parliament
and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the
processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free
movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC
Indeed, Article 3(1) of Regulation 2018/1725 provides that personal data ‘means any information
relating to an identified or identifiable natural person […]’. The Court of Justice has specified that
any information, which by reason of its content, purpose or effect, is linked to a particular person is
to be considered as personal data.1
Please note in this respect that the names, signatures, functions, telephone numbers and/or initials
pertaining to staff members of an institution are to be considered personal data.2
In its judgment in Case C-28/08 P (Bavarian Lager
)3, the Court of Justice ruled that when a request
is made for access to documents containing personal data, the Data Protection Regulation becomes
Pursuant to Article 9(1)(b) of Regulation 2018/1725, ‘personal data shall only be transmitted to
recipients established in the Union other than Union institutions and bodies if ‘[t]he recipient
establishes that it is necessary to have the data transmitted for a specific purpose in the public interest
and the controller, where there is any reason to assume that the data subject’s legitimate interests
might be prejudiced, establishes that it is proportionate to transmit the personal data for that specific
purpose after having demonstrably weighed the various competing interests’.
Only if these conditions are fulfilled and the processing constitutes lawful processing in accordance
with the requirements of Article 5 of Regulation 2018/1725, can the transmission of personal data
According to Article 9(1)(b) of Regulation 2018/1725, the European Commission has to examine the
further conditions for a lawful processing of personal data only if the first condition is fulfilled,
namely if the recipient has established that it is necessary to have the data transmitted for a specific
purpose in the public interest. It is only in this case that the European Commission has to examine
whether there is a reason to assume that the data subject’s legitimate interests might be prejudiced
and, in the affirmative, establish the proportionality of the transmission of the personal data for that
specific purpose after having demonstrably weighed the various competing interests.
In your request, you do not put forward any arguments to establish the necessity to have the data
transmitted for a specific purpose in the public interest. Therefore, the European Commission does
not have to examine whether there is a reason to assume that the data subject’s legitimate interests
might be prejudiced.
Notwithstanding the above, please note that there are reasons to assume that the legitimate interests
of the data subjects concerned would be prejudiced by disclosure of the personal data reflected in the
1 Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 20 December 2017 in Case C-434/16, Peter
Nowak v Data Protection Commissioner
, request for a preliminary ruling, paragraphs 33-35,
2 Judgment of the General Court of 19 September 2018 in case T-39/17, Port de Brest v Commission
3 Judgment of 29 June 2010 in Case C-28/08 P, European Commission v The Bavarian Lager Co. Ltd
EU:C:2010:378, paragraph 59.
4 Whereas this judgment specifically related to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament
and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of
personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data, the
principles set out therein are also applicable under the new data protection regime established by
documents, as there is a real and non-hypothetical risk that such public disclosure would harm their
Consequently, I conclude that, pursuant to Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation 1049/2001, access cannot be
granted to the personal data, as the need to obtain access thereto for a purpose in the public interest
has not been substantiated and there is no reason to think that the legitimate interests of the
individuals concerned would not be prejudiced by disclosure of the personal data concerned.
In case you would disagree with the assessment that the redacted data are personal data which can
only be disclosed if such disclosure is legitimate under the applicable rules on the protection of
personal data, you are entitled, in accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, to submit a
confirmatory application requesting the Commission to review this position.
Seven documents can be partially disclosed since disclosure is also prevented by exception to the
right of access laid down in Article 4(2) of this Regulation.
The redacted parts of the documents contain commercially sensitive business information of the
companies that met the Commission representatives. Disclosure of these parts would undermine
the protection of commercial interests of a natural or legal person, including intellectual property.
The exception laid down in Article 4(2) of the Regulation applies unless there is an overriding
public interest in disclosure of the documents.
From your request, we cannot see a public interest in making the content of the document public,
which would outweigh the harm disclosure would cause to the interest protected by the invoked
4. MEANS OF REDRESS
In accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, you are entitled to make a confirmatory
application requesting the Commission to review this position.
Such a confirmatory application should be addressed within 15 working days upon receipt of this
letter to the Secretary-General of the Commission at the following address:
Transparency, Document Management & Access to Documents (SG.C.1)
or by email to: [adresse e-mail]
Annexes: Document register
List of meetings with the requested associations and companies