Access to some Council legislative preparatory documents coded as "WK" and not registered in the Council Register of documents

Conseil de l'Union européenne n'avait pas les informations demandées.

Dear Council of the European Union,

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

- in compliance with art. 11 of the cited Regulation 1049/01, a listing of the Council documents coded as "WK" linked to pending EU legislative procedures debated in the Council working groups or by the Coreper in September 2020

- in compliance with art. 12 of the cited Regulation 1049/01, the texts of the following documents : WK 5230/17, WK 12197/17, WK 12197/2017 REV1, WK 10931/17 as well as of the other mre recent WK documents related to the legislative procedure 2016/0107(COD) amending Directive 2013/34/EU as regards disclosure of income tax information by certain undertakings and branches (CBCR).

Yours faithfully,

Emilio De Capitani

Postmaster Consilium, Conseil de l'Union européenne

Your message has been received by the Transparency and Access to Documents Unit of the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union. All requests for access to documents are treated on the basis of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. The General Secretariat will reply to your request within 15 working days upon registration of your request. Requests received before 5 PM on a working day are registered on the same day. Requests received after 5 PM are registered on the first following working day.

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L'unité "Transparence et accès aux documents" du Secrétariat général du Conseil de l'Union européenne a bien reçu votre message. Toutes les demandes d'accès à des documents sont traitées conformément au règlement (CE) n° 1049/2001 du 30 mai 2001 relatif à l'accès du public aux documents du Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission. Le Secrétariat général répondra à votre demande dans un délai de 15 jours ouvrables à compter de l'enregistrement de celle-ci. Les demandes reçues les jours ouvrables avant 17 heures sont enregistrées le jour même. Les demandes reçues après 17 heures sont enregistrées le premier jour ouvrable suivant.

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TRANSPARENCY Access to documents (COMM), Conseil de l'Union européenne

3 Attachments

Please find attached a letter from the General Secretariat of the Council
concerning your request for access to documents.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Transparency

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01CFD3F6.0B583760

 

Council of the European Union

General Secretariat

Directorate-General Communication and Information - COMM

Directorate Information and Outreach

Information Services Unit

 

Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, 175 - B-1048 Bruxelles/Brussel - Belgique/België

[2]www.consilium.europa.eu  |  [3][email address]

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of the writer and may not
be regarded as stating an official position of the Council of the EU

Clause de non-responsabilité: Les avis exprimés n'engagent que leur auteur
et ne peuvent être considérés comme une position officielle du Conseil de
l'UE

 

 

References

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2. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/
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TRANSPARENCY Access to documents (COMM), Conseil de l'Union européenne

9 Attachments

Please find attached a letter from the General Secretariat of the Council
concerning your request for access to documents.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Transparency

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D59F80.749EEBA0

 

General Secretariat of the Council

Directorate-General Communication and Information - COMM
Directorate Information and Outreach
Information Services Unit / Transparency

Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, 175 - B-1048 Bruxelles/Brussel - Belgique/België

[2]www.consilium.europa.eu  |  [3][email address]

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of the writer and may not
be regarded as stating an official position of the Council of the EU

Clause de non-responsabilité: Les avis exprimés n'engagent que leur auteur
et ne peuvent être considérés comme une position officielle du Conseil de
l'UE

 

References

Visible links
2. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/
3. mailto:[email address]

Council Ref. 20/1858-ADD jdg/ns

Dear Representative of the General Secretariat of the Council,

Referring to my initial request of access to some Council legislative preparatory documents coded as "WK" and not registered in the Council Register of documents I have to thank you for the transmission of the list of the 374 WK documents linked to legislative procedures diffused inside the Council in September 2020.

However the fact that none of them has yet been referred on the Council Register seems to me against art. 11 of Regulation 1049/01 which requires them to be published “without delay” on the register of the internal Council documents. Moreover art. 12 of the same Regulation requires the proactive publication of preparatory documents of legislative nature as an essential condition to raise the awareness of the EU citizens on the progress made in the legislative preparatory works. A timely publication on the Institution’s Register seems to me a precondition for :
- Preserving the equality of EU citizens, “who shall receive equal attention from EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies” as stated by art.9.1 TEU;
- Supporting “the right (of every citizen) to participate in the democratic life of the Union” as required by art 10.3 TEU which also states that “Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen”.
- Implementing the EP and Council obligation of ensuring the “..publication of the documents relating to the legislative procedures” required by art.15.3 last al. TFEU.

Needless to say that some of these objectives were already present in Regulation 1049/01 before the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty but are now clearly stated at primary law level and confirmed by the EU Charter of fundamental rights by so acquiring a new constitutional dimension which should not be threatened by the internal practices of the EU institutions. In this perspective, in my opinion the Council practice started in 2011 (and generalised since 2014) of omitting or delaying the publication on the Council Register of thousands of legislative preparatory documents (coded as WK) go against not only art. 11 and 12 of Regulation 1049/01 but hinders the objective of making easier the participation of Citizens to the EU democratic life as required now by the Treaties.

On the second part of my request which was focused specifically on the WK documents linked to the legislative procedure 2016/0107(COD) amending Directive 2013/34/EU as regards disclosure of income tax information by certain undertakings and branches (so called “Country by Country report” - CBCR) I have to thank you for the transmission of some of these WK documents but I don’t share the Council legal reasoning refusing the access to the following legislative preparatory documents :
• Council Presidency Note on the subject (docs WK 14969/17 INIT, as well as WK 14969/17 REV 1);
• Comments received from delegations on CBCR Proposal (doc WK 5230/17);
• Consolidated table with Delegations' contributions (docs WK 12197/17 as well as WK 12197/2017 REV1);
• Delegations comments received after the Working Party meeting on 20 of September 2017 - 06/10/2017 (doc. WK 10931/17;
• As well as document WK 6662/18 INIT (whose subject I have been unable to find as it is not referred in the Council’ Register) .

According to your letter “These documents contain exploratory options and possible compromise solutions relating to an ongoing discussion on a particularly difficult and sensitive legislative file relating to tax transparency and tabled by the previous Commission in 2016. Despite several years of negotiations, no compromise could yet be found for agreeing a Council negotiating position. As a result, the proposal has not been on the Council agenda since Finland's Presidency, on 28 November 2019, in a public deliberation, when no majority could be found on a way to proceed. These documents are not meant to become public at this stage of the negotiation since their release would severely affect the negotiating process and diminish the chances of the Council reaching an agreement on a text. The latter is necessary as a mandate to launch the negotiations with the European Parliament in order to agree on the legislative act. Disclosure of the documents would therefore seriously undermine the decision making-process of the Council.”

In my opinion the Council reasoning does not take into account that since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty the EU Legislative activity has a new constitutional dimension compared to the pre-existing legal situation where legislative activity was incidentally cited only by art. 207.3 TCE, and was focused on the internal organisation of the Council by recognising to this Institution a wide scope of discretion on the way of preserving its decision process.

Regulation 1049/01 still mirror in art.4.3 this situation and unfortunately notwithstanding a parliamentary vote on December 2011 has not yet been amended to take in account the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and notably the new constitutional standing of EU legislative activity.

This situation create a legal tension between the notion of the "proteciton of the Council decision making process" as understood in the Pre-Lisbon era and the new obligations arising directly from the Treaties . The latter define now in a different way than Regulation 1949/01 what has to be considered "legislative activity" and directly establish that legislative preparatory debates should be clearly announced in the draft agendas and held in public (art. 16.8 TEU and art 15.2 TFEU) so that it remains unclear how they should be "protected" from the public scrutiny. In the absence of a clear position of the court of Justice on this tension between two conflicting provisions I am convinced that the new Treaty provisions should override in case of conflict the different provisions of art. 4.3 of Regulation 1049/01 and the Council practices of hiding internal debates until the adoption of EU legislative measures.

For these reasons making proactively accessible the position and the arguments debated by the national delegations (docs WK 5230/17, WK 12197/17, WK 12197/2017 REV1 WK 10931/17 and, maybe WK 6662/18 INIT) seems to me the only way of complying with the Treaties provisions and making Citizens aware of the position of the national delegations inside the Council and on the way how the debate is progressing on a specific legislative procedure such as the CBCR.

I was also surprised of discovering that , apparently, no outcome of proceedings of the Council working group meetings has yet been drafted since 2016 and published on the Council Register by so giving the possibility of understanding indirectly the position of the national delegations. Moreover, also the summary record of the Coreper who discussed this issue before the Competitiveness Council is so elusive that an EU Citizen can hardly have an idea of role played by the national delegations inside the Council. on the CBCR legislative proposal. Furthermore, if “…the proposal has not been on the Council agenda since Finland's Presidency, on 28 November 2019, in a public deliberation, when no majority could be found on a way to proceed” how almost one year after , the publication of the WK documents cited above could undermine the Council decision making process ?
In my opinion the right of an European Citizen of knowing what arguments have been raised by the national delegations may even be stronger if a legislative proposal like the CBCR (which is still strongly supported by the European Parliament ) has stalled or has been abandoned inside the Council. In a recent judgment also the Court of Justice has recognized the right of EU Citizens of understanding the reasons why a proposal is not progressing or has been abandoned (see, mutatis mutandis, the “ClientEarth” 2018 case (Case C 57/16 P). Needless to say the same Court was already very clear is recognizing the right of EU Citizens in knowing the position of the national delegations during a legislative negotiation (see case C-280/11 P, Council of the European Union v Access Info Europe).
The same favor for legislative transparency has been recently shared by the since openness contributes to strengthening democracy by allowing citizens to scrutinize the information which has formed the basis of a legislative act. (See for example p.78 of Judgment of the General Court of 22 March 2018 in Case T-540/15, De Capitani v Parliament.)

Avoiding the redaction of record of the Council working group meetings, delaying or omitting the publication of internal Council preparatory WK documents, hiding the names and the arguments of the national delegations seem to me all initiatives that, taken together, are threatening the very essence of the fundamental right of an EU Citizens to have access to legislative preparatory debates on a given legislative proposal such as the CBCR.

I hereby confirm my demand to grant full public access to the documents WK 5230/2017, WK 12197/2017, WK 12197/2017 REV1, and WK 10931/17 by so making known the positions of the representatives of national Governments who are, according to the Treaty "democratically accountable either to their national Parliaments, or to their citizens".(art.10.2 TEU).

Hoping that this confirmatory request could be accepted I thank you for your attention.

Yours faithfully,

Emilio DE CAPITANI

(*) A full history of my request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at ASK The EU Internet page

Postmaster Consilium, Conseil de l'Union européenne

Your message has been received by the Transparency and Access to Documents Unit of the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union. All requests for access to documents are treated on the basis of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. The General Secretariat will reply to your request within 15 working days upon registration of your request. Requests received before 5 PM on a working day are registered on the same day. Requests received after 5 PM are registered on the first following working day.

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L'unité "Transparence et accès aux documents" du Secrétariat général du Conseil de l'Union européenne a bien reçu votre message. Toutes les demandes d'accès à des documents sont traitées conformément au règlement (CE) n° 1049/2001 du 30 mai 2001 relatif à l'accès du public aux documents du Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission. Le Secrétariat général répondra à votre demande dans un délai de 15 jours ouvrables à compter de l'enregistrement de celle-ci. Les demandes reçues les jours ouvrables avant 17 heures sont enregistrées le jour même. Les demandes reçues après 17 heures sont enregistrées le premier jour ouvrable suivant.

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Ihre Nachricht ist bei der Dienststelle "Transparenz und Zugang zu Dokumenten" des General-sekretariats des Rates der Europäischen Union eingegangen. Alle Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden gemäß der Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und der Kommission bearbeitet. Das Generalsekretariat wird Ihnen binnen fünfzehn Arbeitstagen nach Registrierung Ihres Antrags eine Antwort übermitteln. Anträge, die an einem Arbeitstag vor 17.00 Uhr eingehen, werden noch am selben Tages registriert. Nach 17.00 Uhr eingehende Anträge werden am erstfolgenden Arbeitstag registriert.

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BUNICELU Rodica Nicoleta, Conseil de l'Union européenne

2 Attachments

Dear Mr De Capitani,

 

Please find attached a letter from the General Secretariat of the Council
extending the time limit for the Council to reply to your confirmatory
application for public access under Regulation 1049/2001.

Yours sincerely,

 

Transparency

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D59F80.749EEBA0

 

General Secretariat of the Council

Directorate-General Communication and Information - COMM
Directorate Information and Outreach
Information Services Unit / Transparency

 

Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, 175 - B-1048 Bruxelles/Brussel - Belgique/België

[2]www.consilium.europa.eu  |  [3][email address]

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of the writer and may not
be regarded as stating an official position of the Council of the EU

Clause de non-responsabilité: Les avis exprimés n'engagent que leur auteur
et ne peuvent être considérés comme une position officielle du Conseil de
l'UE

 

 

References

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BUNICELU Rodica Nicoleta, Conseil de l'Union européenne

BUNICELU Rodica Nicoleta would like to recall the message, "Ref. 26/c/01/20-PRO-nb".

BUNICELU Rodica Nicoleta, Conseil de l'Union européenne

2 Attachments

Dear Mr De Capitani,

 

Please find attached a letter from the General Secretariat of the Council
extending the time limit for the Council to reply to your confirmatory
application for public access under Regulation 1049/2001.

Yours sincerely,

 

Transparency

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D59F80.749EEBA0

 

General Secretariat of the Council

Directorate-General Communication and Information - COMM
Directorate Information and Outreach
Information Services Unit / Transparency

 

Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, 175 - B-1048 Bruxelles/Brussel - Belgique/België

[2]www.consilium.europa.eu  |  [3][email address]

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of the writer and may not
be regarded as stating an official position of the Council of the EU

Clause de non-responsabilité: Les avis exprimés n'engagent que leur auteur
et ne peuvent être considérés comme une position officielle du Conseil de
l'UE

 

 

References

Visible links
2. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/
3. mailto:[email address]

BUNICELU Rodica Nicoleta, Conseil de l'Union européenne

2 Attachments

Dear Mr De Capitani,

 

Please find attached a letter from the General Secretariat of the Council
extending the time limit for the Council to reply to your confirmatory
application for public access under Regulation 1049/2001.

Yours sincerely,

 

Transparency

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D59F80.749EEBA0

 

General Secretariat of the Council

Directorate-General Communication and Information - COMM
Directorate Information and Outreach
Information Services Unit / Transparency

 

Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, 175 - B-1048 Bruxelles/Brussel - Belgique/België

[2]www.consilium.europa.eu  |  [3][email address]

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of the writer and may not
be regarded as stating an official position of the Council of the EU

Clause de non-responsabilité: Les avis exprimés n'engagent que leur auteur
et ne peuvent être considérés comme une position officielle du Conseil de
l'UE

 

 

References

Visible links
2. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/
3. mailto:[email address]

TRANSPARENCY Access to documents (COMM), Conseil de l'Union européenne

1 Attachment

Dear Mr De Capitani,

 

Please find attached a letter from the General Secretariat of the Council
extending the time limit for the Council to reply to your confirmatory
application for public access under Regulation 1049/2001.

Yours sincerely,

 

Transparency

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D59F80.749EEBA0

 

General Secretariat of the Council

Directorate-General Communication and Information - COMM
Directorate Information and Outreach
Information Services Unit / Transparency

 

Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, 175 - B-1048 Bruxelles/Brussel - Belgique/België

[2]www.consilium.europa.eu  |  [3][email address]

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of the writer and may not
be regarded as stating an official position of the Council of the EU

Clause de non-responsabilité: Les avis exprimés n'engagent que leur auteur
et ne peuvent être considérés comme une position officielle du Conseil de
l'UE

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links
2. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/
3. mailto:[email address]

TRANSPARENCY Access to documents (COMM), Conseil de l'Union européenne

2 Attachments

Please find attached a letter from the General Secretariat of the Council
concerning your request for access to documents.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Transparency

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D59F80.749EEBA0

 

General Secretariat of the Council

Directorate-General Communication and Information - COMM
Directorate Information and Outreach
Information Services Unit / Transparency

Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, 175 - B-1048 Bruxelles/Brussel - Belgique/België

[2]www.consilium.europa.eu  |  [3][email address]

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of the writer and may not
be regarded as stating an official position of the Council of the EU

Clause de non-responsabilité: Les avis exprimés n'engagent que leur auteur
et ne peuvent être considérés comme une position officielle du Conseil de
l'UE

 

References

Visible links
2. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/
3. mailto:[email address]

TRANSPARENCY Access to documents (COMM), Conseil de l'Union européenne

3 Attachments

Dear Mr De Capitani,

 

Please find attached a letter from the General Secretariat of the Council
in reply to your confirmatory application for public access under
Regulation 1049/2001.

Yours sincerely,

 

Transparency

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D59F80.749EEBA0

 

General Secretariat of the Council

Directorate-General Communication and Information - COMM
Directorate Information and Outreach
Information Services Unit / Transparency

 

Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, 175 - B-1048 Bruxelles/Brussel - Belgique/België

[2]www.consilium.europa.eu  |  [3][email address]

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of the writer and may not
be regarded as stating an official position of the Council of the EU

Clause de non-responsabilité: Les avis exprimés n'engagent que leur auteur
et ne peuvent être considérés comme une position officielle du Conseil de
l'UE

 

 

References

Visible links
2. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/
3. mailto:[email address]

TRANSPARENCY Access to documents (COMM), Conseil de l'Union européenne

8 Attachments

Please find attached a letter from the General Secretariat of the Council concerning your request for access to documents.

Yours sincerely,

Transparency

General Secretariat of the Council
Directorate-General Communication and Information - COMM
Directorate Information and Outreach
Information Services Unit / Transparency

Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, 175 - B-1048 Bruxelles/Brussel - Belgique/België
www.consilium.europa.eu  |  [email address]

Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of the writer and may not be regarded as stating an official position of the Council of the EU
Clause de non-responsabilité: Les avis exprimés n'engagent que leur auteur et ne peuvent être considérés comme une position officielle du Conseil de l'UE