To whom it may concern at the European Banking Authority,
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:
- Any written advice, legal or otherwise, provided to the Board of Supervisors for the decision on whether to accept/hire mr. Manuel Campa as Chairman.
- The report (or reasoned opinion) following the investigation undertaken by the EBA to examine whether the hiring of mr. Manuel Campa as chairman is/was in line with rules (article 11, EU Staff Regulations).
- Minutes of the meetings of the Board of Supervisors insofar as they concern the hiring of Mr. Manuel Campa as Chairman.
- Any text adopted by the Board of Supervisors upon hiring of mr. Manuel Campa as chairman, including any conditions/safeguards against any conflict of interest.
- Any written advice (including by internal bodies such as the Joint Committee mentioned in article 16 of the EU Staff Regulations) provided to the Board of Supervisors for its assessment of and decision on the case of the Executive Director's departure from the EBA and taking up of a position at AFME.
- Minutes of meetings of the Board of Supervisors regarding the case of the Executive Director's departure from the EBA and taking up of a position at AFME.
- The text adopted by the Board of Supervisors that lay out the terms for mr. Farkas' move to AFME, ie. the limitations and control measures, if any.
- A list of members of any body set up to provide advice to the EBA on the EBA's implementation of EU Staff Regulations, including article 16.
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Dear Mr Haar,
Thank you for your communication, which we acknowledge receipt of. We will be reverting pursuant to Regulation (EU) 1049/2001.
Dear Mr Haar,
Thank you for your email requesting access to documents pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. The European Banking Authority (‘EBA’) strives to be transparent and open to as great an extent possible.
As regards your request to access any written advice, legal or otherwise, provided to the Board of Supervisors for the decision on whether to accept/hire Mr Campa as Chairperson, and for Mr Farkas’ departure from the EBA to take up a position at the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME): the EBA is of the view that the requested documentation is not to be disclosed in accordance with Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, since its disclosure would undermine the Agency’s decision-making process. The EBA cannot find any overriding public interest in disclosure.
In relation to your request to access the report (or reasoned opinion) following the investigation undertaken by the EBA to examine whether the hiring of Mr Campa as Chairperson is/was in line with the applicable rules (in particular Article 11 of the Staff Regulations of Officials): you may find Mr Campa’s annual declaration of interest together with the restrictions applied at the links https://eba.europa.eu/documents/10180/95... and https://eba.europa.eu/documents/10180/29....
The minutes of the meetings of the Board of Supervisors insofar as they concern the hiring of Mr Campa as Chairperson are available at the following link: https://eba.europa.eu/documents/10180/27.... Please note that the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Supervisors regarding Mr Farkas’ departure from the EBA are not yet adopted and they will be published in due course.
As regards your request to access the texts adopted by the Board of Supervisors upon hiring of Mr Campa as Chaiperson and Mr Farkas’ move to the AFME, you may find a summary of the decisions at the following links: https://eba.europa.eu/about-us/organisat....
Finally, in relation to your request to access a list of members of any body set up to provide advice to the EBA on the implementation of the Staff Regulations of Officials: the requested documentation contain personal data, disclosure of which would undermine the protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual in accordance with the Union legislation regarding the protection of personal data and so is not to be disclosed in accordance with Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. In accordance with Article 9(1)(b) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 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, it is for the recipient of this information to establish that it is necessary to have such personal data transmitted for a specific purpose in the public interest – no such necessity has been established.
We trust this is to your satisfaction. Should you not be satisfied with our reply, you may consider your right to a confirmatory application pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.
To the European Banking Authority,
Please pass this on to the person who reviews confirmatory applications.
I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to my access to documents request 'Documents on two revolving doors cases', filed on September 17 this year. The reply received on 8 October is not satisfactory.
In the response dated October 8, I was refused access to various documents concerning the acceptance of Mr. José Manuel Campa as Chairman and the acceptance of the move of the Executive Director Mr. Adam Farkas to a position as Chief Executive Officer to the lobby group the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME). This, I believe, is in breach of Regulation 1049/2001 as explained below.
WRITTEN ADVICE AND ASSESMENTS
In both cases I asked for access to written advice, including by internal bodies, provided to the Board. I have received no such documents.
- Instead of access to the ‘reasoned opinion’ prepared for the decision on the new Chairman, I have been sent the conditions following Mr. Campa’s employment and his declaration of interest. While I am grateful for the information in the two documents, they are not what I asked for. They do not, for example, provide for an opportunity to assess whether the EBA has proper procedures in place in light of the two cases, nor do they provide the necessary information for an assessment of whether the rules in force have been followed.
- The refusal to allow access to the requested documents, including the key document or documents approved in the case of Mr Adam Farkas, have been denied in reference to article 4 (3) of Regulation 1049. I believe said article does not cover the issue at hand. Legal advice of the type that are sought in cases like these do not constitute the kind of information that would “seriously undermine the institution’s decision-making process.”
I should like to point out that the release of such documents are allowed by other EU institutions, including the European Commission.
- In the case about Commission President Barroso and his move to Goldman Sachs, the advice of an ethical committee was released: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/fil...
- In the case about Petra Erler, former head of Cabinet for Commissioner Verheugen, the opinion of the Joint Committee was released: https://corporateeurope.org/en/node/1085
Written advice in cases like these are not necessarily covered by the exception in article 4 (3). And as the case has been decided on at the EBA, there is no basis for the claim that disclosure would undermine the institution’s decision-making processes.
DECISIONS OF THE BOARD
I have asked for the decisions of the Board of Supervisors when hiring Mr. Campa and when approving the request from Adam Farkas to take the position at AFME. In both cases, the request was rejected with no explanation – in breach of Regulation 1049 article 7 (1). I have been directed to a summary of the decision on mr. Farkas and I have received a document that appears to list the conditions to be followed by mr. Campa. But it is not clear whether the two texts cover the decisions in full. They leave many questions open, not least when it comes to the enforcement of the decisions.
While it may be that parts of the decisions are covered by the exception in article 4 (1) about ‘privacy and the integrity of the individual’, these parts can be stricken in the documents before release.
LIST OF MEMBERS OF ETHICS BODY
I have asked to see the lists of members of any body that provide advice to the EBA on the implementation of EU Staff Regulations. The refusal to disclose the members underestimate the standards with regard to transparency applied by EU institutions in general, and it is not justified under Regulation 1049/2001. I have not asked for sensitive information of any sort but merely names of the persons that constitute any advisory body on ethics or on Staff Regulations in the EBA, including articles 11 and 16. Article 16 compels the Board of Supervisors to ask for advice from such a body before a decision is made. Membership of such a body does not constitute personal data in the meaning of article 9(1)(b) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data as claimed by the EBA’s Legal Unit.
EXISTENCE OF DOCUMENTS
As mentioned, a response to a request for access to documents must include a proper explanation. In this case, the wording is so vague on two points that I urge you to respond clearly. It is concerning two kinds of documents, both of which are required legally to live up to EU Staff Regulations:
- It is stated there was an EBA investigation into the hiring of Mr Campa as Chairperson. Does this mean that a written ‘reasoned opinion’ exists? That is not even clear from the response.
- It is stated there is ‘documentation’ on advice provided to the Board, but there is no mention of a written opinion from ‘a Joint Committee’. Does such a written opinion exist?
The use of the exceptions in article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001 goes well beyond the restrictions applied by other EU institutions.
But even if the EBA maintains its claim that the exceptions apply, I would argue there is an overriding public interest in disclosure. The EBA plays an important role in banking supervision, in monitoring the conduct of financial services authorities and individual financial companies, and through development of technical standards. The financial crisis led to the conclusion in the EU institutions that supervision had failed and that steps would have to be taken to improve. The public has a legitimate interest in transparency to be able to rest assured that rules and procedures are followed. Also, for the EBA to be able to perform its duties it must command respect and enjoy legitimacy. There is a real risk the EBA will suffer a loss of reputation if it is seen to be careless when it comes to ethics rules. Lack of transparency is no remedy to the damage the two cases can cause. It is in the institution’s interest to explain to the public the procedures adequately if the public is to trust that rules are being followed.
In sum, I would like to have this case reviewed. I believe there is a basis for providing me with access to any written advice given to the Board of Supervisors in the two cases – with deletions to protect personal data if necessary, and I believe the decision to deny access to the texts of the two decisions (including annexes) had no basis in Regulation 2019/2001 and must be overturned. Finally, in cases where access is denied again, I believe I am entitled to a proper explanation, including if the denial is confirmed because such documents do not exist.
A full history of my request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/docu...
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Thank you for your email. Kindly note that I am currently out of office
and will return on 8 October 2019. Regards, Joseph
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Dear Mr Haar,
Thank you for your communication, which we acknowledge receipt of. We will be reverting within due course, pursuant to Regulation (EC) 1049/2001.