Libya 'do no harm policy'

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Nikolaj Nielsen

Dear Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations,

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:

On 21 April, 2022 in the LIBE committee, Mr Francisco Gaztelu Mezquiriz (Head of Unit for Migration Assistance to Neighbouring Countries) said that the European Commission has put in place third party monitoring of operations in Libya under the trust fund with particular attention to ensuring the respect of the Do No Harm policy.

He said: "So far, the contractor didn't report any violations of do no harm principle directly related to all costs by our trust fund programmes. "

I am seeking access to documents, including emails, that reveals the identity of the third party contractor, the scope of the reporting, all financial costs associated to the contract, as well as the report itself.

Yours faithfully,

Nikolaj Nielsen

DHL Service Point
EPICERIE LIBRAIRIE POUYA
CHAUSSEE D'ALSEMBERG 9
1060 SINT-GILLIS
Brussels

NEAR-ACCDOC@ec.europa.eu, Politique européenne de voisinage et négociations d'élargissement

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Dear Mr Nikolaj,

 

Thank you for your e-mail 24 May 2022. We hereby acknowledge receipt of
your application for access to documents, which was registered on 31 May
2022 under reference number GESTDEM 2022/3139.

 

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, your application
will be handled within 15 working days. The time-limit will expire on 22
June 2022. In case this time-limit needs to be extended, you will be
informed in due course.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

[1]cid:image001.gif@01D4DF06.B8C47E70

 

European Commission
DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations
NEAR Access to Documents

[2][DG NEAR request email]

 

 

 

Afficher les sections citées

NEAR-ACCDOC@ec.europa.eu, Politique européenne de voisinage et négociations d'élargissement

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Nikolaj,

 

We refer to your request for access to documents, initially registered on
31 May 2022 under the above-mentioned reference number.

 

Your application is currently being handled. However, we will not be in a
position to complete the handling of your application within the time
limit of 15 working days, which expires today.

 

An extended time limit is needed for the purpose of internal
consultations.

 

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 13 July 2022.

 

We are confident that we will be able to provide you with a reply shortly.
Again, we apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may
cause and we thank you for your understanding.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

[1]cid:image001.gif@01D4DF06.B8C47E70

 

European Commission
DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations
NEAR Access to Documents

[2][DG NEAR request email]

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links
2. mailto:[DG NEAR request email]

NEAR-ACCDOC@ec.europa.eu, Politique européenne de voisinage et négociations d'élargissement

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Nikolaj,

We are afraid that the reply to your request for access to documents has
required longer than usual due to internal consultations. However, it has
been drafted and is pending approval by DG NEAR's hierarchy.

We are confident that you will receive a reply shortly. 

Again, we apologise for the delay and for any inconvenience it may have
caused. 

Yours sincerely,

 

[1]cid:image001.gif@01D4DF06.B8C47E70

 

European Commission
DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations
NEAR Access to Documents

[2][DG NEAR request email]

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links
2. mailto:[DG NEAR request email]

NEAR-ACCDOC@ec.europa.eu, Politique européenne de voisinage et négociations d'élargissement

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Nielsen,

 

Please find attached the reply to your request for access to documents,
registered under reference GestDem 2022/3139.

 

According to standard operational procedure, the reply is usually also
sent to you by registered post. Please note, however, that due to the
extraordinary health and security measures currently in force during to
the COVID-19 epidemics, which include the requirement for all Commission
non-critical staff to telework, we are unfortunately not in a position to
follow this procedure until further notice.

 

We would therefore appreciate if you could confirm receipt of the present
e-mail by replying to [1][DG NEAR request email]

 

Thank you in advance.

 

Best regards,

 

European Commission

DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

NEAR Access to Documents

[2][DG NEAR request email]

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[DG NEAR request email]
2. mailto:[DG NEAR request email]

Nikolaj Nielsen

Dear Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations,

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 'Libya 'do no harm policy''.

Access to the following documents were denied on the basis of "protection of the public interest as regards international relations", "protection of the decision-making process", and "no overriding public interest in disclosure"

1. Service contract T05-EUTF-NOA-REG-03-06 (T05.1117) "Third Party Monitoring of Local Impact in Libya" - 26-12-2019, Ares(2019)7917368.
2. Service contract T05-EUTF-NOA-REG-03-06 (T05.1117) “Third Party Monitoring of Local Impact in Libya” - Inception Phase Report - 08-05-2020, Ares(2020)2454417.
3. Addendum No 1 to service contract T05-EUTF-NOA-REG-03-06 (T05.1117) "Third Party Monitoring of Local Impact in Libya" - 17-12-2020, Ares(2020)7713243.
4. Addendum No 2 to service contract T05-EUTF-NOA-REG-03-06 (T05.1117) "Third Party Monitoring of Local Impact in Libya" - 19-05-2021, Ares(2021)3333184.
5. Service contract T05-EUTF-NOA-REG-03-06 (T05.1117) "Third Party Monitoring of Local Impact in Libya" – Interim Report January 2021, Ares(2021)1283402.
6. Service contract T05-EUTF-NOA-REG-03-06 (T05.1117) "Third Party Monitoring of Local Impact in Libya" – Interim Report January 2022 - Ares(2022)859050

I believe this to be a disproportionate restriction on citizens’ right to the widest possible access to legislative documents.

Furthermore, the principle on the ‘widest possible public access’ has been established in EU case-law: see Joint Cases C-39/05 P and C-52/05 P Sweden and Turco v. Council [2008] ECLI:EU:C:2008:374, para. 34 and Case C-280/11 P Council v. Access Info Europe [2013] ECLI:EU:C:2013:671, para. 27.

I would like to remind you that the Ombudsman has previously found that the Commission is obliged to respect the Charter in its entirety, in all its activities, including in the distribution and monitoring of EU funds, and that the Commission should ensure EU funds do not support actions that are not in line with EU values, notably the rights, freedoms and principles recognised by the Charter.

According to EU case-law, in refusing to disclose documents, EU institutions must give concrete and specific reasons as to why granting access to the requested documents could undermine the interest protected by the exception being invoked.

Furthermore, the risk of the interest being undermined must be reasonably foreseeable and must not be purely hypothetical.

Your argument citing a "difficult context in Libya" is vague. Your argument that this would undermine the EU and its "implementing partner’s ability to conduct human rights research" is also hypothetical.

The requested documents also do not refer to the position of any negotiating party and do not express any specific opinion of the Commission on any negotiating position.

According to EU case-law (Judgement of the Court of First Instance of 7 February 2002, Aldo Kuijer v Council, T-211/00, ECLI:EU:T:2002:30, paragraphs 60 and 61.), a generic reference to the sensitive nature of the information contained in such reports, or of the negotiations with the third country concerned, is not a sufficient reason to refuse access to the documents.

Finally, any exception to the public’s right of access to documents must be interpreted strictly. If only one part of a requested document is covered by an exception, the other parts of the document should be disclosed.

As the EU Courts have pointed out, transparency makes it possible for citizens to participate more closely in the decision-making process. This, in turn, enables the EU administration to enjoy greater legitimacy and to be more effective and more democratically-accountable to the public.

As for the "protection of the decision-making process", your arguments are equally vague and general. You are required to provide concrete evidence to make your case on this, which you have not.

And finally, your argument that there is "no overriding public interest in disclosure" is undermined by the fact that senior European Commission official (Francisco Gaztelu Mezquiriz ) is making public statements to the European Parliament, an EU institution that represents the overriding public interest of European citizens.

If there is no public interest, then why is the Commission making statements to an EU institution that represents the public? You are instead asking the public to take your statements for face value. My role as a journalist is, in part, to verify the veracity of such statements.

Yours faithfully,

Nikolaj Nielsen

DHL Service Point
EPICERIE LIBRAIRIE POUYA
CHAUSSEE D'ALSEMBERG 9
1060 SINT-GILLIS
Brussels

SG ACCES DOCUMENTS, Politique européenne de voisinage et négociations d'élargissement

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Link: [1]File-List
Link: [2]themeData
Link: [3]colorSchemeMapping

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email dated 07/08/2022 by which you request, pursuant
to Regulation No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament,
Council and Commission documents, a review of the position taken by DG
NEAR in reply to your initial application GESTDEM 2022/3139.

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents which was registered on 08/08/2022 (Ares(2022)5629715).

Your application will be handled within 15 working days (30/08/2022). In
case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due
course.

Please be informed that the answer to your confirmatory application is a
formal Commission decision that will be notified to you by express
delivery. Thank you for providing your contact phone number, so that the
external delivery service can contact you in case of absence.

Please note that the Commission will not use your phone number for any
other purpose than for informing the delivery service, and that it will
delete it immediately thereafter.

Yours faithfully,

Access to documents team (cr)
SG.C.1
Transparency

 

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SG ACCES DOCUMENTS, Politique européenne de voisinage et négociations d'élargissement

1 Attachment

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

[5]GESTDEM 2022-3139 - 1st holding letter - Ares(2022)6009983  (Please use
this link only if you are an Ares user – Svp, utilisez ce lien
exclusivement si vous êtes un(e) utilisateur d’Ares)

Dear Mr Nielsen,

 

I refer to your email of 7 August 2022, registered on 8 August 2022, by
which you submit a confirmatory application in accordance with Article
7(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents ("Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001"), registered under reference number above.

 

Your confirmatory application is currently being handled. Unfortunately,
we have not yet been able to gather all the elements needed to carry out a
full analysis of your request and to take a final decision. Therefore, we
are not in a position to reply to your confirmatory request within the
prescribed time limit which expires on 30 August 2022. Consequently, we
have to extend this period by another 15 working days in accordance with
Article 8(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. The new deadline expires on
20 September 2022. However, I can assure you that we are doing our utmost
to provide you with a final reply within the next 15 working days.

 

I regret this additional delay and apologise for any inconvenience this
may cause.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mariusz Daca, Ph.D.
Deputy Head of Unit

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit C.1 (Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents)

 

References

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1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D8BC70.31C8EC80
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...

SG ACCES DOCUMENTS, Politique européenne de voisinage et négociations d'élargissement

1 Attachment

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

[5]Your confirmatory application for access to documents under Regulation
(EC) No 1049/2001 - GESTDEM 2022/3139 - 2nd holding letter -
Ares(2022)6492785  (Please use this link only if you are an Ares user –
Svp, utilisez ce lien exclusivement si vous êtes un(e) utilisateur d’Ares)

Dear Mr Nielsen,

 

I refer to your email of 7 August 2022, registered on 8 August 2022, by
which you submit a confirmatory application in accordance with Article
7(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents ("Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001"), registered under reference number above.

 

I also refer to our holding reply of 30 August 2022, by which the time
limit for replying to your confirmatory application was extended by 15
working days, pursuant to Article 8(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.
This extended time limit expires on 20 September 2022.

 

I regret to have to inform you that we are not able to respond within the
extended time limit, as we have not yet finalised internal consultations.
I can assure you that we are doing our utmost to provide you with a final
reply as soon as possible.

 

I regret this additional delay and apologise for any inconvenience this
may cause.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Mariusz Daca, Ph.D.
Deputy Head of Unit

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit C.1 (Transparency, Document Management and Access to Documents)

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D8CD04.932B4780
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...

Dear Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations,

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 'Libya 'do no harm policy''.

By law, under all circumstances, Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations should have responded by now.

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

Yours faithfully,

Nikolaj Nielsen

NEAR-ACCDOC@ec.europa.eu, Politique européenne de voisinage et négociations d'élargissement

Dear Mr Nielsen,

Please allow us to remind you that had already submitted a confirmatory application on 7 August, which has been registered by the colleagues in charge of handling confirmatory applications in SG on 8 August and is currently being handled and will be the ones replying to you.

Kind regards,

NEAR ACCDOC Team

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