Alexander Fanta

Dear Communications Networks, Content and Technology,

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:

- All documents related to a meeting between cabinet members and Axel Springer SE on January 22, 2021 as found in the Transparency Register. The request includes e-mails, meeting minutes and any other document related to the meeting.

Yours faithfully,

Alexander Fanta
netzpolitik.org
Rue de la Loi 155
1040 Bruxelles

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Réseaux de communication, contenu et technologies

Your message has been received by the Transparency Unit of the
Secretariat-General of the European Commission.
Requests for public access to documents are treated on the basis of
[1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
The Secretariat-General will reply to your request within 15 working days
upon registration of your request and will duly inform you of the
registration of the request (or of any additional information to be
provided in view of its registration and/or treatment).
 
 
L’unité «Transparence» du secrétariat général de la Commission européenne
a bien reçu votre message.
Les demandes d’accès du public aux documents sont traitées sur la base du
[2]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 la date d’enregistrement de votre demande, et vous
informera de cet enregistrement (ou vous indiquera toute information
supplémentaire à fournir en vue de l'enregistrement et/ou du traitement de
votre demande).
 
 
Ihre Nachricht ist beim Referat „Transparenz“ des Generalsekretariats der
Europäischen Kommission eingegangen.
Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden auf der Grundlage der
[3]Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der
Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und
der Kommission behandelt.
Das Generalsekretariat beantwortet Ihre Anfrage innerhalb von
15 Arbeitstagen nach deren Registrierung und wird Sie über die
Registrierung Ihres Antrags (oder die Notwendigkeit weiterer Informationen
im Hinblick auf dessen Registrierung und/oder Bearbeitung) unterrichten.
 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
3. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Réseaux de communication, contenu et technologies

[1]Ares(2021)1713612 - RE: access to documents request - Meeting with Axel
Springer SE on 22/01/2021 --- Ref. Gestdem 2021/1360

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[DG CONNECT request email]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[DG CONNECT request email]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Sir,

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your application for access to documents,
which was registered on 09/03/2021 under reference number GESTDEM
2021/1360.

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 30/03/2021. In case this time limit needs to
be extended, you will be informed in due course.

You have lodged your application via a private third-party website, which
has no link with any institution of the European Union.
Therefore, the European Commission cannot be held accountable for any
technical issues or problems linked to the use of this system.

Please note that the private third party running the AsktheEU.org website
is responsible and accountable for the processing of your personal data
via that website, and not the Commission.
For further information on your rights, please refer to the third party’s
privacy policy.

We understand that the third party running the AsktheEU.org website
usually publishes the content of applicants’ correspondence with the
Commission on that website. This includes the personal data that you may
have communicated to the Commission (e.g. your private postal address).

Similarly, the third party publishes on that website any reply that the
Commission will send to the email address of the applicants generated by
the AsktheEU.org website.

If you do not wish that your correspondence with the Commission is
published on a private third-party website such as AsktheEU.org, you can
provide us with an alternative, private e-mail address for further
correspondence. In that case, the Commission will send all future
electronic correspondence addressed to you only to that private address,
and it will use only that private address to reply to your request. You
should still remain responsible to inform the private third-party website
about this change of how you wish to communicate with, and receive a reply
from, the Commission.

For information on how we process your personal data visit our page
Privacy statement – access to documents.

Yours faithfully,

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

Afficher les sections citées

ve_cnect.public_access_to_documents (CNECT), Réseaux de communication, contenu et technologies

1 Attachment

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

[5]Ares(2021)2193270 - Holding reply - Your application for access to
documents RefGestDem 2021/1360

Sent by ve_cnect.public_access_to_documents (CNECT)
<[email address]>. All responses have to be
sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_cnect.public_access_to_documents (CNECT)
<[email address]>. Toutes les réponses
doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Mr Fanta,

 

We refer to your request for access to documents introduced via email on
09/03/2021 and registered on the same day 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 as different Commission services must be
consulted.

 

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 23 April 2021.

 

We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

DG CONNECT Access to Documents Team

 

[6]cid:image001.png@01D3AF19.959C0670

European Commission

DG Connect – ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS

BU25 – Avenue de Beaulieu 25

B-1160 Brussels/Belgium

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D72544.DFD94140
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...

ve_cnect.public_access_to_documents (CNECT), Réseaux de communication, contenu et technologies

1 Attachment

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

[5]Ares(2021)2739737 - 2nd Holding reply - Your application for access to
documents RefGestDem 2021/1360

Sent by ve_cnect.public_access_to_documents (CNECT)
<[email address]>. All responses have to be
sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_cnect.public_access_to_documents (CNECT)
<[email address]>. Toutes les réponses
doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Mr Fanta,

 

We refer to your request for access to documents introduced via email on 9
March 2021 and registered on the same day under the above-mentioned
reference number. We also refer to our holding reply sent to you on 30
March 2021 (our reference Ares(2021)2193270).

 

Your application is currently being handled. However, we have not been in
a position to complete the handling of your application within the time
limit, which expires today.

 

Please be assured that the reply is about to come.

 

We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

DG CONNECT Access to Documents Team 

 

[6]cid:image001.png@01D3AF19.959C0670

European Commission

DG Connect – ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS

BU25 – Avenue de Beaulieu 25

B-1160 Brussels/Belgium

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D73866.6605E140
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...

CNECT-PUBLIC-ACCESS-TO-DOCUMENTS@ec.europa.eu, Réseaux de communication, contenu et technologies

1 Attachment

Advance copy by e-mail and registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt
Dear Mr Fanta,
Please find attached document Ares(2021)2840052 regarding "Your request
for access to documents - GestDem 2021/1360 " sent by Mr Roberto Viola,
General Director of DG CONNECT on 28/04/2021.
Best regards,
European Commission
DG CONNECT — ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS
Avenue de Beaulieu, 25
B-1160 Brussels/Belgium
 
 
 
 
 

Dear Communications Networks, Content and Technology,

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 'Meeting with Axel Springer SE on 22/01/2021'.

I would like to appeal on the grounds that there is indeed a significant public interest in the proposal. As the Digital Markets Act will shape European digital policy-making over the next decade, the public should be able to see at least some of the arguments being made in regards to specifics of the proposal in due time as to be relevant to public debate. I would like to add that I make my request as journalist, therefore acting in my function as public watchdog as set out in jurisprudence by the European Court of Human Rights.

I would point out the European Court of Justice ruling in Council v Sophie in’t Veld, C-350/12 P, in which the court states that an institution, in principle, must first "explain how disclosure of that document could specifically and actually undermine the interest protected by the exception". However, in this case the Commission has given only general statements and argues that "speculations and misinterpretations" following an disclosure would hurt the decision-making process. I would also like to point out the European Ombudsman finding in case 2781/2008/(TS) FOR, that in many cases EU bodies have offered insufficient reasoning for a refusal when it was grounded on the protection of the decision-making process, which in the opinion of the Ombudsman constitutes maladministration. I ask the Commission to review the documents in question to see whether at least partial access be granted and, if not, spell out how specifically disclosure would be to the detriment of ongoing decision making other than a quite general reference to internal discussion.

In this context, I would like to refer to a ruling by the General Court on April 21, 2021 (case T‑252/19), in which the court points out that if "citizens are to be able to exercise their democratic rights, they must be in a position to follow in detail the decision-making process within the institutions taking part in the legislative procedures and to have access to all relevant information." In that regard, as the Court of Justice has observed before and re-stated in this case, it is transparency "that contributes to conferring greater legitimacy on the institutions in the eyes of European citizens and increasing their confidence in them by allowing divergences between various points of view to be openly debated. It is in fact rather a lack of information and debate that is capable of giving rise to doubts in the minds of citizens, not only as regards the lawfulness of an isolated act, but also as regards the legitimacy of the decision-making process as a whole."

As regards to the commercial interests argued to prevent disclosure of Documents 4 -8, the European Ombudsman likewise found that in many cases there was insufficient reasoning of the refusal (cases 676/2008/RT 07; 181/2013/AN 16).

Key information in the document was redacted with reference to the exception for commercial interests as set out in Article 4 (2) of Regulation 1049/2001. The Commission argues that the documents contain sensitive business information relating to business strategies, the competitive situation on the market and other commercial interests of companies, including intellectual property. I find that information quite vague to merit the use of this exception.

I would like to point out that the General Court of the European Union in the Evropaïki Dynamiki case (T-167/10) has clearly set out that the authority denying access must establish how access to the documents requested would specifically and actually undermine that objective in a way that was reasonably foreseeable and not purely hypothetical. Furthermore, the European Ombudsman has found (Case: 1701/2011/ANA 24 June 2013; Case: 676/2008/RT) that not all information about a company is commercially sensitive, so a test should be performed each time to conclude whether the exception applies. In this context it may be pointed out that the negative opinion of a stakeholders regarding disclosure is not binding for the Commission. I ask to spell out exactly how the disclosure would hurt specifically hurt the commercial interests of Axel Springer SE and how exactly the test has be reasoned to have been applied.

I would like to add that I find it quite unusual for the Commission to withhold two entire documents on a meeting with lobbyists and would like to point out that, in almost all cases I have so far encountered, at least partial access to lobbying-related documents was granted. This is curious insofar as Axel Springer chairperson Mathias Döpfner had a exchange of open letters with Commission president Ursula von der Leyen only days following the meeting with DG Connect. It would seem contrary to the principle of transparency that a meeting prefacing such a high-profile interaction should be shrouded in secrecy. That is certain to draw attention from transparency activists everywhere. I kindly ask to reconsider this stance and review the documents to see if at least partial disclosure can be had.

Yours faithfully,

Alexander Fanta

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Réseaux de communication, contenu et technologies

Your message has been received by the Transparency Unit of the
Secretariat-General of the European Commission.
Requests for public access to documents are treated on the basis of
[1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
The Secretariat-General will reply to your request within 15 working days
upon registration of your request and will duly inform you of the
registration of the request (or of any additional information to be
provided in view of its registration and/or treatment).
 
 
L’unité «Transparence» du secrétariat général de la Commission européenne
a bien reçu votre message.
Les demandes d’accès du public aux documents sont traitées sur la base du
[2]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 la date d’enregistrement de votre demande, et vous
informera de cet enregistrement (ou vous indiquera toute information
supplémentaire à fournir en vue de l'enregistrement et/ou du traitement de
votre demande).
 
 
Ihre Nachricht ist beim Referat „Transparenz“ des Generalsekretariats der
Europäischen Kommission eingegangen.
Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden auf der Grundlage der
[3]Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der
Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und
der Kommission behandelt.
Das Generalsekretariat beantwortet Ihre Anfrage innerhalb von
15 Arbeitstagen nach deren Registrierung und wird Sie über die
Registrierung Ihres Antrags (oder die Notwendigkeit weiterer Informationen
im Hinblick auf dessen Registrierung und/oder Bearbeitung) unterrichten.
 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...
3. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/...

Sg-Acc-Doc@ec.europa.eu, Réseaux de communication, contenu et technologies

1 Attachment

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email dated 28/04/2021 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
CNECT in reply to your initial application GESTDEM 2021/1360.

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents which was registered on 28/04/2021 (Ares(2021)2843748).

Your application will be handled within 15 working days (21/05/2021). 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 (GD)

 

[1]cid:image001.png@01D45409.F767C980

European Commission

Secretariat-General

SG C.1

[2][email address]

 

 

 

Afficher les sections citées

ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Réseaux de communication, contenu et technologies

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 2021/1360 - 1st holding letter -
Ares(2021)3392539

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[DG CONNECT request email]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[DG CONNECT request email]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Mr Fanta,

 

I refer to your e-mail of 28 April 2021, registered on the same day, 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 (hereafter ‘Regulation (EC)
No 1049/2001’).

 

I would like to inform you that your confirmatory application is currently
being handled. Unfortunately, due to ongoing consultations, we are not in
a position to reply to your confirmatory request within the prescribed
time limit expiring on 21 May 2021. 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 14 June 2021.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

María OLIVÁN AVILÉS
Head of Unit

[6]cid:image001.gif@01D13362.41D673C0

European Commission

Secretariat General

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

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D74E34.9AC274A0
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/documen...