Dear DG Energy, (Unit C4)
Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001 and to the Aarhus Regulation, I am requesting the following document:
- the "ranking" of project candidates for gas for the 5th Projects of Common Interest list (PCI/Union list) which is produced as a result of the process to draft the 5th PCI list and is the base of the final draft Union list.
To the extent possible, we prefer the document in electronic format. If the document cannot be sent in electronic format, it should be sent to Food & Water Action Europe, rue d'Edimbourg 26, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium.
Should my request be denied wholly or partially, please explain the denial or all deletions referring to specific exemptions in the regulation. Also I expect the partial release of documents, in case of partial exemption according to article 4.6.
I reserve the right to appeal.
Please confirm having received this application. I look forward to your reply within 15 business days, according to the regulation. Please note that the request only concerns a single document and that i therefore expect a swift response without delays.
Thank you for your assistance.
Food & Water Action Europe
rue d'Edimbourg 26,
Thank you for your e-mail of 29/11/2021. We hereby acknowledge receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered on 25/11/2021 under reference number GESTDEM 2021/7395.
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 20/12/2021. 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.
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Access to documents team (cr)
Please find attached the document you requested, registered under
reference GestDem 2021/7395.
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 [email address]
ENER C4 ACCES DOCUMENTS
1. mailto:[email address]
Dear DG Energy,
Please pass this on to the officials responsible for reviewing confirmatory applications.
I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to my access to documents request '"ranking" of gas projects for 5th PCI list'. (The "ranking" of project candidates for gas for the 5th Projects of Common
(PCI/Union list) which is produced as a result of the process to draft the 5th PCI list and is the base of the final draft Union list. The “ranking” was shared with Regional Group members and discussed in the Regional Group meetings that took place on 21-22 June 2021 and 28-29 June 2021.)
We believe there is an overriding interest in disclosure of the requested document for the reasons outlined below. The ranking is required to be drafted based on the needs assessment and candidate project-specific assessment process as previously in the regional group agreed, and based on an assessment of the contribution of a project to the specific criteria laid out in Art. 4 paragraph 2 of the TEN-E regulation (Regulation (EU) No 347/2013). The process aims at designating projects of "common" interest, priority projects not only eligible for EU funding, but also other benefits, such as benefits for permit granting and a streamlined environmental impact assessment.
Regulation 347/2013 lays out the following in Art. 7: "With regard to the environmental impacts addressed in Article 6(4) of Directive 92/43/EEC and Article 4(7) of Directive 2000/60/EC, projects of common interest shall be considered as being of public interest from an energy policy perspective, and may be considered as being of overriding public interest, provided that all the conditions set out in these Directives are fulfilled." We believe it is crucial to make accessible to all EU citizens details, and as such the "ranking" of projects considered as being in their interest, by which EU citizens are impacted and which they partially fund with tax money.
It is worth mentioning that the responses to the public consultation on the 5th PCI list show an overwhelming rejection of fossil gas projects on the 5th list, over 94% of the respondents submitted a negative opinion on fossil gas PCIs.
Annex III of the TEN-E regulation, governing the PCI list also says that "(14) If, based on the regional lists received, and after having taken into account the Agency opinion, the total number of proposed projects of common interest on the Union list would exceed a manageable number, the Commission shall consider, after having consulted each Group concerned, not to include in the Union list projects that were ranked lowest by the Group concerned according to the ranking established pursuant to Article 4(4)." Without public access to the PCI list, it will be impossible for the public to have confidence that this regulation and thus the rule of law itself is being followed.
With this application we wish to recall the duty of EU institutions to work as openly as possible, as laid down in the EU Treaties (namely article 15 TFEU) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights (article 42). We also recall the decision by the EU Commission to exclude fossil gas projects with a negative sustainability assessment. Given the inclusion of a high number of fossil gas projects proposed for the 5th PCI list, and as such gas projects proposed to be in the common European interest, we see a need for transparency around the limited exclusion of fossil gas projects (over 40% of all fossil gas projects applying have been included in the list).
We make this request in the context of repeated criticism around the lack of transparency throughout the PCI process, voiced by ACER as well as other stakeholders (detail others?). The failure to disclose important documents underlying the selection of PCIs risks undermining the trust of European citizens and of stakeholders involved in the PCI process, and thereby wider trust in EU institutions.
We also would like to highlight that we do not share the argumentation that a publication of the ranking would "seriously undermine the decision-making process related to the recurrent adoption of the Union list of projects of common interests", but that a continued opaque process will undermine trust in and quality of the process. The process of drafting the 5th PCI list is finalized and no further discussion around single projects will take place at this stage as the list has been sent to the EU Parliament and Council for scrutiny. Both institutions can only reject or accept the entire list. Moreover, this 5th PCI list is the last list drafted under the current TEN-E regulation - further lists will be based on a revised TEN-E regulation.
We argue that refusing even partial access to any of the documents requested is therefore against the principle of proportionality, and look forward to the prompt release of all requested documentation.
A full history of my request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/rank...
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
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
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Les demandes d’accès du public aux documents sont traitées sur la base du
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Thank you for your email dated 20/12/2021 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
ENER in reply to your initial application GESTDEM 2021/7395.
We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents which was registered on 20/12/2021 (Ares(2021)7883342).
Your application will be handled within 15 working days (19/01/2022). In
case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due
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.
Access to documents team (cr)