Dear Madam, Sir,

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 text messages (i.e., SMS messages) and other mobile-phone-based text communications (e.g., WhatsApp, Telegram, iMessage, Facebook Chat, SnapChat, Slack, Facebook and Twitter "direct messages," Signal Messenger, Wire, etc.) exchanged between:

1) Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and Council President Herman Van Rompuy in the period from 14 October 2010 until 30 November 2014
2) Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and Council President Donald Tusk in the period from 1 December 2014 until 30 November 2019
3) Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and Council President Charles Michel in the period from 1 December 2019 until 31 May 2022

As the Council has previously established, (in confirmatory applications 09/c/01/19 and 39/e/01/19) text messages and other mobile-phone-based text communications may qualify as a document falling within the scope of Regulation 1049/2001, if it relates to the policies, activities and decisions falling within the European Council's sphere of responsibility and contains substantial information.

There is at least on example where press have established that a text message between PM Rutte and the then Council President indeed contained substantial information. On 16 July 2015, the Associated Press reported that a "single text message rescued the talks — and possibly the euro". (See https://apnews.com/article/420b699b2dae4...) The report concerns the 12 July 2015 Euro Summit, about the Greek debt crisis. According to the AP, "the last sticking point keeping the two sides apart" was resolved in a compromise text sent by SMS.

Sincerely,
Peter Teffer
Follow the Money
Overtoom 197
1054 HT Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Postmaster Consilium, Conseil européen

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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Den Text der Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 finden Sie hier:
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TRANSPARENCY Access to documents (COMM), Conseil européen

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 européen

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]

Dear Madam Sir,

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 made on 31 May 2022, registered under Ref. 22/1205-lk/vk.

The General Secretariat of the Council has not identified any document in its possession that corresponds to my request. But it has not explained why not.

There are only two possible explanation I can come up with: either the Dutch prime minister and the three European Council presidents have never exchanged any text messages or other mobile-phone-based text communications that qualify as a document falling within the scope of Regulation 1049/2001; or they have but these messages have never been registered.

I find scenario 1 highly unlikely. As I mentioned in my initial application there is at least one example where press have established that a text message between PM Rutte and the then Council President contained substantial information. Unless the 16 July 2015 Associated Press report was inaccurate, there was at least one text message sent by Rutte to a European Council president that should have been registered.

In the case of scenario 2, I would like to refer to the European Ombudsman's recommendation in case 1316/2021/MIG. In that case, she stressed that a search for documents in the context of Regulation 1049/2001 should not be limited to registered documents. She noted that "whether a document has been registered in the institution’s document management system" was irrelevant. 'Registering a document is a consequence of the existence of a document and not a pre-requisite for its existence.'

I would like to request the Council to review the text messages sent and received by the European Council presidents, to determine if any have been erroneously not registered, if so to register them, and then consider them in the context of my request.

In any case, I would appreciate if the Council can shed light on this situation by answering the following questions:

1. Can the Council confirm or deny that the 2015 text message from Rutte on Greece was received by the European Council president?
2. If it confirms that this text message was received by its president, can the Council explain why it has not been registered as a document in the scope of Regulation 1049/2001?
3. Has the Council ever registered any text message or other mobile-phone-based text sent to or by a European Council President?

Sincerely,
Peter Teffer

Postmaster Consilium, Conseil européen

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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To see the text of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, please click here:
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexU...

If the link doesn't open when you click on it, please copy - paste it into your browser.

***

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.

***
S'il vous plaît ne répondez pas à ce message, car il a été envoyé d'une boîte aux lettres sans surveillance.

***

Pour consulter le texte du règlement (CE) n° 1049/2001, cliquez ici:
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexU...

Si le lien ne s'ouvre pas lorsque vous cliquez dessus, veuillez copier-coller l'adresse dans votre navigateur.

***

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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Den Text der Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 finden Sie hier:
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TRANSPARENCY Access to documents (COMM), Conseil européen

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Teffer,

 

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 européen

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@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]

Conseil européen

Dear Mr Teffer,

with your confirmatory application submitted on 29 June 2022 (our ref
08/c/1/22), you submitted to the European Council the following
questions: 

1. Can the Council confirm or deny that the 2015 text message from Rutte
on Greece was received by the European Council president? 

2. If it confirms that this text message was received by its president,
can the Council explain why it has not been registered as a document in
the scope of Regulation 1049/2001? 

3. Has the Council ever registered any text message or other
mobile-phone-based text sent to or by a European Council President? 

As these questions exceeded the scope of your initial request and could
not as such be dealt with in the context of your confirmatory application,
they are being dealt with as a request for information. Please find below
the replies to each one of these three questions :

Question 1 :

The General Secretariat of the Council (GSC), which assists the European
Council and its President in accordance with Article 13(1) of the European
Council Rules of Procedure, is not in a position to confirm or deny that
the text message you are referring to was actually sent. It confirms,
however, that it is not in possession of such a text message. 

Questions 2 and 3 : 

No text or other instant messages sent to or by a European Council
President have been registered so far by the GSC. This can be explained by
the existence of internal guidelines requiring staff to use the IT tools
provided by the GSC to produce and exchange documents with substantive
content through the appropriate internal applications, and that text
messages and any other instant messaging services, when used, may only
serve as ephemeral logistical support. For example they may be used, in
the margins of video or teleconferences to organise who will take the
floor or to solve technical issues faced by certain participants. 

As regards the general policy regarding text and other instant messages,
the “Transparency Guide” of the Council stresses that «The rules on access
to documents apply to all documents held by the Council, including those
received from third parties, defined as concerning a matter relating to
the policies, activities and decisions falling within the institution's
sphere of responsibility, whatever the medium (written on paper or stored
in electronic form or as a sound, visual or audio-visual recording)  or
indeed the type or classification.» 

Please note also that Decision No 51/2020 of the Secretary-General of the
Council establishing a policy on document and file management in the GSC
sets a definition of what is a "document" that encompasses text and other
instant messages."

Best regards,

The Public Information Service
General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union
Contact: [1]https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/infop...

Disclaimer: The information provided has been prepared by the Public
Information Service of the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU
and may not be regarded as constituting an official position of the
Council.

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Initial question:

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