FAO: DG Trade Unit C3 – Latin America, and DG Trade Unit A5 – Transparency and evaluation

Dear DG Trade,
On behalf of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), I would like to - under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties as developed in Regulation 1049/2001 - request access to the following documents:
- all reports (and other notes) from meetings between Directorate General Trade and representatives of the tobacco industry (producers, distributors, importers etc, as well as trade associations and chambers of commerce, or other organisations and individuals that work to further the interests of the tobacco industry) related to the EU-Mercosur negotiations, since January 1st 2017.
- all correspondence (including emails) between the European Commission and representatives of the tobacco industry (producers, distributors, importers etc, as well as trade associations and chambers of commerce, or other organisations and individuals that work to further the interests of the tobacco industry) since January 1st 2017.
- a list of all the above-mentioned documents (including dates, names of participants/senders/recipients and their affiliation, subject of meeting/correspondence)

Yours faithfully,
Nina Renshaw
European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)
Rue de Treves 29-51
1040 Brussels

Direction générale du commerce

Dear Ms Renshaw,

 

Thank you for your e-mail dated 22/03/2018.  We hereby acknowledge receipt
of your application for access to documents, which was registered on
23/03/2018 under reference number GestDem 2018/1754.

 

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
18/04/2018. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be
informed in due course.

 

You have lodged your application via the AsktheEU.org website. Please note
that this is a private 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.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM

DG TRADE

 

 

Direction générale du commerce

Dear Ms Renshaw,

 

We refer to your request for access to documents registered on 23 March
2018 under reference number GestDem 2018/1754.

 

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 on 18/04/2018.

An extended time limit is needed as we need to coordinate and check with
different services within DG Trade.

 

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 15/05/2018.

 

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

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Access to Documents team

 

 

From: TRADE ACCES DOCUMENTS
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2018 9:36 AM
To: '[FOI #5283 email]'
Cc: TRADE ACCES DOCUMENTS
Subject: Your application for Access to Documents - GestDem 2018/1754

 

Dear Ms Renshaw,

 

Thank you for your e-mail dated 22/03/2018.  We hereby acknowledge receipt
of your application for access to documents, which was registered on
23/03/2018 under reference number GestDem 2018/1754.

 

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
18/04/2018. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be
informed in due course.

 

You have lodged your application via the AsktheEU.org website. Please note
that this is a private 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.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM

DG TRADE

 

 

Dear Trade,

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 'Tobacco and EU-Mercosur'.

Since the extended deadline for providing documents passed yesterday (15/05/2018), and we have not received anything, we are asking for a review of this.

By law, under all circumstances, we should have received a response by now. This lack of response is not satisfactory. We therefore ask you to respond as quickly as possible, and provide the relevant documents, or explain why you have not done so.

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

Yours faithfully,

George Thurley (On behalf of EPHA)

Direction générale du commerce

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Thurley,
 
Thank you for your email dated 16/05/2018, 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
TRADE to your initial application GESTDEM 2018/1754.
 
We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents which was registered on 24/05/2018 - [1]Ares(2018)2692796 .
 
Your application will be handled within 15 working days (14/06/2018).  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 having provided 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,
 
BLURIOT-PUEBLA Madeleine
Cellule 'Accès aux documents'
 
European Commission
SG/B/4 - Transparence

BERL 05/315
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
+32 2 296 09 97
[2][email address]
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: SG DOSSIERS ACCES
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:39 PM
To: BLURIOT-PUEBLA Madeleine (SG)
Subject: Internal review of access to documents request - Tobacco and
EU-Mercosur
 
 

Afficher les sections citées

EC ARES NOREPLY,

7 Attachments

Dear Ms Renshaw,

Please find attached document Ares(2018)2723149 regarding "GESTDEM 2018/1754 - Initial request" sent by Mr/ DEMARTY Jean-Luc on 25/05/2018.

Access to Documents Team
DG TRADE
[DG TRADE request email]

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: This e-mail was automatically generated by the European Commission's central mail registration system.
Replies by e-mail must be addressed to the original sender DEMARTY Jean-Luc (mailto:[email address]).
Remarque : Cet e-mail a été généré automatiquement par le système d'enregistrement central du courrier de la Commission européenne.
Toute réponse éventuelle par e-mail doit être adressée à l'expéditeur en personne, à savoir DEMARTY Jean-Luc (mailto:[email address]).

EC ARES NOREPLY,

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

[5]Ares(2018)2750773 - GESTDEM 2018/1754 - initial reply sent by DG TRADE

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

Dear Mr Thurley,

Dear Mr Renshaw,

 

We refer to your confirmatory application for access to documents –
GESTDEM 2018/1754.

 

Having been informed by DG TRADE that their initial reply has been sent to
you on 25/05/2018, we would like to inform you that the Secretariat
General will close your confirmatory application introduced for absence of
initial reply.

 

However, if you wish to submit a confirmatory request in accordance with
Article 7 of the Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, you remain free to
do so.

 

Best regards,

 

BLURIOT-PUEBLA Madeleine

Cellule 'Accès aux documents'
 
European Commission
SG/B/4 - Transparence

BERL 05/315
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
+32 2 296 09 97
[6][email address]

 

 

 

 

_____________________________________________
From: SG ACCES DOCUMENTS
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:50 PM
To: '[FOI #5283 email]'
Subject: Your confirmatory request for access to documents -- GESTDEM
2018/1754

 

 

Dear Mr Thurley,

 

Thank you for your email dated 16/05/2018, 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
TRADE to your initial application GESTDEM 2018/1754.

 

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents which was registered on 24/05/2018 - [7]Ares(2018)2692796 .

 

Your application will be handled within 15 working days (14/06/2018).  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 having provided 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,

 

BLURIOT-PUEBLA Madeleine

Cellule 'Accès aux documents'
 
<< OLE Object: Picture (Device Independent Bitmap) >>
European Commission
SG/B/4 - Transparence

BERL 05/315
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
+32 2 296 09 97
[8][email address]

 

 

_____________________________________________
From: SG DOSSIERS ACCES
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:39 PM
To: BLURIOT-PUEBLA Madeleine (SG)
Subject: Internal review of access to documents request - Tobacco and
EU-Mercosur

 

 

Afficher les sections citées

Direction générale du commerce

2 Attachments

 
Dear Ms Renshaw,
 
Please find attached an advanced copy of our reply to your confirmatory
request registered under Gestdem number 2018/1754.
 
Please note that this letter will also be sent by registered mail with
acknowledgment of receipt in the coming days.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS TEAM (GD)
 
European Commission
Secretariat-General
SG B.4 – Transparency
[1][email address]
 
 
 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Dear DG Trade,

Thank you for your letter, electronically signed on 25 May 2018, in response to our access to documents request submitted 22 March 2018 (Ref GestDem No 2018/1754). We have responded within 15 working days and would herewith like to submit a confirmatory application.

Your letter included the release of 5 documents, but these have been excessively redacted, particularly:

• All names and organisations of professional lobbyists have been excluded apart from for “representatives of the companies occupying senior management positions”.
• The validation date has been redacted in document 2 but not document 3.

The names of professional lobbyists and the organisations they work for are not personal data. This information should be accessible to the public in order to enable scrutiny of who is influencing EU decision-making processes. Further, if the names and organisations of senior management representatives can be released, there is no reason at all to assume that the legitimate rights of the other professional lobbyists concerned might be prejudiced by disclosure of their names and the organisations and companies they work for. There is also no clear reason why one date should be redacted, but the other not. We would therefore in this confirmatory application like to request the full disclosure of the validation dates, and all names of professional lobbyists and their organisations/companies.

Your response cites protection of international relations and of commercial interests, alongside privacy protection, as reasons for redacting information. However, the treaties oblige the EU institutions to work in an open and transparent manner, as openly as possible. Regulation 1049/2001 aims for the widest possible access to documents.

Your letter also states that “We have not been able to identify any such public interest capable of overriding the commercial interests of the companies concerned.” In our view, the public interest in protecting public health in policy-making far outweighs the commercial interests of the companies. The EU has a treaty obligation to health in all policies: “A high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities.” (TFEU Art. 168) Therefore there is a public interest in having the full details of contacts between EU policy-makers and the tobacco industry.

Further, as stated in the WHO guidelines for implementation of the article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) states that “there is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests” and therefore there is a clear public interest in any discussions that the European Commission may have had with the tobacco industry, in any policy area, as they may undermine one of the biggest public interest issues, public health. The article 5.3 guidelines very clearly call for transparency of government interactions with the tobacco industry, and the European Ombudsman echoed this in a late 2016 ruling, calling for a “proactive transparency policy[…] regarding meetings with tobacco lobbyists”, across all Commission services and staff (https://bit.ly/2J76Wux). This ruling urged the Commission to publish details of all meetings with tobacco lobbyists. Therefore there is little argument for redacting data, as these details should all have been pro-actively public all along.

The European Parliament also urged all EU institutions to implement the ombudsman’s recommendations, and to provide complete transparency regarding tobacco companies in a 2016 resolution on the fight against fraud (https://bit.ly/2LlCt8C). There is therefore considerable public interest in full disclosure of meetings with tobacco company representatives.

We would therefore in this confirmatory application like to request the full disclosure of all five documents.

Yours faithfully,
Nina Renshaw & George Thurley
European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)
Rue de Treves 29-51
1040 Brussels

EC ARES NOREPLY,

1 Attachment

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

[5]Ares(2018)3213238 - ATD - Your confirmatory application - Gestdem
2018/1754 - Tobacco and EU-Mercosur

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

Dear Madam,

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email dated 08/06/2018 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
Directorate General for Trade in reply to your initial application GESTDEM
2018/1754.

We hereby acknowledge receipt of your confirmatory application for access
to documents which was registered on 18/06/2018 (Ares(2018)3212741).

Your application will be handled within 15 working days (09/07/2018).  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.  We kindly offer you the possibility to provide us a contact
phone number (by email to [6][email address]), 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)

 

[7]cid:image001.png@01D3BD42.20769590

European Commission

Secretariat-General

SG B.4 – Transparency

[8][email address]

 

 

Afficher les sections citées

EC ARES NOREPLY,

1 Attachment

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

[5]Ares(2018)3570672 - Your confirmatory application for access to
documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 – GESTDEM 2018/1754

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

Dear Ms Renshaw,

 

I refer to your e-mail of 8 June 2018, 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 1049/2001’).

 

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 that expires on 9
July 2018.

 

Consequently, we have to extend this period by another 15 working days in
accordance with Article 8(2) of Regulation 1049/2001. The new deadline
expires on 30 July 2018.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Martine Fouwels

Deputy Head of Unit

 

[6]Flag

European Commission

Secretariat General

Unit B4 (Transparency)

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D4144B.54678480
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/ext/doc...

EC ARES NOREPLY,

6 Attachments

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

[5]Ares(2018)4013160 - Your confirmatory application - Gestdem 2018/1754

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

Dear Madam,

 

Please find attached a copy of the confirmatory decision taken on your
request for access to documents registered under Gestdem number 2018/1754,
adopted on 27/07/2018 in the above-mentioned case.

 

Please note that the Secretariat-General of the European Commission will
proceed with the formal notification of the decision in the coming days.

 

This copy is solely sent for your information and is not the formal
notification of the confirmatory decision.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Carlos Remis
SG.B.4
Transparence
Berl. 05/315

 

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01D427F3.BC3345C0
2. file:///tmp/cid:editdata.mso
3. file:///tmp/~~themedata~~
4. file:///tmp/~~colorschememapping~~
5. https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/Ares/ext/doc...