Union's Financial Policy component of the FP6 & FP7 Research Programmes

La demande est réussie.

Mr. Tasos Ntetsikas

Dear Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN),

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:

I. CONTEXT OF THE APPLICATION

Recently, there have been a few applications lodged via asktheeu.org (i.e. publicly visible) pursuant to Regulation No 1049/2001 requesting documents from DG RTD and DG CNECT directly relating to the FP6 and FP7. In their initial replies DG RTD and DG CNECT have granted partial access to the requested documents, relying inter alia on article 4(1)(a) fourth indent ‘protection of the Union’s financial policy’ to grant partial access only.

Two such requests (the first one was lodged by the undersigned) are:

1. GestDem No 2013/3375, http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/dg_cn..., DG CNECT initial reply Ares(2013) 2746082 – 24/7/2013

2. GestDem 2013/3573, http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/dg_rt..., DG RTD initial reply found at http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/610/r....

Both applicants have lodged confirmatory applications (replies are still pending), which in my view fully refute the DG RTD and DG CNECT reasoning that insofar the Union’s ‘financial policy’ is concerned and the protection afforded by article 4(1)(a) forth indent of Regulation No 1049/2001, the documents exclusively concerning the contractual measures of FP6 and FP7 are not protected by this provision. The applicants have also ctiticised the appropriateness of DG RTD and DG CNECT effective encroaching into the policy areas of other Directorates-General, such as DG ECFIN and DG TAXUD. The rebuttal of the DG RTD and DG CNECT arguments and the criticism is found at:

1. GestDem No 2013/3375, http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/dg_cn..., confirmatory application of 31/7/2013, section ‘3. Protection of the public interest as regards the Union’s financial policy’.

2. GestDem 2013/3573, http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/dg_rt..., confirmatory application of 22/8/2013, section “1.1. Reliance on article 4(1)(a) forth indent of Regulation ‘Financial Policy’”.

II. REQUEST FOR DG ECFIN DRAWN UP DOCUMENTS

Regarding the Sixth- FP6 (Regulation No 2321/2002) and Seventh – FP7 Framework Programmes (Regulation No 1906/2006), copies of the following documents drawn up by DG ECFIN are kindly requested:

1. The minutes and notes of any inter-service consultations in which DG ECFIN had had in the period 2002-2012 with the Research family DGs about one the one hand the FP6 and FP7 and on the other hand the Community’s ‘financial policy’.

2. A partial copy of the document(s) with the opinions of the Legal Services – if any - communicated to the DG ECFIN in the period 2002-2012 about the “Community’s ‘financial policy’” aspect of FP6 & FP7. The application concerns a document’s author(s), date, title and recipients, and not the substance of the legal opinion.

3. The documents exchanged in the period 2002 – 2012 between senior officials of DG ECFIN with their counterparts of the Research family DGs about the “Community’s ‘financial policy’” aspect of FP6 & FP7.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Tasos Ntetsikas

Affaires économiques et financières

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 06/10/2013. We hereby acknowledge receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered on 07/10/2013 under reference number GestDem 2013/4933.

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 28/10/2013. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due course.

Yours faithfully,

J. Lotarski
Legal officer
 
European Commission
Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs
R.3: Evaluation, internal control, business continuity and document management

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Affaires économiques et financières

Dear Mr Ntetsikas,

Subject: Your application for access to documents – Ref GestDem No 2013/4933

We refer to your e-mail dated 06/10/2013 in which you make a request for access to documents, registered on 07/10/2013 under the above mentioned reference number.

We note that your application is formulated in a very general terms and potentially concerns a very large number of documents. In fact, in points 1 and 3 of your request you asked in practice all documents drawn by DG ECFIN during the period of 11 years regarding framework programmes FP6 and FP7 given that all of them potentially concern directly or indirectly “Community’s ‘financial policy’”. We worked to identify and retrieve these documents and this process resulted in the hundreds of documents which potentially might be related to your request. All these documents would need to be examined one by one in order to establish whether they are relevant for your request or not. For this reason we were not able to handle your application within normal time limits set out in Article 7 of Regulation 1049/2001.

Given the very large scope of your application handling of which would result in very important use of our limited human resources, we would confer with you in order to find a fair solution in line with Article 6(3) of the Regulation 1049/2001.

Based on this provision, we would kindly ask you whether you could narrow down the scope of your request, so as to reduce it to a more manageable amount of documents. This could be done by limiting you request to specific categories of documents, for instance our contributions to relevant inter-service consultations or by limiting the time period during which the document were produced.

If you have any questions concerning this proposal, you can contact us by email to: [DG ECFIN request email]

Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Yours faithfully,

J. Lotarski
Legal officer
 
European Commission
Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs
R.3: Evaluation, internal control, business continuity and document management

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Mr. Tasos Ntetsikas

Dear Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN),

Thank you for your email of 28 October 2013 pursuant to article 6(3) of Regulation No 1049/2001, the contents of which are fully noted.

Requests #1 and #2 of the initial application are narrowed down as detailed below.

For the sake of clarity, the entire section II of the application is restructured and reworded in order to fully reflect the narrowing down of requests #1 and #3.

II. REQUEST FOR DG ECFIN DRAWN UP DOCUMENTS

For the purposes of the present application the following documents will be referred to as ‘the FP6 & FP7 instruments ’:

A1. Regulation No 2321/2002 (FP6 Rules of Participation)

A2. Regulation No 1605/2006 (FP6 Rules of Participation

A3. Commission Decision C(2007) 1509 ‘Draft Commission decision (EC/Euratom) on the adoption of the model grant agreement in the context of the implementation of the Seventh Framework Programmes of the European Community (2007-2013) and the European Atomic Energy Community (2007-2011)’

A4. Commission Decision C(2003) 883 ‘Memorandum to the Commission - Guidelines on proposal evaluation (the model contract for independent expert included) and procedures for indirect actions under the Sixth Framework Programmes of the European Community and the European Atomic Energy Community (2002-2006) ’

A5. Commission Decision C(2003) 799 ‘Projet de décision de la Commission établissant un contrat type dans le cadre de la mise en oeuvre du sixième programme-cadre de la Communauté européenne et de la Communauté européenne de l'énergie atomique (2002-2006).’

A6. Every single version of the document entitled ‘Guide to Financial Issues relating to Indirect Actions of the Sixth Framework Programmes’. A particular version of that document is found at the link http://cordis.europa.eu/documents/docume....

A7. Every single version of the document entitled ‘Guide to Financial Issues relating to FP7 Indirect Actions’

Request #1 is framed hereunder in terms to the FP6 & FP7 instruments.

Request #2 remains as it stands.

Request #3 is limited to documents exchanged directly between DG ECFIN and the DG RTD at the level of Member of the Commission (including his/her cabinet) and Directors-General, without taking into consideration other recipients in cc. Put differently, the signatory is either a Commissioner or a Director-General of either Directorate-General, and the principal addressee is likewise a Commissioner or a Director-General.

Regarding the Sixth- FP6 (Regulation No 2321/2002) and Seventh – FP7 Framework Programmes (Regulation No 1906/2006), copies of the following documents drawn up by DG ECFIN are kindly requested:

1. Concerning the FP6 & FP7 instruments, the minutes and notes of any inter-service consultations in which DG ECFIN had had in the period 2002-2012 with the Research family DGs about one the one hand the FP6 and FP7 and on the other hand the Community’s ‘financial policy’.

2. A partial copy of the document(s) with the opinions of the Legal Services – if any - communicated to the DG ECFIN in the period 2002-2012 about the “Community’s ‘financial policy’” aspect of FP6 & FP7. The application concerns a document’s author(s), date, title and recipients, and not the substance of the legal opinion.

3. The documents exchanged in the period 2002 – 2012 between DG ECFIN and DG RTD at the level of Commissioner (including his/her cabinet) or Director-General about the “Community’s ‘financial policy’” aspect of FP6 & FP7.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Tasos Ntetsikas

Affaires économiques et financières

Dear Mr Ntetsikas,

Thank you for your message of 30 October and the precisions as to the scope of your request.

Unfortunately we are not yet able to provide you with the complete answer to your request, as the searches for the relevant documents are still on-going.

However, we can already inform you that we terminated the examination of the Commission's document management systems in order to identify the documents which would correspond to your request n°2 (opinions of Legal Services) and n°3 (exchanges between DG ECFIN and DG RTD). Following this examination we did not find any document which would correspond to your request. In particular, we did not find any exchange between DG ECFIN and the Commission Legal Service regarding the “Community’s ‘financial policy’” aspect of FP6 & FP7. Concerning exchanges between DG ECFIN and DG RTD none of the correspondence found was related to the “Community’s ‘financial policy’” aspect of FP6 & FP7.

We are unfortunately not in a position for the time being to reply to your request n°1 which is related to DG ECFIN contributions to the inter-service consultations. To identify the relevant contributions in the archived parts of our databases we requested assistance of the Commission central services and we are still waiting for their feedback.

We expect that we will be able to reply in comprehensive manner to your request in two weeks' time, by the 2 December at the latest.

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

Yours faithfully,

J. Lotarski
Legal officer
 
European Commission
Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs
R.3: Evaluation, internal control, business continuity and document management

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Mr. Tasos Ntetsikas

Dear Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN),

Thank you very much for the information regarding requests under (2) and (3) of the application GestDem 2013/4933.

Concerning the forthcoming second part of the DG ECFIN initial response, I would be obliged if DG ECFIN would provide me with an Ares reference number. This will facilitate future references to it.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Tasos Ntetsikas

Affaires économiques et financières

Dear Mr Ntetsikas,

Could you please verify and confirm the reference " A2. Regulation No 1605/2006 (FP6 Rules of Participation" that you quote in your request.
Regulation 1605/2006 "fixing the minimum selling prices for butter for the 19th individual invitation to tender under the standing invitation to tender provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1898/2005" appears to be unrelated to the FP6.

Thank you and kind regards,

J. Lotarski
Legal officer
 
European Commission
Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs
R.3: Evaluation, internal control, business continuity and document management

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Mr. Tasos Ntetsikas

Dear Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN),

Referring to the email of DG ECFIN of 22 November, I would like to apologise for having incorrectly stated the FP7 Rules of Participation in the A2 list item.

Instead of
"A2. Regulation No 1605/2006 (FP6 Rules of Participation"

please read
"A2. Regulation 1906/2006, O.J. of 30/12/2006, L 391 page 1 (FP7 rules of participation)"

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Tasos Ntetsikas

Affaires économiques et financières

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Ntetsikas,

Subject: Your application for access to documents – Ref GestDem No 2013/4933

We refer to your message dated 6 October 2013, and further clarifications dated 30 October and 22 November 2013, in which you make a request for access to documents, registered initially on 7 October 2013 under the above mentioned reference number.

Regarding the first part of your request ("Concerning the FP6 & FP7 instruments, the minutes and notes of any inter-service consultations in which DG ECFIN had had in the period 2002-2012 with the Research family DGs about one the one hand the FP6 and FP7 and on the other hand the Community’s ‘financial policy’"), we enclose a copy of the documents requested.
These documents are DG ECFIN contributions to the Interservice consultations (ISC) leading to the following instruments described in points A1 to A5 of your request: Regulation 2321/2002 (two ISCs), Regulation 1906/2006, Decision C(2007)1509, Decision C(2003)883, Decision C(2003)799.
We did not find DG ECFIN contributions to the ISCs leading to the "Guides to financial issues..." as described in points A6 and A7 of your request.

Regarding the second and the third part of your request ("A partial copy of the document(s) with the opinions of the Legal Services – if any - communicated to the DG ECFIN in the period 2002-2012 about the “Community’s ‘financial policy’” aspect of FP6 & FP7" and "The documents exchanged in the period 2002 – 2012 between DG ECFIN and DG RTD at the level of Commissioner (including his/her cabinet) or Director-General about the “Community’s ‘financial policy’” aspect of FP6 & FP7"), we did not find such documents.

Please note that the documents disclosed cannot be reproduced or disseminated for commercial purposes without prior consent given by the Commission.

Yours faithfully,

J. Lotarski
Legal officer
 
European Commission
Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs
R.3: Evaluation, internal control, business continuity and document management

Mr. Tasos Ntetsikas

Dear Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN),

Thank you very much for the response.

The diligence with which DG ECFIN searched for documents is highly appreciated.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Tasos Ntetsikas