Date: Amsterdam, 28 June 2019
Subject: Access to Commission Documents - Appeal
Herewith I would like to appeal the June 18 2002 decision of Director-General for Trade M.P. Carl to refuse me access to the documents I requested in my letter of April 26 2002. Please note that the April 26 letter was an appeal following the unsatisfactory response to my original request of February 19 2002. The Commission interpreted that the appeal was broader than the original request and decided to treat the appeal as an initial request (see attached).
The Commission's response is very unclear and does not distinguish between the four categories of documents mentioned in my request. It is therefore not clear if the arguments used to reject my request apply to all categories of documents. I will in this appeal assume that they do.
Mr. Carl argues that for "most of the meetings concerned the officials that attended have not prepared any written reports". If this would indeed be the case, it would constitute a serious lack of accountability on behalf of the Commission. I encourage the Commission to reinvestigate this point. In any case I would appreciate to know for which of the meetings reports do exist. It seems particularly unlikely that no EC reports were made of the meetings involving the ESF and the members of the 133 (services) Committee. "In those limited number of cases where reports have been prepared", Mr. Carl denies me access on the basis of Article 4(1) of Council Regulation 1049/2001 ("international relations"). Mr. Carl claims the reports "contain sensitive information either regarding third countries and / or the offensive or defensive interest of EC in future trade negotiations" and are therefore exempt from disclosure. I challenge this argument, as it unduly discriminates between industry and other civil society groups. There is no justification for withholding information (even if defined as "sensitive") when it is being shared with business interest groups, as is the case here. This information should obviously be available to all interested civil society, in the interest of increased transparency around the work of the Union institutions. Considering what is at stake in the GATS 2000 negotiations, for instance concerning essential public services, transparency around the EC decision- making on these issues is of crucial importance.
I therefore restate my request for access to:
I expect a detailed response to my request for each of these four types of documents and look forward to a positive consideration of my appeal.
GATSwatch is a joint project of Corporate Europe Observatory and Transnational Institute