Posts Tagged ‘Commission’

ACELG scholar comments on recent access to documents case (Breyer v Commission)

Friday, March 20th, 2015

330px-1475-ri-112-Patrick_Breyer_PiratenOn 27 February, the General Court of the EU delivered another ruling on the EU right of public access to documents. In case T-118/12 (Breyer v Commission), German Pirate Party member Patrick Breyer (pictured) took action against the Commission’s decision not to grant it access to documents, saying that these documents, being held by the Court, fell outside of the scope of the access law. While the Court ended up ruling otherwise, ACELG PhD Eljalill Tauschinsky points at an element of the case that is problematic nonetheless: the Court’s decision to make Breyer bear half of his own costs, to punish him for publishing documents pertaining to the court case on his website, thereby allegedly inviting readers to comment negatively and exert pressure on the Commission in an ongoing case. While a comparable situation occurred over 15 years ago in the Swedish Journalist Association case, Tauschinsky argues that Breyer was punished worse for a comparable breach.

The comment, posted on the ACELG blog, can be accessed here.

 

Processstukken inzake inbreukprocedures Commissie niet zonder meer uitgesloten van publieke toegang

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Cross-post van het Expertisecentrum voor Europees Recht (ECER), Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken.

 

De Commissie mag een verzoek om openbaarmaking van de processtukken van een lidstaat in een infractieprocedure niet automatisch afwijzen omdat het stukken van het EU-Hof zijn. Het besluit om stukken vrij te geven moet worden genomen op basis van de bijzondere regeling in de Eurowob. Dat heeft het EU-Gerecht bepaald.

Het gaat om het arrest van het Gerecht van 27 februari 2015 in de zaak T-188/12, Patrick Breyer tegen de Commissie.

Breyer verzocht de Commissie om vrijgave van de door Oostenrijk bij het EU-Hof ingediende processtukken (memories) in de infractieprocedure die de Commissie tegen Oostenrijk had gevoerd over de implementatie van de dataretentierichtlijn ( zaak C-189/09).

Voor een uitgebreide bespreking van dit arrest zie de ECER-website. -MH

 

 

Council declassifies TTIP negotiating mandate

Monday, October 13th, 2014

cooperating-governements_usa_regulating_flagsNearly a year and a half after its drafting, on 9 October 2014, the Council declassified and disclose the Commission’s negotiating mandate for the free trade talks with the United States better known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Maarten Hillebrandt

The disclosure comes after much public controversy that accompanied the various rounds of talks that have taken place up until now, in spite of the document being leaked at an early stage. Various MEPs, the European Ombudsman, and outgoing Commissioner for trade De Gucht criticised the Council for keeping it under the fold. In its annual transparency report, the EP renewed its pledge to do all in its power to “ensure that future trade negotiations, and in particular the on-going negotiations with the US […] were more transparent and open for stakeholder involvement” (p. 12). The decision to disclose the document at long last has been met with praise by various actors.

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Incoming Commission Vice-President Timmermans calls for more transparency

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

timmermansnw208In his hearing before the European Parliament yesterday, incoming Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans pledged to introduce a change of culture into the EU’s decision making. This, he argued, includes much broader transparency than has been the case up until now.

Maarten Hillebrandt

The European Parliament, as well as the Brussels-based press corps, responded very positively to the eloquent polyglot, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and one-time Minister of European Affairs. Timmermans answered questions from MEPs in Dutch, English, French, German, and Italian, and didn’t miss a chance to apologise for not speaking Polish and praising Poland for liberating his father’s home town at the end of the Second World War. According to expectation, Timmermans was approved for the position of First Vice-President and Commissioner for Better Regulation, European Human Rights hours after the hearing.

More interestingly for the readers of this blog, Timmermans capitalised on the need for the EU to bring its decision making closer to citizens. (more…)

“EU Ombudsman Blasts EC for Denying Document Access”

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Issues of integration, especially of economic integration, and the attached debate on national sovereignty are ranking high among the EU’s perceived transparency gaps these days.

With integration under pressure, markets and civil society nervously follow the news. The UK’s current lukewarmness towards the European project and considerations to rephrase the terms of its engagement are one good example. This week, the European Ombudsman riposted the Commission for refusing to disclose a report assessing the access of UK citizens to fundamental rights stipulated in the European Charter of Human Rights (ECHR), FOIANet reports. The Ombudsman was quoted stating:

In view of the importance of the documents concerned for the rights of EU citizens, and the fact that the Commission failed to engage constructively with the detailed analysis put forward by the Ombudsman, this constitutes a serious instance of maladministration.

So far, the Commission has not come up with a response to the Ombudsman’s report, to the detriment of the requesting party, the NGO European Citizen Action Service.

 For the full article, click here.

Dalligate tests the European Parliament’s oversight over the Commission

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

The following piece was originally posted on the ACELG blog.

By Maarten Hillebrandt

A few weeks ago, the European institutions were shaken by a series of events which, at first sight, could constitute the plot of an institutional thriller. On 16 October, after an investigation into allegations of corruption conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the Maltese Health Commissioner John Dalli was asked to resign. The European watchdog acted on a tip from the tobacco producer Swedish Match, and its Director, Giovanni Kessler, called it a “classic” case of lobbying-turned-into-corruption. Undisclosed sources suggest tobacco interest beyond the Swedish producer may be implicated. When the Head of OLAF’s Supervisory Board, Christiaan Timmermans, stepped down within a week after Dalli’s resignation, this further added to the confusion. As an anonymous MEP stated in the EUobserver “There is a feeling that there is something politically delicate for the Commission in this whole business”.

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