Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
Dear European Parliament, Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1…
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Von
Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
Betreff
Documents regarding Ioannis Lagos [#219403]
Datum
28. April 2021 11:44
An
Europäisches Parlament
Status
Warte auf Antwort — E-Mail wurde erfolgreich versendet.
Dear European Parliament, Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, we are requesting the following documents: 1. Any and all documents regarding or related to the request for waiver of the immunity of Ioannis Lagos. This includes, but is not limited to: a) For any and all meetings held by the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs in which the request for waiver was discussed or mentioned: all records of the aforementioned meetings. This may include, but not necessarily limited to, minutes of the meetings, verbatim reports of the meetings, transcripts etc., that would provide a record of the proceedings, as well as any outcomes. b) All documents created or received by the Legal Affairs Committee for the purpose and/or in the context of these discussions, and/or distributed among the attendees before or during the course of these meetings. This may include, but is not limited to, briefings or background notes, documents presented by interested parties (such as Ioannis Lagos), or any relevant legal assessments. c) All correspondence – including, but not limited to, letters, e-mails, and any attachments – regarding, related to, or mentioning the request for waiver of the immunity of Ioannis Lagos and the subsequent deliberations. d) Every document in Committee dossier JURI/9/04660. Please note that I am interested in all documents from 20 October 2020 to date. 2. Any and all documents regarding or related to the allowances granted to Ioannis Lagos by the European Parliament from 20 October 2020 to date. We are interested in particular in: - Travel expenses, including for travel, accommodation and related expenses; - Daily allowance (or “subsistence allowance”); - General expenditure allowance, as well as reimbursements of professional training costs for language and IT costs; and - Expenses related to salaries, relating to accredited as well as local parliamentary assistants. This includes, but is not limited to: - all applications, receipts, expenses forms, tickets, odometer readings, invoices and/or bills submitted by Ioannis Lagos in relation to these allowances; - all documents related to or regarding the reimbursement of these allowances; and - all correspondence with Ioannis Lagos’ office, including internal correspondence, as well as correspondence with third parties regarding these allowances, and correspondence with the Parliament’s administration services. To this regard, we would like to argue that there is an undeniable public interest in the disclosure of the requested documents. Ioannis Lagos’ activity as a Member of the European Parliament, as well as the process of waiving his immunity, has attracted the attention of international media, including the New York Times, as well as international human rights organisations, such as Human Rights Watch. [1] [2] While public scrutiny and accountability of the expenses of any publicly-elected Member of the European Parliament should be the most basic of standards in any democracy, this case entails particular importance since Ioannis Lagos has been found guilty of one major crime (membership and leadership of a criminal organisation) and two smaller offences in Greece, and sentenced to a 13 years and 8 months in prison. For a period of six months since his conviction as a criminal to date, Ioannis Lagos has continued to receive allowances from the European Parliament, including for travel. It is worth stating that Mr Lagos has previously stated to the press that, in the case his immunity would be revoked by the Parliament, he was “planning to flee to a “European country” where his rights would be protected”. [3] In this context, it is essential for the public to be able to scrutinise Mr Lagos’ expenses for the period ranging from his conviction to the waiving of his immunity, in order to guarantee that European Parliament resources were not used to perpetuate sentenced criminal activity, or to evade compliance with a prison sentence dictated by an EU Member State court. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any doubts or questions in regards to this request. Thank you in advance. Yours faithfully, << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >> Notes: [1] [3] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/27/worl… [2] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/worl… << Adresse entfernt >> Anfragenr: 219403 Antwort an: <<E-Mail-Adresse>> Laden Sie große Dateien zu dieser Anfrage hier hoch: https://fragdenstaat.de/a/219403/ Postanschrift << Adresse entfernt >> Luisa Izuzquiza << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >>
Europäisches Parlament
EP(2021)011519/DP/en - acknowledgement of receipt Our reference: EP(2021)011519 Dear Ms Izuzguiza, The European…
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Europäisches Parlament
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EP(2021)011519/DP/en - acknowledgement of receipt
Datum
28. April 2021 17:14
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Warte auf Antwort
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Our reference: EP(2021)011519 Dear Ms Izuzguiza, The European Parliament hereby acknowledges receipt of your application for public access to documents, which was registered on 28/04/2021. All requests for public access to documents are treated in compliance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. In accordance with the above-mentioned Regulation, your application will be handled within 15 working days upon registration of your request. Your personal data will be processed in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data. The European Parliament reserves the right to ask for additional information regarding your identity in order to verify compliance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 and the European Parliament’s implementing measures. Your attention is drawn to the fact that you have lodged your application via the fragdenstaat.de website, which is a private website not officially related to the European Parliament. Therefore, the European Parliament cannot be held accountable for any technical issues or problems linked to the use of this system. In addition, please note that any personal data that you provide by using fragdenstaat.de website may be disclosed to the general public and visible on this private website. The European Parliament cannot be held responsible for such disclosure. Should you need to communicate directly to Parliament any personal data and would like to avoid public disclosure, you may do so from your private email address by using the following functional mailbox address: AccesDocs(at)europarl.europa.eu Kind regards,
Europäisches Parlament
EP(2021)011519/DP/en - time limit extension Our reference: EP(2021)011519 Dear Ms Izuzguiza, The time limit for…
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Europäisches Parlament
Betreff
EP(2021)011519/DP/en - time limit extension
Datum
20. Mai 2021 17:12
Status
Warte auf Antwort
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Our reference: EP(2021)011519 Dear Ms Izuzguiza, The time limit for responding to your application of 28 April 2021 for public access to documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 expires on 21 May 2021. However, the internal consultation with regard to your request requires more time than expected, so that Parliament must exceptionally extend the time limit provided by Article 7(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 by a further 15 working days (to 14 June) in accordance with Article 7(3) of that Regulation in order to reply to your application. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience. We thank you for your understanding. Best regards,
Europäisches Parlament
Dear Ms lzuzguiza, dear Mr Semsrott, On 28 April 2021 , the European Parliament registered your application, base…
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Europäisches Parlament
Via
Briefpost
Betreff
Datum
11. Juni 2021
Status
Warte auf Antwort
Dear Ms lzuzguiza, dear Mr Semsrott, On 28 April 2021 , the European Parliament registered your application, based on Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, for public access to all documents from 20 October 2020 to date related to: (1) the request treated under procedure 2020/2240(IMM) for the waiver of immunity of loannis Lagos, MEP, including all meeting documents, correspondence, briefing notes, legal opinions and every document in committee dossier JURl/9/04660; and (2) allowances granted to Mr Lagos by the European Parliament, including any correspondence regarding such allowances, and the payment of salaries to Mr Lagos' local and accredited parliamentary assistants. Your application has been examined in light of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 laying down the terms and conditions for public access to the documents of Parliament, Council and Commission, as well as Regulation (EU) 2018/17252 on the processing of personal data by Union institutions and bodies. As a preliminary remark, Parliament would like to point out the particular nature of procedures on immunity. Such procedures are initiated by a transmission letter, sent to Parliament by the competent judicial authorities of the Member State concerned and containing a request to waive a Member's immunity. It then falls upon the Legal Affairs Committee to consider that request and suggest for Parliament to waive or defend the relevant Member's immunity. The immunity at stake is not a personal right of Members, but a prerogative vested in Parliament as an institution to uphold its parliamentary independence, which is a vital element of parliamentary democracy. As a consequence, Parliament treats requests to waive a Member's immunity from the perspective of parliamentary independence, which would notably be jeopardised if Members were subject to judicial proceedings because of their voting record or in light of charges brought by political opponents. Parliament does not, therefore, consider requests to waive a Member's immunity from the perspective of that Member's guilt or lack thereof, the appropriateness of the relevant national court proceedings or the relative merit of national legal and judicial systems. Assessment of your application A) Point (1) of your application Parliament has identified a number of documents in relation to procedure 2020/2240(IMM) as falling within the scope of point (1) of your application, including: - the transmission letter containing the request for the waiver of immunity; - a communication to Members of the Legal Affairs Committee containing the transmission letter; - meeting documents, including agendas, minutes and recordings concerning the relevant meetings of the legal affairs committee, which took place on 4 February, 12 April and 22 April 2021; and - the relevant committee report and Parliament's corresponding decision. Parliament would first like to point out that under its rules, several of the identified documents are publicly available, namely the committee report and Parliament's corresponding decision to waive Mr Lagos' immunity, as well as the agendas and minutes of the relevant meetings. Indeed, Parliament's decision under procedure 2020/2240(IMM) lays out in some detail the factual and legal circumstances under which Parliament decided to waive Mr Lagos' immunity. At the same time, Parliament's rules, and in particular paragraph 11 of Rule 9 of the Rules of Procedure, provide that procedures on immunity, including, in particular, documents received with regard to such procedures, shall be treated with the utmost confidentiality. 'The agendas and minutes are available on Parliament's public register of documents; however, please note that the minutes will be published only after formal approval, and may therefore not yet be available for more recent committee meetings: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/Registre…. The protection of the institution's decision-making processes In accordance with the second subparagraph of Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, access to a document is to be refused where the disclosure of opinions for internal use would seriously undermine the institution's decision-making process. This would be the case when the risk of a future disclosure of similar opinions would lead to a culture of self-censorship within the institution, depriving its decision-making bodies of frank and complete views. Parliament's rules concerning the confidentiality of certain documents relevant to procedures on immunity serve to protect the integrity of such procedures in light of their purpose to uphold parliamentary independence. Indeed, those of the identified documents that are not already publicly available are precisely those that, by their very nature, contain opinions and information that would be relevant to an assessment, from the perspective of parliamentary independence, of the request to waive an MEP's immunity. If disclosed by Parliament, such confidential documents would invite pressure on and thus seriously undermine the immunity procedure. For this reason an obligation for Parliament to disclose such confidential documents would lead to a culture of self-censorship within Parliament and of national authorities requesting an MEP's immunity to be waived. Such self-censorship would seriously undermine Parliament's decisionmaking process in the context of parliamentary independence, a vital element of parliamentary democracy. It is in this context that Parliament's rules, and in particular paragraph 11 of Rule 9 of the Rules of Procedure, provide for the treatment with utmost confidentiality of certain documents relevant to procedures on immunity. According to the relevant case-law, the overriding need to ensure that certain, by their nature confidential procedures operate correctly, and in order to guarantee that the objectives of such procedures are not jeopardised, general presumptions of non-disclosure may apply to documents relevant to such confidential procedures.6 In light of the purpose of the procedure on immunity, a general presumption exists according to which public access to confidential documents of the above-described nature would seriously undermine Parliament's decision-making process in the sense of the second subparagraph of Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. For these reasons, Parliament considers that the exception regarding the protection of the institution's decision-making process applies to those documents identified under point (1) of your application that are not already in the public domain. The protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual In accordance with point (b) of Article 4(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, access to a document shall be refused where this would undermine the protection of personal data. This would notably be the case if personal data were transmitted in breach of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725. Specifically, point (b) of Article 9(1) of that Regulation requires that recipients other than Union institutions may only receive personal data if they demonstrate that such transmission is necessary for a specific purpose in the public interest. Due to the above-described nature of those documents identified under point (1) of your application that are not already in the public domain, that is, given that they concern acts or opinions that have been attributed to Mr Lagos and that have given rise to criminal convictions, they contain personal data within the meaning of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725. In your application you note that the waiver of Mr Lagos' immunity has attracted public attention, making reference to news articles that have appeared in the New York Times. Parliament recognises that MEPs' public activities often create public awareness and agrees that media coverage of such activities is generally in the public interest. However, such coverage does not depend on public access to confidential documents related to the immunity procedure, not least given the public availability of key documents, as outlined above. Furthermore, the fact that documents containing personal data are relevant to an existing public debate does not by itself demonstrate the necessity of the transfer of such data. For these reasons, Parliament considers that the conditions for the transmission of any personal data contained in those documents identified under point (1) of your application that are not already in the public domain have not been satisfied and that the exception regarding the protection of privacy and integrity of the individual applies to those documents. B) Point (2) of your application The General Court has underlined the necessity to maintain a distinction between the concept of a document and that of information, for the purposes of applying Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. Information may be distinguished from a document, in particular, as far as it is defined as a data element that may appear in one or more documents. In that respect, since none of the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 deals with the right of access to information as such, it cannot be inferred that the public's right of access to an institution documents implies a duty on the part of the institution to reply to any request for information from an individual. However, the Court has also established that all information which can be extracted from an electronic database by general use through pre-programmed search tools must be regarded as an existing document, and that the institutions, to satisfy the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, may be led to establish a document from such information'. The payment of allowances and salaries is handled through an electronic database, from which information can be extracted through pre-programmed search tools. Parliament is therefore able to extract information about such payments. This is also the case with regard to allowances and salaries received by Mr. Lagos and his assistants in the time period covered by your application. Parliament has also identified correspondence between Parliament and Mr. Lagos concerning allowances falling within the scope of your application. Such information related to salaries and allowances contained in a database or in correspondence constitutes personal data within the meaning of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725. In your application you imply that Mr Lagos' conviction, as well as comments he may have made with regard to avoiding the consequences of his conviction, call for scrutiny of his finances and so justify the transmission of personal data. However, in a democratic society, such scrutiny of an individual's personal data with a view to investigating possible instances of improper or illegal behaviour is carried out by the competent independent judicial authorities and supervisory bodies. It is therefore not necessary to transmit to any other recipients personal data for the purpose of such scrutiny. For these reasons, Parliament considers that the conditions under point (b) of Article 9(1) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 for the transmission of personal data have not been satisfied and that the exception regarding the protection of privacy and integrity of the individual applies to the documents requested under point (2) of your application. CJ Partial access In accordance with Article 4(6) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 , the parts of a document not covered by any of the exceptions shall be released. Without prejudice to the fact that partial access is not possible in cases where a presumption of non-disclosure applies, 10 Parliament has concluded that, insofar as the exceptions identified above do not apply to the entirety of the documents in question, partial access would not respond to the purpose of your application. For the same reasons, and since the number of document pages concerned would be very large, granting partial access would also constitute an excessive administrative burden, in particular taking into consideration the time-limits under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. Conclusion In view of the foregoing, and in accordance with point (b) of Article 4(1) and the second subparagraph of Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 , read in conjunction with Union legislation regarding the protection of personal data, Parliament refuses access to (1) the transmission letter containing the request for the waiver of immunity, a related communication to Members and recordings of the three meetings held under procedure 2020/2240(IMM); and (2) documents related to allowances granted to Mr Lagos by the European Parliament, correspondence regarding those allowances and the payment of salaries to Mr Lagos' local and accredited parliamentary assistants. Parliament informs you that in conformity with Article 7(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 you may, within 15 working days of receiving this letter, introduce a confirmatory application requesting Parliament to reconsider its position. Yours sincerely, Klaus WELLE
Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
Confirmatory application EP(2021)011519 [#219403]
Dear European Parliament, Please forward this to the person res…
An Europäisches Parlament Details
Von
Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
Betreff
Confirmatory application EP(2021)011519 [#219403]
Datum
1. Juli 2021 14:27
An
Europäisches Parlament
Status
E-Mail wurde erfolgreich versendet.
Dear European Parliament, Please forward this to the person responsible for reviewing confirmatory applications. With letter dated 9 June 2021, received on 11 June 2021, the European Parliament refused access to the requested documents regarding Ioannis Lagos on the following basis: "In accordance with the second subparagraph of Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, access to a document is to be refused where the disclosure of opinions for internal use would seriously undermine the institution's decision-making process. This would be the case when the risk of a future disclosure of similar opinions would lead to a culture of self-censorship within the institution, depriving its decision-making bodies of frank and complete views." and "The protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual In accordance with point (b) of Article 4(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, access to a document shall be refused where this would undermine the protection of personal data. This would notably be the case if personal data were transmitted in breach of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725. Specifically, point (b) of Article 9(1) of that Regulation requires that recipients other than Union institutions may only receive personal data if they demonstrate that such transmission is necessary for a specific purpose in the public interest." We hereby argue that: I. The European Parliament has committed a manifest error or assessment in the application of Article 4 (3) of Regulation 1049/2001 The second subparagraph of Article 4 (3) of Regulation 1049/2001 reads: “Access to a document containing opinions for internal use as part of deliberations and preliminary consultations within the institution concerned shall be refused even after the decision has been taken if disclosure of the document would seriously undermine the institution's decision-making process, unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure.” First, it must be recalled that according to well-established case law, EU authorities must demonstrate how disclosure would “specifically and actually” undermine an interest protected under Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001. Authorities must also demonstrate how this risk is “reasonably foreseeable and not purely hypothetical”. In the present case, the Parliament has failed to provide an explanation as to how disclosure would seriously undermine its decision-making process - as required by Regulation 1049/2001 itself, as well as the above-cited, well-established case law. The Parliament has also failed to demonstrate how the risk posed by disclosure would be “reasonably foreseeable and not purely hypothetical”. The Parliament has merely argued that “If disclosed by Parliament, such confidential documents would invite pressure on and thus seriously undermine the immunity procedure.” This, however, does not constitute an explanation in itself as to how disclosure in this particular case would in fact prevent Parliament from carrying out internal deliberations in the future. It is worth noting that the Court of Justice has established that, for external pressure to constitute legitimate ground for refusing access to requested documents, the reality of such pressure must be established with certainty, and evidence must be provided to show that there is a foreseeable risk that the decision to be taken would be substantially affected due to this pressure. To this extent, the narrow arguments put forward by Parliament lack the certainty and evidence required by the court. Instead, Parliament argues that disclosure “would lead to a culture of self-censorship within the institution, depriving its decision-making bodies of frank and complete views.” This argument shows a concerning view of a democratically-elected body in which transparency of decision-making processes would lead Members of the European Parliament to alter and shift their own views and political criteria depending on public opinion. Surely MEPs are ready and capable of standing by their opinions, views and actions; that’s the groundwork of democratic processes. To this extent, the implication that Parliament would be more or less inclined to take decisions (which are presumably in the public interest) depending on the amount of “external pressure” it receives, is one that surely Parliament itself would refute. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that, if by “pressure” Parliament is referring to the ability of members of the public to express their opinion about a given subject, then this external influence can better be defined as citizens’ exercise of their right of freedom of expression and their right to participate in the EU democratic process. We would like to recall that one of the essential pillars on the basis of which the EU was founded is a participatory democracy, and that MEPs are democratically-elected representatives of EU citizens. To this extent, “pressure” cannot in any way be considered grounds on which access to the requested documents can be refused, but only an incentive for greater transparency. This should be most evident and valuable to Parliament, above any other EU body. Finally, it is worth stating that the European Court of Justice has found, in relation to the exceptions listed under Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001, that: “as such exceptions derogate from the principle of the widest possible public access to documents, they must be interpreted and applied strictly.” II. The European Parliament has committed a manifest error or assessment in the application of Article 4 (1) of Regulation 1049/2001 The Parliament has stated that it has identified data about payments as well as correspondence between Parliament and Mr. Lagos as part of the request. The Parliament argues, in relation to the documents identified, that “given that they concern acts or opinions that have been attributed to Mr Lagos and that have given rise to criminal convictions, they contain personal data within the meaning of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725”. Parliament also states, in regards with correspondence falling under the scope of our request, that “Such information related to salaries and allowances contained in a database or in correspondence constitutes personal data within the meaning of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725.” To this extent, we argue that documents containing “acts or opinions that have been attributed to” an elected representative do not represent personal data as such by default. If this were to constitute an acceptable argument, every document related to the work of MEPs would concern personal data and would therefore never be suitable for disclosure given that the work of elected representatives itself invariably entails - and in fact is entirely based on - “acts or opinions”. Refusing access to documents based on such a wide and generic argument therefore violates the principle of widest possible access, as well as Parliament’s obligation to interpret exceptions under Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001 in a strict manner. In a similar vein, it must be recalled that correspondence in itself does not constitute personal data, as evidenced by the fact that institutions constantly release correspondence in response to access to documents requests. Finally, with regards to the personal data identified, such as salary and allowances information, the necessity of transmitting this information has been established in our initial application. Scrutiny over the use of public funds when it comes to remuneration of public representatives and their staff is a basic democratic principle - even more so when the public representative in question finds himself in such an abnormal judicial and political situation, having been convicted and jailed yet continuing to exercise his rights and decision-making power as an MEP. In its response, Parliament argues that “scrutiny of an individual's personal data with a view to investigating possible instances of improper or illegal behaviour is carried out by the competent independent judicial authorities and supervisory bodies.” It must be recalled that public scrutiny - in particular by members of civil society, journalists and researchers - is not incompatible with judicial and political scrutiny, but rather an essentially complementary form of scrutiny in any democratic society. This is particularly true when it comes to representatives whose position and power emanates and is dependent on the electorate. While investigations by the courts and other bodies are undoubtedly important, citizens and civil society have the right to examine, question and draw their own conclusions on the basis of information made available to them. This is in fact the very purpose of the fundamental right of access to EU documents, which allows for democratic participation and the exercise of the right to freedom of expression. To this extent, it must be recalled that matters relating to the waiver of Mr Lagos’ immunity and his expenses have only to date been subject to the Parliament’s own scrutiny and review. Surely Parliament would agree that this is not - and should not be - the sole and exclusive form of accountability that can be sought in the European Union. Public scrutiny therefore remains not only valid, but in fact relevant and important, especially in Mr. Lagos’ case. III. There is an overriding public interest in the disclosure of the requested documents As written in the original application, there is a great public interest in accessing the requested documents regarding MEP Ioannis Lagos. Not only has Ioannis Lagos continued to receive allowances from the European Parliament, including for travel, while his immunity process was ongoing; he continues to receive allowances to date, even though he has been jailed in Greece for running a criminal organisation. It must be stated again that Mr Lagos is an elected representative whose permanence in his seat directly depends on the will of the electorate. As stated above, the fundamental right to information has been widely recognised as essential in allowing members of the public to form their own opinions and to freely express them - including by using these opinions upon exercising their right to vote. While transparency of the actions, decisions and expenses of publicly elected representatives is always of utmost importance, in the case of Mr Lagos the public interest is undeniable. Parliament has recognised itself in its response letter that Mr Lagos’ situation has attracted the interest of the media and public attention. Parliament has also argued that media “coverage does not depend on public access to confidential documents related to the immunity procedure, not least given the public availability of key documents, as outlined above.” This is however a unilateral interpretation of the value of the requested documents from the Parliament only. We can argue with certainty that journalists and civil society - such as ourselves - have a different view on the importance and value of these documents and how it can affect and enhance journalistic investigations. The documents already publicly available offer an insufficient and superficial overview of the immunity waiving process and related expenses, which is made evident by the fact that we felt the need to file this access to documents requests in order to obtain documents which would allow further scrutiny and a deeper insight into the process. In this sense, the fact that widespread and international media coverage around Mr Lagos’ case and situation exists undoubtedly demonstrates strong public interest. It also doesn’t preclude the fact that greater transparency around the issue at stake is an essential component of a more informed, more in-depth public debate - which is a necessity given the circumstances: a convicted and jailed elected representative who continues to hold his position in the European Parliament and continues to exercise his rights and decision-making power on a daily basis. This situation affects the lives of 500 million EU citizens who, at the very least, deserve the opportunity to form and have an opinion of their own on the matter, and to act accordingly. Lastly, the Parliament has not sufficiently demonstrated that disclosure or partial disclosure would require an excessive administrative burden. In light of all of the reasons above, we call on the European Parliament to disclose the requested documents in full. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any doubts or questions with regards to this confirmatory application. Sincerely, Arne Semsrott << Adresse entfernt >> Anfragenr: 219403 Antwort an: <<E-Mail-Adresse>> Laden Sie große Dateien zu dieser Anfrage hier hoch: https://fragdenstaat.de/a/219403/ Postanschrift << Adresse entfernt >> Luisa Izuzquiza << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >>
Europäisches Parlament
EP(2021)011519C/DP/en - acknowledgement of receipt Our reference: EP(2021)011519C Dear Ms Izuzguiza, dear Mr Sem…
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Europäisches Parlament
Betreff
EP(2021)011519C/DP/en - acknowledgement of receipt
Datum
6. Juli 2021 13:51
Status
Warte auf Antwort
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Our reference: EP(2021)011519C Dear Ms Izuzguiza, dear Mr Semsrott, The European Parliament hereby acknowledges receipt of your confirmatory application for public access to documents, which was registered on 2 July 2021. All requests for public access to documents are treated in compliance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. In accordance with the above-mentioned Regulation, your confirmatory application will be handled within 15 working days upon registration of your request. Your personal data will be processed in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data. The European Parliament reserves the right to ask for additional information regarding your identity in order to verify compliance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 and the European Parliament’s implementing measures. Your attention is drawn to the fact that you have lodged your application via the fragdenstaat.de website, which is a private website not officially related to the European Parliament. Therefore, the European Parliament cannot be held accountable for any technical issues or problems linked to the use of this system. In addition, please note that any personal data that you provide by using fragdenstaat.de website may be disclosed to the general public and visible on this private website. The European Parliament cannot be held responsible for such disclosure. Should you need to communicate directly to Parliament any personal data and would like to avoid public disclosure, you may do so from your private email address by using the following functional mailbox address: AccesDocs(at)europarl.europa.eu Kind regards,
Europäisches Parlament
EP(2021)011519C/DP/en - time limit extension Our reference: EP(2021)011519C Dear Ms Izuzquiza, dear Mr Semsrott,…
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Europäisches Parlament
Betreff
EP(2021)011519C/DP/en - time limit extension
Datum
22. Juli 2021 17:46
Status
Warte auf Antwort
image001.png
8,8 KB


Our reference: EP(2021)011519C Dear Ms Izuzquiza, dear Mr Semsrott, The time limit for responding to your confirmatory application of 2 July 2021 for public access to documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 expires on 23 July 2021. However, the internal consultation with regard to your request requires more time than expected, so that Parliament must exceptionally extend the time limit provided by Article 8(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 by a further 15 working days in accordance with Article 8(2) of that Regulation in order to reply to your application. That being said, a response is being prepared and will be sent to you via registered mail shortly. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience. We thank you for your understanding. Best regards,

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Europäisches Parlament
Our reference: EP(2021 )011519C (to be quoted in future correspondence) Dear Ms izuzguiza, dear Mr Semsrott, On 2…
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Europäisches Parlament
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Our reference: EP(2021 )011519C (to be quoted in future correspondence)
Datum
29. Juli 2021
Status
Warte auf Antwort
Dear Ms izuzguiza, dear Mr Semsrott, On 28 April 2021 , the European Parliament registered your application, based on Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 1 ('initial application'), for public access to all documents from 20 October 2020 to date related to: (1) the request treated under procedure 2020/2240(1MM) for the waiver of immunity of Mr loannis Lagos, MEP, including all meeting documents, correspondence, briefing notes, legal opinions and every document in committee dossier JURl/9/04660; and (2) allowances granted to Mr Lagos by the European Parliament, including any correspondence regarding such allowances, and the payment of salaries to Mr Lagos' local and accredited parliamentary assistants. In its decision of 9 June 2021 ('initial decision'), Parliament has: (1) under of point (1) of your application, noted the public availability of the committee report and Parliament's corresponding decision to waive Mr Lagos' immunity, as well as the agendas and minutes ofthe relevant meetings, and, in accordance with point (b) of Article 4(1) and the second subparagraph of Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, read in conjunction with Union legislation regarding the protection of personal data, refused access to: - the transmission letter containing the request for the waiver of immunity; - a related communication to Members; and - recordings of the three meetings held under procedure 2020/2240(IMM). (2) under point (2) of your application and in accordance with point (b) of Article 4(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, read in conjunction with Union legislation regarding the protection of personal data, refused access to documents related to: - allowances granted to Mr Lagos by the European Parliament; - correspondence regarding those allowances; and - the payment of salaries to Mr Lagos' local and accredited parliamentary assistants. A preliminary remark included in Parliament's initial decision sought to shed light on the particular nature of procedures on immunity in order to make clear the context in which Parliament's takes its decisions. In particular, as noted in the initial decision, paragraph 11 of Rule 9 of the Rules of Procedure provides that immunity matters, including, in particular, documents received with regard to such procedures, shall be treated by the competent committee with the utmost confidentiality. Your confirmatory application On 1 July 2021, the European Parliament received your confirmatory application ('confirmatory application'), asking Parliament to reconsider its initial decision and provide public access to all identified documents. You particularly base your request on the consideration that access to those of the identified documents that are not already publicly available: - would not create a reasonably foreseeable risk of actually and seriously undermining the procedure on immunity; - would not put pressure on the procedure on immunity and that such pressure would not create a reasonably foreseeable risk of substantially affecting Parliament's decision; - would not create the kind of pressure that could alter Parliament's decisions, because Members of Parliament (MEPs) would not shift their own views in light of public opinion; - would not create the kind of pressure !hat Parliament could object to, given that any such external influence would result from more transparency and from citizens' exercising their rights to freedom of expression and participation in the Union's democratic processes; - would not concern personal data because documents containing "acts or opinions that have been attributed to" an elected representative would not represent personal data as such by default; - would be necessary because additional public scrutiny, next to that of the competent independent judicial authorities and supervisory bodies, is a complementary form of scrutiny in any democratic society and because citizens have a right to draw their own conclusions, which is the purpose of the right to access to documents; and - would respond to an overriding public interest, because the widespread media coverage with regard to Mr Lagos would then be more informed and more in-depth, which would be necessary given the circumstances. Assessment of vour confirmatorv application Pursuant to Rule 122(5) of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament and Article 15 of the Decision of the Bureau of the European Parliament on the rules governing public access to European Parliament documents, as Vice-President responsible for matters relating to access to documents, am responding to your confirmatory application on behalf and under the authority of the Bureau. 1 do so in light of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, as weil as Regulation (EU) 2018/17255 on the processing of personal data by Union institutions and bodies. A) Point (1) of your app/ication I would first like to point out that, while Parliament's decision under procedure 2020/2240(IMM) lays out in some detail the factual and legal circumstances under which Parliament decided to waive Mr Lagos' immunity, Parliament's rules, and in particular paragraph 11 of Rule 9 of the Rules of Procedure, provide that procedures on immunity, including, in particular, any documents received with regard to such procedures, shall be treated with the utmost confidentiality. In addition, pursuant to this provision, lhe competent committee shall always consider requests relaling to procedures on immunity in camera. The protection of the institution's decision-makinq processes In accordance with the second subparagraph of Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, access to a document is to be refused where the disclosure of opinions for internal use would seriously undermine the institution's decision-making process. This would be the case when the risk of a future disclosure of similar opinions would lead to a culture of self-censorship within the institution, depriving its decision-making bodies of frank and complete views. Parliament's rules concerning the confidentiality of certain documents relevant to procedures on immunity serve to protect the integrity of such procedures in light of their purpose to uphold parliamentary independence. Indeed, those of the identified documents that are not already publicly available are precisely those that, by their very nature, contain opinions and information that are relevant to the assessment, from the perspective of parliamentary independence, of the request to waive an MEP's immunity. lf disclosed by Parliament, such confidential documents would invite pressure on and thus seriously undermine the immunity procedure. Parliament is subject to sincere cooperation with Member States' authorities on requests for waivers (Article 4(3) TEU). Requests for waivers are dealt with utmost confidentiality because they concern, as in the present case, criminal procedures. In order to protect all persons concerned by such procedures, including witnesses and victims and perpetrators, meetings are held in camera, thus with a strictly limited participation of members of JURI and those staffwhich are indispensable to support the work ofthe Members. The relevant documents, such as the Notice to the Members, are also circulated only amongst those who have a need to know. lt is not allowed to take copies or to circulate these documents freely. The minutes conlain only the result but no individual opinions expressed by the Member concerned by the request for a waiver or by any member of JURI. No recordings are made or allowed because this would undermine the in camera form of the meetings. lf Parliament were to release the documents transmitted by national authorities in order to justify a request for a waiver, the sincere cooperation between the Parliament and these national authorities would be endangered if not made impossible. For this reason, an obligation for Parliament to disclose such confidential documents would seriously undermine Parliament's decision-making process when deliberating on a request for waiver of immunity Parliament holds a wide margin of discretion in the political decision of waiving or not the immunity of one of its members. lmmunity serves to protect the functioning and independence of the Parliament and of its members. lt is in this context that Parliament's rules, and in particular paragraph 11 of Rule 9 of the Rules of Procedure, provide for the treatment with utmost confidentiality of any documents received with regard to procedures on immunity. According to the relevant case-law, the overriding need to ensure that certain, by their nature confidential procedures operate correctly, and in order to guarantee that the objectives of such procedures are not jeopardised, general presumptions of non-disclosure may apply to documents relevant to such confidential procedures.7 In light ofthe purpose ofthe procedure on immunity and in particular the obligation of sincere cooperation with national authorities, a general presumption exists according to which public access to confidential documents of lhe above-described nature would seriously undermine Parliament's decision-making process in the sense of the second subparagraph of Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. For these reasons, 1 consider that the exception regarding the protection of the institution's decision-making process applies to those documents identified under point (1) of your application that are not already in the public domain. The protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual In accordance with point {b) of Article 4(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, access to a document shall be refused where this would undermine the protection of personal data. This would notably be the case if personal data were transmitled in breach of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725. Speclfically, point (b) of Article 9(1) of that Regulation requires that recipients other than Union institutions may only receive personal data if they demonstrate that such transmission is necessary for a specific purpose in the public interest. Given that the documents identified und er point (1) of your application that are not already in the public domain contain information about criminal offences that have been attributed to Mr Lagos and that have given rise to criminal convictions, they contain personal data of Mr Lagos within the meaning of Article 3(1) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725. In addition, the request for the waiver of immunity also contains personal data of other defendants and witnesses, which should be protected. In your confirmatory application, you claim that documents "related to the work of MEPs" could not be considered to contain personal data under the circumstances described above. I would first like to note that many documents related to the work MEPs do in an institutional capacity are indeed publicly available, for example with regard to amendments, questions to the Commission or committee reports. On the other hand, those of an MEPs' documents which relate to their political activity but have no institutional character are not Parliament documents for the purposes of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001,8 and do not, therefore, fall within the scope of applications for public access to documents, regardless of whether lhey can be considered to be "relaled to the work of MEPs". Lastly, I would like to point out that the documents in question do not relate to the work of Mr. Lagos, but to the circumstances of his conviction in Greece. Crucially, however, the question of whether or not documents relate to the work of an MEP does not affect the wide scope ofthe notion of personal data as defined in Article 3(1) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725. You also contest Parliament's assertion that media coverage of the procedure on immunity does not depend on public access to confidential documents, not least given the public availability of key documents. In that sense, you assert that those documents that are publicly available only allow for an insufficient and superficial overview of the procedure on immunity. However, this is not the case. The relevant decision taken by Parliament clearly sets out the circumstances under which it has been asked to waive Mr. Lagos' immunity, makes reference to the procedural requirements and the relevant legal provisions and indicates which aspects of the case were relevant to its decision, and which were not. Specifically, recital E refers to the subject of Mr. Lagos' convictions and recitals H, 0, P and Q note, in detail, those elements from which can be ascertained whether or not Parliament's functioning and independence would be at risk from the waiver of Mr Lagos' immunity. Given that the procedure on immunity does not concern Mr. Lagos guilt or otherwise, nor the merits of national judicial systems, Parliament's decision allows for a detailed overview of all aspects relevant to the outcome of the procedure on immunity. Indeed, access to the confidential documents identified under point (1) of your application would provide little further insight into the procedure on immunity, while potentially revealing details of the facts of the case zhat are relevant only to the underlying national procedures, that is to say, precisely the kind of details that, when revealed by Parliament, would blur the line between Parliament's and Member States' responsibilities, inviting misplaced criticism of, and undermining confidence in, both the immunity procedure and the relevant national judicial proceedings. Given the above and that the fact !hat documents containing personal data are relevant to an existing public debate does not by itself demonstrate the necessity of the transfer of such data, I confirm that you have not established the necessity of the transfer under point (b) of Article 9(1) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725. For these reasons, I consider that the conditions for the transmission of any personal data contained in those documents identified under point (1) of your application that are not already in the public domain have not been satisfied and that the exception regarding the protection of privacy and integrity of the individual applies to those documents. B) Point (2) of your application In your confirmatory application, you do not challenge the fact that the documents identified under point (2) of your application contain personal data, nor do you contest the applicability of the relevant provisions. You do, however, challenge Parliament's view that the transfer of the relevant information regarding the salaries and allowances of Mr. Lagos and his assistants is not necessary, because, in a democratic society, scrutiny of an individual's personal data with a view to investigating possible instances of improper or illegal behaviour is to be carried out by the competent independent judicial authorilies and supervisory bodies. Specifically, you pul forward that "public scrutiny - in particular by members of civi/ society, journalists and researchers" were not incompatible with the invesligations of the proper authorities and !hat such complementary scrutiny were particularly appropriate in a democratic society and with regard to MEPs. In light of your position, I would first like to note that public scrutiny of documents is, in fact, often incompatible with the proper conduct of investigations, inspections, audits and court proceedings such documents might be involved in. However, your argument concerning the compatibility of complementary public scrutiny with !hat undertaken by the proper authorities would not demonstrate why such public scrutiny was necessary for a specific purpose in the public interest. You also claim !hat complementary public scrutiny of the finances of MEPs and their assistants is in the public interest. As already pointed out above, the fact that documents containing personal data are relevant to an existing public debate does not by itself demonstrate the necessity of the transfer of such data. At the same time, and as noted in Parliament's initial response, MEPs' public activilies often create public awareness, and media coverage of such activities is generally in the public interest. However, !hat public interest stems from the fact !hat, without media coverage, the public might not become aware of MEPs' activities, which might in many cases be relevant to MEPs' accountability towards voters. Conversely, this reasoning does not apply to MEPs' and assistants' salaries and allowances, on which detailed information is publicly available. Should individual MEPs or assistants violate their obligations under their employment contracts or the relevant codes of conduct or indeed become subject of an investigation by a Member State's public prosecutor's office, it is for the relevant authorities or bodies to make an assessment and draw the appropriate consequences, and, were applicable, make those consequences public. This system, wherein an individual's suspected misconduct is subject to scrutiny at the hands of designated impartial authorities and bodies, not only ensures that society's responses to wrongdoing are trustworthy and proportionale, but equally protects those accused of wrongdoing from partisan persecution. lt is therefore not in the public interest to make personal data publicly available in order to facilitate complementary public scrutiny of individuals by members of the general public or the press who suspect those individuals of wrongdoing beyond that determined or currently investigated by the appropriate authorities. For these reasons, Parliament considers that the conditions under point (b) of Article 9(1) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 for the transmission of personal data have not been satisfied and that the exception regarding the protection of privacy and integrity of the individual applies to the documents requested und er point (2) of your application. C) Partial access In accordance with Article 4(6) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, the parts of a document not covered by any of the exceptions shall be released. Without prejudice to the fact that partial access is not possible in cases where a presumption of non-disclosure applies, 1 confirm Parliament's conclusion that, insofar as the exceptions identified above do not _apply to the entirety of the documents in question, partial access would not respond to the purpose of your application. For the same reasons, and since the number of document pages concerned would be very large, granting partial access would also constitute an excessive administrative burden, in particular taking into consideration the time-limits under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. Conclusion Considering the above, Parliament confirms its initial decision, and, in accordance with point (b) of Article 4(1) and the second subparagraph of Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, read in conjunction with Union legislation regarding the protection of personal data, refuses access to (1) the transmission letter containing the request for the waiver of immunity, a related communication to Members and recordings of the three meetings held under procedure 2020/2240(IMM); and (2) documents related to allowances granted to Mr Lagos by the European Parliament, correspondence regarding those allowances and the payment of salaries to Mr Lagos' local and accredited parliamentary assistants. Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the means of redress against this decision according to Article 8 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. You may either bring proceedings before the General Court or file a complaint with the European Ombudsman under the conditions specified respectively in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Yours sincerely,