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Documents regarding or related to the allowances granted to Ioannis Lagos

Verwendetes Gesetz: Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001

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:

Any and all documents regarding or related to the allowances granted to Ioannis Lagos by the European Parliament from 7 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
(collectively “Allowances”).

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 the Allowances;
- all documents related to or regarding the reimbursement of the Allowances; and
- all correspondence with Ioannis Lagos’ office, including internal correspondence, as well as correspondence with third parties regarding the Allowances, and correspondence with the Parliament’s administration services.

In this regard, we would like to argue that there is an undeniable public interest in the disclosure of the requested documents.

Public scrutiny and accountability of the expenses of any publicly-elected Member of the European Parliament (“MEP”) is a fundamental standard of a democratic society. The European Ombudsman has explicitly acknowledged that transparency in public expenditure may increase trust in the EU institutions and it is natural for the public to have an interest in how public funds are used [1].

This case is of particular gravity because Ioannis Lagos has been convicted for serious crimes in Greece (membership and leadership of a criminal organisation) and sentenced to imprisonment of 13 years and 8 months.

Even after having been convicted as a criminal, Ioannis Lagos continued to receive Allowances from the European Parliament, including travel allowances. [2] These Allowances were ultimately funded by EU citizens through their taxes. Notably, Ioannis Lagos had even stated to the press that, in the case his immunity would be waived by the Parliament, he was “planning to flee to a ‘European country’ where his rights would be protected”. [3] The situation therefore concerns a convicted criminal who, while receiving Allowances from the European Parliament, publicly admitted that he would attempt to escape the law.

While the European Parliament publishes some information on MEPs’ salaries and pensions [4] and a summary of allowances [5], there is no information on the concrete amount which Ioannis Lagos received during his term up until now. There is also no information available as to the Allowances Ioannis Lagos received during the immunity waiver process before the European Parliament, if any.

In this context, it is essential for the public to be able to scrutinise Ioannis Lagos’ expenses, especially since the first judgement issued in Greece declaring Golden Dawn as a criminal organisation on 7 October 2020. This information would shed light into how the Allowances paid by the European Parliament to Ioannis Lagos were used. It would help citizens understand whether these Allowances contributed, directly or indirectly, to funding or perpetuating criminal or otherwise illegal activity conducted by Ioannis Lagos, or evading compliance with an EU Member State court ruling.

The information would also contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of the European Parliament’s rules concerning the immunity waiver process, the rights and obligations MEPs have during that process and how public funds may be used in this context in a similar process in the future. Overall, access to the requested information would increase transparency into how tax payers’ money is spent.

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 >>, Arne Semsrott and Stefan Wehrmeyer

Notes:

[1] See Decision in case 221/2021/DL on the European Commission's refusal to give public access to documents concerning travel expenses related to an official trip by a staff member of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), par. 14; and Decision in case 1/2020/MIG on the European Economic and Social Committee's refusal of public access to documents concerning travel expenses related to an official trip to China, par. 13.
[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/worl…
[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/27/worl…
[4] See European Parliament’s website on salaries and pensions: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/…
[5] See European Parliament’s website on allowances: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/…   
[5] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/do…

Anfrage abgelehnt

  • Datum
    7. Dezember 2021
  • Frist
    28. Dezember 2021
  • 2 Follower:innen
Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
Dear European Parliament, Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1…
An Europäisches Parlament Details
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Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
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Documents regarding or related to the allowances granted to Ioannis Lagos [#234819]
Datum
7. Dezember 2021 21:44
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Europäisches Parlament
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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: Any and all documents regarding or related to the allowances granted to Ioannis Lagos by the European Parliament from 7 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 (collectively “Allowances”). 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 the Allowances; - all documents related to or regarding the reimbursement of the Allowances; and - all correspondence with Ioannis Lagos’ office, including internal correspondence, as well as correspondence with third parties regarding the Allowances, and correspondence with the Parliament’s administration services. In this regard, we would like to argue that there is an undeniable public interest in the disclosure of the requested documents. Public scrutiny and accountability of the expenses of any publicly-elected Member of the European Parliament (“MEP”) is a fundamental standard of a democratic society. The European Ombudsman has explicitly acknowledged that transparency in public expenditure may increase trust in the EU institutions and it is natural for the public to have an interest in how public funds are used [1]. This case is of particular gravity because Ioannis Lagos has been convicted for serious crimes in Greece (membership and leadership of a criminal organisation) and sentenced to imprisonment of 13 years and 8 months. Even after having been convicted as a criminal, Ioannis Lagos continued to receive Allowances from the European Parliament, including travel allowances. [2] These Allowances were ultimately funded by EU citizens through their taxes. Notably, Ioannis Lagos had even stated to the press that, in the case his immunity would be waived by the Parliament, he was “planning to flee to a ‘European country’ where his rights would be protected”. [3] The situation therefore concerns a convicted criminal who, while receiving Allowances from the European Parliament, publicly admitted that he would attempt to escape the law. While the European Parliament publishes some information on MEPs’ salaries and pensions [4] and a summary of allowances [5], there is no information on the concrete amount which Ioannis Lagos received during his term up until now. There is also no information available as to the Allowances Ioannis Lagos received during the immunity waiver process before the European Parliament, if any. In this context, it is essential for the public to be able to scrutinise Ioannis Lagos’ expenses, especially since the first judgement issued in Greece declaring Golden Dawn as a criminal organisation on 7 October 2020. This information would shed light into how the Allowances paid by the European Parliament to Ioannis Lagos were used. It would help citizens understand whether these Allowances contributed, directly or indirectly, to funding or perpetuating criminal or otherwise illegal activity conducted by Ioannis Lagos, or evading compliance with an EU Member State court ruling. The information would also contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of the European Parliament’s rules concerning the immunity waiver process, the rights and obligations MEPs have during that process and how public funds may be used in this context in a similar process in the future. Overall, access to the requested information would increase transparency into how tax payers’ money is spent. 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, Luisa Izuzquiza, Arne Semsrott and Stefan Wehrmeyer Notes: [1] See Decision in case 221/2021/DL on the European Commission's refusal to give public access to documents concerning travel expenses related to an official trip by a staff member of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), par. 14; and Decision in case 1/2020/MIG on the European Economic and Social Committee's refusal of public access to documents concerning travel expenses related to an official trip to China, par. 13. [2] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/world/europe/Greece-Golden-Dawn-Lagos.html [3] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/27/world/europe/ioannis-lagos-golden-dawn-immunity.html [4] See European Parliament’s website on salaries and pensions: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/faq/13/salaries-and-pensions [5] See European Parliament’s website on allowances: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/faq/14/summary-of-allowances    [5] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2019-0078_EN.html
Luisa Izuzquiza Request Number: 234819 Reply To: <<email address>> Upload large files for this request here: https://fragdenstaat.de/en/request/23... Post Address: Luisa Izuzquiza << Address removed >> << Address removed >> << Address removed >> << Address removed >> << Address removed >>
Europäisches Parlament
A(2021)10718/DP/en - acknowledgement of receipt Our reference: A(2021)10718 Dear Ms Izuzguiza, Mr Semsrott and M…
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A(2021)10718/DP/en - acknowledgement of receipt
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Our reference: A(2021)10718 Dear Ms Izuzguiza, Mr Semsrott and Mr Wehrmeyer, The European Parliament hereby acknowledges receipt of your application for public access to documents, which was registered on 8 December 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. A detailed privacy statement is available here<https://www.europarl.europa.eu/Regist...>. 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
A(2021)10718 - request for narrow down in line with Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 Dear Ms Izuzguiza…
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A(2021)10718 - request for narrow down in line with Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001
Datum
10. Januar 2022 14:28
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Dear Ms Izuzguiza, Mr Semsrott and Mr Wehrmeyer,, We hope that this email finds you well, in this beginning of 2022. Parliament needs more time to process your application A(2021)10718 due to the large number of documents concerned. Therefore the time limit to reply is hereby extended by 15 working days, in accordance with Article 7(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. Furthermore, we wish to draw your attention to Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 on access to documents. This article provides that "In the event of an application relating to a very long document or to a very large number of documents, the institution concerned may confer with the applicant informally, with a view to finding a fair solution." With your application A(2021)10718, you did not request access to a specific Parliament document, but you requested access to all documents, including correspondence, related to all allowances, including the parliamentary assistance allowance, accorded to Ioannis Lagos, MEP, from 7 October 2020 to date. Parliament assessed the documents it holds in light of your request and it appears that your application concerns: - about 150 files per year concerning local assistants - about 14 documents per year concerning salary payments: 12 payslips, a separate slip for the annual indexation, and an annual income attestation for each year; - an undetermined, but potentially significant, number of documents concerning Medical Expenses: 1) in principle, two separate forms for bank information, 2) potentially also a request form for family members to be registered (again, not all MEPs do this), 3) then a few documents for every medical request – reimbursement, prior authorisation, direct billing in case of hospitalisation, recognition of serious illness, etc.’ - around 60 documents concerning Travel and subsistence allowances, including correspondence. Parliament's administration is unfortunately not in a position to assess all those documents within the time limits of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. It is too many documents. Under these circumstances, and in light of the case law on the matter (see https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content… ), we would like to ask you, in line with Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, to agree to narrowing down the scope of your request to a workable amount of documents, either by rephrasing your request, or by limiting its scope to one of the category of documents identified above. Otherwise we could possibly have to refuse to process your request for excessive administrative burden reasons, in accordance with the case law. It goes without saying that, if you did agree to a narrow down, once this application A(2021)10718, is handled, you could submit a new one, for further access to other documents. Would you agree to such a proposal? We look forward to reading from you, Kind regards,
Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
AW: A(2021)10718 - request for narrow down in line with Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 [#234819]
Dea…
An Europäisches Parlament Details
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Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
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AW: A(2021)10718 - request for narrow down in line with Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 [#234819]
Datum
14. Januar 2022 17:00
An
Europäisches Parlament
Status
E-Mail wurde erfolgreich versendet.
Dear European Parliament, Thank you for your e-mail of 10 January 2022, in which you provided an estimation of the number falling under the scope of our initial request, and requested a fair solution in line with Article 6 (3) of Regulation 1049/2001. After careful consideration, and taking into account the concerns raised by the Parliament, we would like to propose the following approach: to split our initial request into three individual ones to be handled and processed subsequently. The requests would be divided as follows, and processed in the following order. 1. All documents (as per the list of documents we indicated in our initial request of 7 December 2021) from 7 October 2020 to 7 March 2021. 2. All documents (as per the list of documents we indicated in our initial request of 7 December 2021) from 8 March 2021 to 7 July 2021. 3. All documents (as per the list of documents we indicated in our initial request of 7 December 2021) from 8 July 2021 to 7 December 2021. We hope the Parliament will find this a suitable solution. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any other doubts or questions. Sincerely, << Adresse entfernt >> Anfragenr: 234819 Antwort an: <<E-Mail-Adresse>> Laden Sie große Dateien zu dieser Anfrage hier hoch: https://fragdenstaat.de/a/234819/ Postanschrift Luisa Izuzquiza << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >>
Europäisches Parlament
RE: A(2021)10718/DP/en - request for narrow down in line with Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001
Dear Ms…
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RE: A(2021)10718/DP/en - request for narrow down in line with Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001
Datum
17. Januar 2022 12:35
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Dear Ms Izuzguiza, Mr Semsrott and Mr Wehrmeyer, Many thanks for your consideration and proposal. Please note that under the relevant case-law deadlines for applications for public access to documents cannot be negotiated, so that it is not possible to process one and the same application in several batches. It is however possible to limit the scope of the present application to the time period you indicated under '1' below in order to avoid an excessive administrative burden. As a consequence, the time periods you indicated under '2' and '3' would be excluded from the scope of this application, and Parliament would not automatically assess any documents related to those other two time periods after handling the present application. You could, however, lodge subsequent applications for public access to documents related to those other time periods after the present application has been handled. Please let us know if this is suitable to you. Best regards, [cid:image001.png@01D58B31.E2CF1C20] TRANSPARENCY UNIT European Parliament Directorate-General for the Presidency Directorate for Interinstitutional Affairs and Legislative Coordination <<E-Mail-Adresse>><mailto:<<E-Mail-Adresse>>> www.europarl.europa.eu/RegistreWeb<http://www.europarl.europa.eu/Registr...>
Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
AW: RE: A(2021)10718/DP/en - request for narrow down in line with Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 [#2…
An Europäisches Parlament Details
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Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
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AW: RE: A(2021)10718/DP/en - request for narrow down in line with Article 6(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 [#234819]
Datum
17. Januar 2022 16:49
An
Europäisches Parlament
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E-Mail wurde erfolgreich versendet.
Dear European Parliament, Thank you for your e-mail of 17 January 2022. We hereby agree with the Parliament's proposal to proceed with request number 1. Request number 2 will therefore be filed again by us once the first request has been handled; eventually followed by request number 3. Sincerely, << Adresse entfernt >> Anfragenr: 234819 Antwort an: <<E-Mail-Adresse>> Laden Sie große Dateien zu dieser Anfrage hier hoch: https://fragdenstaat.de/a/234819/ Postanschrift Luisa Izuzquiza << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >> << Adresse entfernt >>
Europäisches Parlament
Your application for public access to documents
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Your application for public access to documents
Datum
8. Februar 2022
Status
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Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
AW: Your application for public access to documents (Your reference A(2021)10718) [#234819]
Your reference: A(2021…
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Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
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AW: Your application for public access to documents (Your reference A(2021)10718) [#234819]
Datum
28. Februar 2022 10:09
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E-Mail wurde erfolgreich versendet.
Your reference: A(2021)10718 Dear European Parliament, please forward this to the person responsible for reviewing confirmatory applications. On 7 December 2021, we filed an application for public access to all documents regarding or related to the allowances granted to Ioannis Lagos by the European Parliament from 7 October 2020 to the date of our application (the “Application”). In particular, we requested access to: - 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 (collectively the “Allowances”). Our request included, but was not limited to: - all applications, receipts, expenses forms, tickets, odometer readings, invoices and/or bills submitted by Ioannis Lagos in relation to the Allowances; - all documents related to or regarding the reimbursement of the Allowances; and - all correspondence with Ioannis Lagos’ office, including internal correspondence, as well as correspondence with third parties regarding the Allowances, and correspondence with the Parliament’s administration services. On 8 December 2021, the European Parliament acknowledged receipt of the Application and registered it. On 10 January 2022, the European Parliament, having identified a significant number of documents responsive to the Application, in line with Article 6(3) of Regulation 1049/2001, suggested narrowing down the scope of the request to a workable amount of documents. On 17 January, we agreed to reduce the scope of the Application to the responsive documents dated from 7 October 2020 to 7 March 2021. On 8 February 2022, we received by postal mail the European Parliament’s decision. In its decision the European Parliament: - stated that it holds approximately 93 documents falling within the scope of the Application; - observed that the documents identified in light of the Application contained information about the salary, travel and medical expenses of identified natural persons, i.e. Ioannis Lagos and his assistants, which constituted personal data with the meaning of Regulation 2018/1725; - refused access to the requested documents on the ground that the conditions under point (b) of Article 9(1) of Regulation 2018/1725 for the transmission of personal data had not been satisfied and that the exception regarding the protection of privacy and integrity of the individual applied to the documents; - refused to grant partial access to the requested documents on the ground that partial access would not respond to the purpose of the Application and, in any case, granting partial access would also constitute an excessive administrative burden; - disclosed two templates: ‘Application for the reimbursement of ordinary and additional travel expenses’ and ‘Claim for reimbursement of medical expenses’. All correspondence concerning the Application is available here: https://fragdenstaat.de/anfrage/documen… We disagree with the European Parliament’s assessment under Article 4(1) of Regulation 1049/2001 and Article 9(1) of Regulation 2018/1725. In the letter dated 4 February 2022, the European Parliament maintained that “given the public availability of information of MEPs’ allowance [...] the public is fully aware of the MEPs’ remuneration and the resources they have at their disposal for the purpose of their work.” This statement does not fully reflect the actual situation. Whilst, as the European Parliament recognised, the public currently has access to information about the existing and available to the Members of the European Parliament (the “MEPs”) financial instruments and resources, it has no information regarding their actual use. This is a crucial distinction. Mere information on the existing and available to the MEPs financial instruments and resources is insufficient to meet the standards of transparency in a democratic society. Whereas these resources involve public funds used by democratically-elected representatives, the citizens have no knowledge about if and how they are used in practice. This, in turn, diminishes social control of MEPs’ expenses, contrary to the rationale of public access to documents. Further, the European Parliament came to the conclusion that “It is therefore not proportionate to make detailed personal financial data publicly available in order to facilitate close public scrutiny of individuals by members of the public or the press [...]. You assert that Mr Lagos’ criminal convictions justify lowering the normal standards of the protection of his personal financial data, and that of his assistants. However, under Regulations (EC) No 1049/2001 and (EU) 2018/1725, the existence of a criminal conviction does not impact the right to privacy and integrity of the individual.” The European Parliament’s decision disregards that not all personal data is equally sensitive. As rightly pointed out by Advocate General Cruz Villalon, in certain situations, “the personal data are not, so to speak, the main object of the request for information, but the request relates instead to documents of a public nature that incidentally include information relating to individuals and, as such, contain ‘personal data’. Admittedly, the data are ‘personal’ in so far as they contain ‘information relating to an identified ... natural person’ [...], but this is prima facie ‘professional data’ and therefore less sensitive than information falling within the ambit of privacy or private life sensu stricto” (see Opinion of Advocate General Cruz Villalón delivered on 14 April 2015 in Case C-615/13 P ClientEarth and PAN Europe v EFSA, ECLI:EU:C:2015:219, para. 55.). These situations, including the case at hand, require more inclusive interpretation of the concept of ‘necessity’ under Article 9(1) point (b) of Regulation 2018/1725. (see Opinion of Advocate General Cruz Villalón delivered on 14 April 2015 in Case C-615/13 P ClientEarth and PAN Europe v EFSA, ECLI:EU:C:2015:219, para. 55.) Therefore, we argue that the disclosure of the requested documents is proportional on the basis of the existence of the overriding public interest in disclosure. We once again recall that Ioannis Lagos had been convicted in Greece for serious crimes, i.e. membership and leadership of a criminal organisation, and later sentenced to imprisonment of 13 years and 8 months. In the four months following the judgement which declared Ioannis Lagos’ party Golden Dawn as a criminal organisation, Ioannis Lagos himself and his assistants filed over 90 expenses claims. Therefore, access to the requested documents becomes essential to examine and understand whether the Allowances contributed, directly or indirectly, to funding or perpetuating criminal or otherwise illegal activity conducted by Ioannis Lagos. Moreover, the Court of Justice recognized that refusing access to documents is not the only way of striking the right balance between the duty of openness and the protection of personal data. The Court of Justice has held that Regulation 1049/2001 allows to have names and surnames removed: “by releasing the expurgated version of the minutes of the meeting of 11 October 1996 with the names of five participants removed therefrom, the Commission did not infringe the provisions of Regulation No 1049/2001 and sufficiently complied with its duty of openness” (see Judgment of 29 June 2010, Case C-28/08 P, Commission v Bavarian Lager, ECLI:EU:C:2010:378, para 76.) Against this background, we note that, instead of refusing to disclose the requested documents, the European Parliament could have removed information allowing to identify natural persons, such as names and surnames of Ioannis Lagos and his assistants or other third parties, as well as other sensitive information such as medical data. Contrary to what the European Parliament envisaged, blanking out of information regarded as personal data would not have left them resembling administrative templates. Hence, it would have responded to the purpose of the Application. In light of all of the reasons above, we reiterate our request for the disclosure of the documents outlined in the Application. Please do not hesitate to contact us in case of any doubts or questions with regards to this confirmatory application. Sincerely, Luisa Izuzquiza, Arne Semsrott and Stefan Wehrmeyer Anfragenr: 234819 Antwort an: [geschwärzt] Laden Sie große Dateien zu dieser Anfrage hier hoch: [geschwärzt]
Europäisches Parlament
A(2021)10718C/DP/en - acknowledgement of receipt Our reference: A(2021)10718C Dear Ms Izuzguiza, Mr Semsrott and…
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A(2021)10718C/DP/en - acknowledgement of receipt
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28. Februar 2022 15:05
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Our reference: A(2021)10718C Dear Ms Izuzguiza, Mr Semsrott and Mr Wehrmeyer, The European Parliament hereby acknowledges receipt of your confirmatory application for public access to documents, which was registered on 28 February 2022. 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
A(2021)10718C/DP/en - time limit extension Our reference: A(2021)10718C Dear Ms Izuzguiza, Mr Semsrott and Mr We…
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A(2021)10718C/DP/en - time limit extension
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18. März 2022 14:26
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Our reference: A(2021)10718C Dear Ms Izuzguiza, Mr Semsrott and Mr Wehrmeyer, The time limit for responding to your confirmatory application for public access to documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, as registered on 28 February 2022, expires on 21 March 2022. However, given the number of files concerned our consultations are taking longer 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. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience. We thank you for your understanding. Kind regards,
Europäisches Parlament
Letter European Parliament Dear Ms Izuzguiza, Mr Semsrott, Mr Wehrmeyer, On 8 December 2021, the European Parliam…
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Letter European Parliament
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11. April 2022
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Anfrage abgeschlossen
Dear Ms Izuzguiza, Mr Semsrott, Mr Wehrmeyer, On 8 December 2021, the European Parliament registered your application, based on Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001", for public access to “allowances granted to loannis Lagos” after 7 October 2020, concerning in particular his salary, his subsistence and general expenditure allowances, reimbursements of his travel expenses, language training and IT costs, as well as expenses related to salaries of his accredited and local parliamentary assistants. On 17 January 2022, you agreed to reduce the scope of your application to documents dated from 7 October 2020 to 7 March 2021 (‘period at issue’). In its initial decision of 4 February 2022 (‘initial decision’), Parliament refused access to the documents you requested, in accordance with point (b) of Article 4(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, read in conjunction with Regulation (EU) 2018/17253. Your confirmatory application On 28 February 2022, the European Parliament received your confirmatory application (‘confirmatory application’), asking Parliament to reconsider its initial decision and provide public access to all relevant documents. In your confirmatory application, you have indicated that, in order to meet the standards of transparency in a democratic society, the public has to dispose of information regarding the actual use of the financial instruments and resources available to Members of the European Parliament, which draw on public funds. You also claim that not all personal data is equally sensitive, that a distinction has to be made between personal data relating to an individual’s private life and personal data relating to an individual’s professional life, and that the case at hand requires a more inclusive interpretation of the concept of necessity under point (b) of Article 9(1) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725. Further, you recall that Mr Lagos has been convicted in Greece for serious crimes and sentenced to imprisonment and that it is essential to examine and to understand whether the allowances granted to him contributed directly or indirectly to the funding or perpetuating of criminal or otherwise illegal activity conducted by him. You also argue that Parliament could have granted partial access, removing any data allowing to identify Mr Lagos and his assistants, such as their names and surnames, as well as other sensitive information, such as medical data. Assessment of your confirmatory 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 do so in light of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. Documents falling within the scope of your request In light of your confirmatory application, which is limited to the period at issue, Parliament has identified documents under a number of different categories concerning: (1) the salary of Mr Lagos; (2) his subsistence allowance; (3) reimbursement of his travels costs; (4) the salaries of his accredited and local parliamentary assistants; and (5) reimbursement of travel costs of his accredited and local parliamentary assistants.* You motivate your request essentially by the need to “examine and understand whether the allowances contributed, directly or indirectly, to funding or perpetuating criminal or otherwise illegal activity”. Accordingly, you look for information how the money paid to Mr Lagos has been spent. Please note that Parliament does not control how Members of Parliament and their assistants use their salary and does not, for this reason, hold any documents pertaining to the use of those salaries. Therefore, within categories (1) and (4), Parliament only holds documents indicating the amount of the salary or of elements thereof, such as payment slips, documents indicating the annual indexation, annual income statements or documents concerning bonuses for local assistants. Please also note that the daily subsistence allowance and the general expenditure allowance are disbursed as Iump sums?. Hence, Parliament does not hold any documents related to the use of those allowances. Therefore, with regard to the subsistence allowance for Members (category (2)), Parliament only holds documents indicating the amount of the allowance paid and attendance lists, as well as invoices and supporting documents for costs incurred by Members where their official activity takes place outside the territory of the Union. Parliament does not hold documents concerning the general expenditure allowance during the period at issue. Indeed, following the completion of a single application at the beginning of a Member's mandate, Parliament no longer processes documents related to the payment of the general expenditure allowance. As to IT costs, please note that local IT costs are covered by the general expenditure allowance and that Parliament does not hold documents indicating the specific IT costs associated with any single Member at Parliament’s places of work. Concerning the reimbursement of travel expenses (categories (3) and (5)), the documents that Parliament holds are requests for the reimbursement of such costs, including supporting documents, as well as Parliament's decisions in the light of such requests. Exception relating to the protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual Parliament considers that the refusal of access to documents falling within the categories (1) to (5) is justified by the exception under point (b) of Article 4(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, relating to the protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual. According to this provision, Parliament has to refuse access to a document where disclosure would undermine the protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual, in particular in accordance with Union legislation regarding the protection of personal data. In connection with that provision, point (b) of Article 9(1) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 stipulates that personal data are only to be transmitted to recipients if the following conditions are met: In a first step, the applicant has to establish that it is necessary to have the data transmitted for a specific purpose in the public interest. If such necessity has been established by the applicant, Parliament has to assess, in a second step, whether there is any reason to assume that the data subject's legitimate interests might be prejudiced and, if this is the case, whether it would be proportionate to transmit the personal data for that specific public purpose after having weighed the various competing interests. As follows from Article 3(1) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725, any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person is considered to be personal data. Since documents falling within categories (1) to (5) contain personal data, such as the name and surname ofthe Member and of his parliamentary assistants, signatures, as well as other personal information such as the precise amount of their salary, the amount of the allowances, as well as information on their travels, stays and attendance to meetings, it is necessary to assess your application in view of the two steps test provided for by point (b) of Article 9(1) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725. A) Necessity of the transfer for a specific purpose in the public interest In your confirmatory application, you claim that, when assessing the necessity of the transfer of personal data, a distinction has to be made between personal data relating to an individual’s private life and personal data relating to an individual’s professional life and that, with regard to the latter, ‘a more inclusive interpretation’ of the concept of necessity has to be applied. As indicated above, Article 9(1) of Regulation 2018/1725 provides for two different steps. While the distinction between personal data relating to an individual’s private life and personal data relating to an individual’s professional life may become relevant in the context ofthe second step, during which Parliament has to examine whether data subjects’ legitimate interests might be prejudiced and has to weigh the various competing interests,” such distinction is not relevant in the context of the first step, during which the applicant must establish that the transfer of the personal data requested is necessary for a specific purpose in the public interest. This clearly follows from the wording of point (b) of Article 9(1) of Regulation 2018/1725, according to which the necessity of the transfer has to be established with respect to the transfer of all personal data, as well as the wording of Article 3(1) of that regulation, according to which the notion of personal data encompasses not only data relating to private life, but also data relating to professional life. As to the opinion of an Advocate General to which you refer in your confirmatory application, please note that such opinions are a mere proposal to the Court. Moreover, in their case-law, the Union courts have not applied different interpretations of the concept of necessity depending of the nature of the personal data concerned,°? but have instead relied on only one interpretation, according to which, in order to be necessary for a specific purpose of public interest, the transfer of the personal data in question must be the most appropriate of all possible measures for attaining that purpose." | note that, in your initial and confirmatory requests, you refer to two purposes: One purpose is to contribute to the public’s understanding of Parliament’s rules concerning the immunity waiver procedure, its understanding of the rights and obligations of Members during that procedure and its understanding of the utilisation of public funds in the context of that procedure, in particular with a view to its future application. Another purpose is to allow for public scrutiny and accountability regarding Mr Lagos’ expenses as Member of the European Parliament. 1) On the contribution to the public’s_understandingof the rules concerning the waiver of the immunity of Members of Parliament,of their rights during that process and of the utilisation of public funds in that context One of the purposes on which you base your request is the contribution to the public’s understanding of Parliament's rules concerning the immunity waiver procedure, of the rights and obligations of Members during that procedure and of the utilization of public funds in that context. Your request appears to be based on the premise that the criminal conviction of Mr Lagos, the waiver of his immunity or his imprisonment in Greece have affected his status as Member of the European Parliament or his financial and social entitlements deriving from that status. However, pursuant to Article 13 of the Electoral Act'', the mandate of a Member of Parliament ends as a result of resignation, death or withdrawal of the mandate. The withdrawal of a mandate has to be provided for by the national law of the Member State where the Member was elected. Since, after his criminal conviction, the waiver of his immunity and his imprisonment, Mr Lagos did not resign, nor was his mandate withdrawn by the Greek electoral authorities, he remained a Member of the European Parliament. Therefore, as every other Member, Mr Lagos benefitted from the financial and social entitlements deriving from his status as Member of the European Parliament. Since neither the criminal conviction of Mr Lagos, nor the waiver of his immunity, nor his imprisonment affected his status of Member of the European Parliament, the transfer of the personal data you request cannot be considered as an appropriate measure in view ofthe purpose to contribute to the public’s understanding of the Parliament's rules concerning the immunity waiver procedure, of the rights and obligations Members of Parliament have during that procedure and of how public funds may be used in that context. In any event, a transfer ofthe personal data requested would not constitute the most appropriate of all possible measures for attaining this purpose. Indeed, a contribution to the public’s understanding of the rules concerning the immunity waiver procedure and of the rights and obligations Members have during that procedure can be better attained on the basis of documents concerning this procedure that are in the public domain, such as Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the privileges and immunities of the European Union’?, Rule 9 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, Notice 11/2019 on the principles of immunity cases' and the Handbook on the incompatibilities and immunity of the Members of the European Parliament'. Further, as to the reasons why, according to Greek electoral law, a criminal conviction and the imprisonment of a Member of Parliament elected in Greece does not affect his or her status, Parliament refers to the relevant rules of Greek electoral law For the aforementioned reasons, Parliament considers that the transfer of the personal data you requested is not necessary with regard to the purpose of contributing to the public’s understanding of the Parliament’s rules concerning the immunity waiver procedure, of the rights and obligations of Members during that procedure and of the utilization of public funds in that context. 2) On the public scrutiny and accountability of the expenses of Mr Lagos You also claim that the transfer of the personal data you request is necessary for the public scrutiny and accountability of the expenses of Mr Lagos. Concerning this purpose, | would like to recall that, according to point (b) of Article 9(1) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725, the purpose in view of which the transfer of the personal data is requested must be specific and in the public interest. According to the case-law, as such, the purpose to enable public scrutiny and accountability of the expenses of Members of the European Parliament is not specific enough.'® Otherwise, Parliament would be obliged, as a matter of principle, to infer from general considerations relating to the public interest in the disclosure of personal data that the necessity for the transfer of those data has, by implication, been established." This conclusion is not called into question by the decisions ofthe European Ombudsman you refer to in your initial request. To the contrary, in paragraph 10 of her decision in case 221/2021/DL'?, the Ombudsman acknowledges that, in the light ofthe established case-law, such purpose as you refer to cannot be considered specific enough. Hence, the objective of public scrutiny and accountability ofthe expenses of Mr Lagos as Member of Parliament does not constitute a specific purpose in the public interest within the sense point (b) of Article 9(1) of Regulation 2018/1725. In the event that public scrutiny and accountability of the expenses of Mr Lagos were regarded as specific purposes in the public interest (quod non), Parliament considers that the transfer of the requested personal data could not be considered as necessary in view of these purposes, as it does not constitute the most appropriate measure to achieve them. In the first place, Parliament would like to recall that a significant amount of information concerning the financial and social entitlements of its Members are already in the public domain. Indeed, on a site dedicated to the financial and social entitlements of its Members'?, Parliament indicates the amount of the salary of its Members before and after EU tax and insurance contributions, as well as the requirements and lump sums concerning the daily subsistence allowance and the general expenditure allowance. Further, on that site, Parliament indicates the conditions under which and the extent to which ordinary travel expenses (to and from Parliament’s places of work or venues for meetings of Parliament’s bodies), travel expenses in the Member State of election and travel expenses outside that Member State are reimbursed. Moreover, detailed information concerning staffing arrangements for accredited and local parliamentary assistants are provided on that site. Parliament also provides other information on its website, such as the names of all Members’ accredited and local parliamentary assistants, as well as on the paying agent who manages the contracts for the local assistants.?° Further, the names of all attending Members are recorded in the official plenary minutes for each day of session.?' In addition, with regard to the financial and social entitlements at issue, Parliament refers to the detailed rules provided for by the Statute for Members of the European Parliament?? and the Implementing Measures for this Statute??, both of which are in the public domain. Parliament takes the view that this publication of detailed information on the financial and social entitlements of its Members constitutes a more appropriate measure to attain the purposes of public scrutiny and accountability of the expenses of its Members, including those of Mr Lagos, than the transfer of their personal data. In the second place, Parliament would like to point out that the procedures establishing Members’ financial and social entitlements and the expenses caused by these entitlements are subject to thorough internal controls by Parliament's financial services, by the Internal Auditor and by the parliamentary committee on budgetary control, as well as to external control by the Court of Auditors and by OLAF in the case of alleged fraud. In addition, the Quaestors and Parliament's Bureau review complaints from Members concerning both the administration’s interpretation and application of the rules underlying those procedures. Parliament considers that such procedures before public authorities are more appropriate for the scrutiny and accountability of the expenses of Mr Lagos than the public disclosure of his and his parliamentary assistants’ personal data. In the third place, it is not clear from your request how the disclosure of the personal data in question could provide any information relevant to the objective pursued by your request. Again, Parliament does not hold documents providing information about the use made of salaries, general expenditure allowance or daily allowance. Neither would the invoices for travel expenses allow identifying any illegal use. Moreover, Parliament notes that you have not brought forward any argument capable of casting doubt on the proper functioning of the aforementioned measures of control by public authorities. Indeed, as already indicated above, none of the circumstances concerning Mr Lagos that you have mentioned call into question that, like any Member of the European Parliament, he has a right to certain financial and social entitlements under the conditions provided for by the applicable rules. Further, Parliament notes that, while the names of the parliamentary assistants and the paying agent of Mr Lagos are indicated on Parliament's website, you have not brought forward any allegations with regard to those persons. As to your argument according to which Mr Lagos could use his entitlements to evade compliance with a ruling of a Greek court, it suffices to note that this allegation is purely hypothetical, given that Mr Lagos is currently serving his sentence in a Greek prison. For the aforementioned reasons, Parliament considers that, in any event, you have not established that the most appropriate measure to achieve public scrutiny and accountability of the expenses of Mr Lagos would be the transfer of the requested personal data. B) Prejudice to the legitimate interest in the protection of privacy of Mr Lagos and his assistants Since the necessity of the transfer ofthe requested personal data in view of a specific purpose of public interest has not been established, it is not necessary to examine whether legitimate interests of Mr Lagos or his assistants prevail over the interests you refer to.?* On a subsidiary ground, and without prejudice to the fact that you did not establish that the transfer of the personal data requested is necessary, Parliament holds the view that, in any case, it would not be proportionate within the sense of point (b) of Article 9(1) Regulation (EU) 2018/1725, read in the light of paragraph 3 of this Article?® to allow the transfer of the personal data contained in the documents at issue, since the legitimate interests of Mr Lagos and his assistants prevail over the interests you have mentioned. Concerning Mr Lagos’ parliamentary assistants, Parliament would like to point out thatthey do not hold public office and that there is no element that would justify considering as predominant the interest in the publication of their personal data contained in the documents at issue. As to Mr Lagos, in the first place, Parliament would like to recall that, according to Article 6 ofthe Electoral Act and Article 2 of the Statute for Members, Members of Parliament enjoy a free mandate. The freedom of mandate encompasses a Member’s freedom to meet whomever he chooses, to participate in meetings, conferences, official business etc., to inform him- or herself in preparation of debates and votes in Parliament. It also encompasses a Member's right to seek assistance, to choose members of staff, to determine their salaries freely and to send them on missions, within the limits set out by the rules. The protection of a Member's freedom of mandate has to be considered a legitimate interest of the data subject concerned under point (b) of Article 9(1) of Regulation 2018/1725. Members have to remain free as to these choices. However, the public disclosure of the private data contained in the documents at issue would allow to track and profile the Member and his assistants. Indeed, on the basis of the information indicated in documents concerning reimbursement of travels?® and certain documents concerning the subsistence allowance?’, a Member's itinerary, attendance to meetings and conferences, place of residence etc. could be traced. Such mapping of a Member’s activity would encroach upon the free exercise of his mandate. In the second place, to the extent to which it relates to a recurrent activity of a Member, the disclosure of such information could also constitute a security risk for the Members concerned. For the aforementioned reasons, Parliament considers that, in any event, the legitimate interests of Mr Lagos and his assistants prevail over the interests you refer to. Consequently, Parliament concludes that the conditions for the transfer of personal data concerned under point (b) of Article 9(1) Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 have not been satisfied and that the disclosure of the requested documents, including the confirmation of the existence of documents concerning the reimbursement of medical costs, would therefore undermine the protection ofthe privacy and the integrity of the individual as provided for in point (b) of Article 4(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. 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. However, the disclosure of a version of the documents requested expunged of all personal data would have deprived such access to those documents of any useful effect in the light of the objectives you pursue. As follows from the case-law, in such a situation, Parliament is under no obligation to grant partial access.? Redacting, as you have suggested, names and surnames from the documents in question, would not ensure an adequate protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual, given that the scope of your application links any identified documents to Mr Lagos and his assistants. Conclusion Considering the above, Parliament confirms its initial decision, 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, Parliament refuses access to all documents identified in light of your application. Finally, | 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,

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Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
Lawsuit
An Europäisches Parlament Details
Von
Luisa Izuzquiza (FragDenStaat)
Via
Briefpost
Betreff
Lawsuit
Datum
21. Juni 2022
An
Europäisches Parlament
Status
Nicht-öffentliche Anhänge:
annexes-20062022.pdf
12,5 MB
application-european-parliament-21-06-2022-clean.pdf
355,7 KB