Select Committee on European Communities Sixteenth Report



APPENDIX 3

Statistical Information on the Operation of the Code[1]

A.  EXTRACT FROM COUNCIL'S STATISTICAL REPORT ON THE POLICY OF PUBLIC ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS 1994-95

  During the period covered by this report a total of 142 applicants (70 in 1994; 72 in 1995) applied for access pursuant to Decision 93/731/EC. The applications covered a total of 443 documents; some applications did not allow identification of specific documents, as applications were too vaguely expressed or referred to texts that did not exist.

Origins of applicants

  (a) occupation:

Members of the EP75%
Lobbyists139%
Lawyers3625%
Journalists3323%
Academics3827%
Industrial sector32%
Others128%

  (b) geographical origin:

Germany2115%
Belgium4431%
Denmark54%
Spain32%
France64%
Ireland1
Italy64%
Luxembourg32%
Netherlands107%
United Kingdom3525%
Switzerland1
Norway2
Sweden43%
Japan1

  The geographical and occupational breakdown of applicants demonstrates that the policy of public access to documents is little used or unused in some Member States, nor is it widely used in sectors other than journalism, the law and higher education.

Subject of applications:

  The breakdown of applications according to the areas covered by the Directorates-General of the General Secretariat of the Council is as follows:

Legal matters53%
Agriculture53%
Internal Market2517%
Energy, transport53%
External Relations1711%
Institutional Affairs and Information Policy2819%
Economical and Monetary Affairs64%
Justice and Home Affairs3020%
Environment1510%
Social Policy128%

  Sixteen applicants requested documents concerning policy on transparency and information, in particular on the management of public access to documents.

Follow-up to applications for access

  Of the 443 documents requested or identified as such by the General Secretariat, a total of 65 did not fall within the scope of the Decision as the documents were of a public nature or were not produced by the Council. Of the remaining 378, a favourable reply was given for 222 documents, ie 58.7 per cent.

  It should be noted that the implementation of the policy of document access has developed in the applicants' favour and the number of positive replies is greater now than it was at the beginning.

  Among the 222 documents to which access was granted, 185 documents were supplied by the General Secretariat of the Council in the first instance, while access to the other 37 was decided by the Council in response to 16 confirmatory applications made by the applicants.

  The General Secretariat's refusal to grant access was confirmed by the Council in respect of 10 confirmatory applications. The Council gave applicants full or partial satisfaction in six other cases.

  Regarding the 156 other documents to which access was not granted, the reasons for refusal, pursuant to Article 4 of the Decision, were as follows:

    —  protection of the public interest (public security, international relations, monetary stability, court proceedings, inspections or investigations) 18 per cent

    —  protection of the individual and or privacy 3 per cent

    —  protection of commercial and industrial secrecy 2 per cent

    —  protection of the Community's financial interests 1 per cent

    —  protection of the confidentiality of the Council's proceedings 44 per cent

    —  several reasons simultaneously 25 per cent

    —  other reasons 7 per cent.

B.  EXTRACT FROM COUNCIL'S STATISTICS ON PUBLIC ACCESS TO COUNCIL DOCUMENTS 1996-1997

  1.  Number of applications under Decision 93/731/EC

1994-1995 1996-1997 1996 1997
142 451 169 282

  2.  Number of documents involved
1994-1995 1996-1997 1996 1997
378 3,325 894 2,431

  3.  Documents supplied by the General Secretariat of the Council initially
1994-1995 1996-1997 1996 1997
185 2,418 631 1,787

  4.  Number of confirmatory applications
1994-1995 1996-1997 1996 1997
16 61 24 37

  5.  Documents supplied by the Council following confirmatory applications
1994-1995 1996-1997 1996 1997
37 187 63 124

  6.  Percentage of documents supplied for the procedure as a whole
1994-1995 1996-1997 1996 1997
58.7% 78% 77.6% 78.3%

  7.  Occupational background of applicants
1994-951996-97
Members of the European Parliament5% 3%
Pressure groups9%10%
Lawyers25%17%
Journalists23%6%
Acedemics27%43%
Industrial sector2% 3%
Others8%18%

  8.  Geographical breakdown of applicants
1994-951996-97
Belgium31%27%
Denmark4%2%
Germany15%15%
Greece
Spain2%5%
France6%4%
Ireland2%
Italy4%4%
Luxembourg2%4%
Netherlands7%6%
Austria2%
Portugal
Finland4%
Sweden3%1%
United Kingdom25%21%
Non-member countries (USA, Norway, Switzerland and Japan) 3%2%

  9.  Subject matter of applications
1994-951996-97
Legal matters3%1%
Agriculture and fisheries3% 4%
Internal market17%13%
External policies—CFSP11% 13%
Operation of the institutions19% 5%
Economic and monetary policy4% 3%
Justice and home affairs20% 46%
Environment10%4%
Social policy8%3%
Transport1%0,5%
General policy matters (IGC and European Council) 3%
Culture1%
Health0,5%
Consumer protection1,5%
Regional policy and economic and social cohesion 0,5%
Energy2%1%
Development co-operation0,5%

  10.  Reasons given for refusing access
1994-95 1996-97
Protection of the public interest (public security, international relations, monetary stability, court proceedings, inspections and investigations), including upholding the stability of Community law 18%20%
Protection of the individual and of privacy 3%0.5%
Protection of commercial and industrial secrecy 2%0.5%
Protection of the Community's financial interests 1%0.5%
Protection of the confidentiality of the Council's proceedings 44%68%
A combination of errors25% 9%
Other reasons7%

  11.  Total fees charged
19961997
ECU 400ECU 930

COMMISSION STATISTICS ON ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS 1994-1996

1.   Origin of requests for access to Commission documents

  The most common categories of applicant are, in descending order, the academic world (teachers, students, research centres) (24.7 per cent), followed by lobbyists (16.7 per cent), lawyers (15.3 per cent) and industry (14.5 per cent).
MEPsLobbyists LawyersJournalists AcademicsPublic authorities Private individualsIndustry Total
No%No %No%No %No% No%No% No%No %
242.4165 16.715115.3 242.4245 24.714214.4 959.6143 14.5989100

  In terms of geographic origin of requests, Belgium (30.1 per cent) and the United Kingdom (18.4 per cent) are well ahead, followed by France (10.1 per cent). The proportion of requests coming from third countries (China, United States, Hong Kong, Japan) is 7.9 per cent.
GERMANY BELGIUM DENMARK SPAIN
No % No % No % No %
91 9.2 298* 30.1 30 3.0 39 4.0

FRANCE GREECE IRELAND ITALY
No % No % No % No %
100 10.1 5 0.5 16 1.6 54 5.5

LUXEMBOURG NETHERLANDS PORTUGAL UNITED KINGDOM
No % No % No % No %
5 0.5 43 4.3 9 0.9 182 18.4

  *Of which the the vast majority are international associations with their headquarters in Belgium (lobbyists, lawyers, etc.).
New StatesThird Countries E E A
No.%No. %No.%
232.478 7.9161.6
Total
989100

2.  Subject of requests

  An analysis by subject matter shows a wide range of requests. The sectors most in demand are the environment (16.4 per cent), industry (11.7 per cent), fisheries (11.5 per cent) and competition (8.2 per cent).
External Relations (DG I, IA, IB, VIII) Economic affairs (DG II) Industry (DG III)Competition (DG IV) Social affairs (DG V) Agriculture (DG VI)Transport (DG VII)
No.%No. %No.% No.%No. %No.% No.%
595.79 0.912111.7 848.223 2.2565.4 121.2
Personnel and admin (DG IX) Info Communication/Culture (DG X) Environment (DG XI)Research (DG XII) Telecoms (DG XIII)Fisheries (DG XIV) Internal market (DG XV)
No.%No. %No.% No.%No. %No.% No.%
80.86 0.617016.4 70.76 0.611811.5 424.1

Regional Policy (DG XVI) Energy (DG XVII) Loans and Investments (DG XVIII) Budget/ Financial Control (DG XIX-XX) Customs- Indirect Taxation (DG XXI) Education Training (DG XXII) Small Business (DG XXIII) Consumer Policy (DG XXIV)
No.%No %No%No %No% No%No% No%
131.37 0.710.1 464.518 1.840.4 101.018 1.8
Others* (SG/SJ/SCIC/UCLAF/BDS, etc
TOTAL
No% No%
19018.4 1028**100

    * Legal questions, security, translation, archives, 3rd pillar, institutional questions, offences and state aid, fight against fraud, etc.

  **In 39 cases, the requesting files concerned documents relating to two different sectors.

3.   Replies given to requests for access

  The table indicates the rate (in %) of favourable and unfavourable replies and the number of inadmissible requests. More than 85% of the admissible requests received a positive reply.
ADMISSIBLE REQUESTSNo
962
%
100
Positive replies845 87.8
Negative replies117 12.2
Refusal justified by exception:
— Public interest38 32.6
— Private interest0 0.0
— Commercial and industrial secret 97.7
— Financial interests of the Commission 54.3
— Confidentiality requested by the person or Member State supplying the information 108.5
— Confidentiality of the proceedings 3025.6
— Documents of Committees whose work is confidential 86.8
— Case where several exceptions were invoked 1714.5
INADMISSIBLE REQUESTS92
— Documents already published51
— Documents not issued by the Commission 25
— Imprecise request4
— Documents do not exist12

4.   Confirmative requests

  If the applicant does not obtain satisfaction, he has the possibility of introducing a confirmative request with the Secretary-General of the Commission, within the time-limit of one month. From March 1994 to31 December 1996, 59 confirmative requests were introduced. Of these 59 requests, 35 were confirmed as definite refusals (the documents revealed one of the exceptions covered by the Code of Conduct), two were partially confirmed, two documents were not issued by the Commission, two documents did not exist, one request was imprecise and the 17 others obtained a positive reply.

D.  COMMISSION STATISTICS ON ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS 1997

1.   Origin of requests for access to Commission documents

  The most common categories of applicant are, in descending order, the academic world (teachers, students, research centres) (25.4 per cent), public authorities (16.5 per cent) and industry (15.9 per cent). It should be noted that nearly a quarter of the requests from the academic world come from the same person.
MEPsLobbyists LawyersJournalists AcademicsPublic authorities Private individualsIndustry Total
No%No %No%No %No% No%No% No%No %
182.4118 15.67810.3 131.7192 25.412516.5 9212.2120 15.9756100

  In terms of geographic origin of requests, Belgium (30.2 per cent) and the United Kingdom (18.7 per cent) are well ahead, followed by Germany (10.7 per cent). In contrast with some Community countries which account for less than 1 per cent each (Greece, Finland, Sweden). Non-European countries (USA, Canada, Japan) account for only a small proportion of requests (2.5 per cent). The high figures for Belgium are explained by the fact that the vast majority of applicants are international associations with their headquarters in Belgium (lobbyists, lawyers, etc). In the case of the United Kingdom, nearly one third of the requests come from the same person.
GERMANY BELGIUM DENMARK SPAIN
No % No % No % No %
81 10.7 228 30.2 12 1.6 24 3.2
FRANCE GREECE IRELAND ITALY
No % No % No % No %
55 7.3 5 0.7 8 1 29 3.8
LUXEMBOURG NETHERLANDS PORTUGAL UNITED KINGDOM
No % No % No % No %
8 1 38 5 9 1.2 141 18.7
AUSTRIAFINLAND SWEDEN
No% No%No %
81 70.95 0.7
NON-COMMUNITY EUROPEAN COUNTRY NON-EUROPEAN COUNTRYNATIONALITY NOT GIVEN
No% No%No %
91.2 192.5 709.3
TOTAL
No%
756100

2.   Subject of requests

  An analysis by subject matter shows a wide range of requests. The sectors most in demand are external relations (11.9 per cent), personnel and administration (9.9 per cent), consumer policy (8.3 per cent) and the environment (6.3 per cent).
External Relations (DG I, IA, IB,VIII) Economic Affairs (DG II) Industry (DG III) Competition (DG IV) Social Affairs (DG V) Agriculture (DG VI) Transport (DG VII)
No.%No %No%No %No% No%No%
9511.95 0.624337 4.6354.4 394.93 0.4
Personnel and admin. (DG IX) Info/ Communication/ Culture (DG X) Environment (DG XI) Research (DG XII) Telecoms (DG XIII) Fisheries (DG XIV) Internal Market (DG XV)
No.%No %No% No%No %No% No%
799.913 1.6506.3 253.16 0.8384.8 445.5
Regional Policy (DG XVI) Energy (DG XVII) Budget/ Financial Control (DG XIX-XX) Customs- Indirect Taxation (DG XXI) Education Training (DG XXII) Small Business (DG XXIII) Consumer Policy (DG XXIV)
No.%No %No% No%No %No% No%
101.311 1.4293.6 1629 1.170.9 668.3
Others* (SG/SJ/SCIC/UCLAF/BDS) TOTAL
No% No%
15619.6 797**100

* Legal questions, security, translation, archives, 3rd pillar, institutional questions, infringements and State aid, fight against fraud, etc.

** 34 requests were for documents relating to more than one area.

3.   Replies given to requests for access

  The table indicates the percentage of requests granted and refused and the number of inadmissible requests. Nearly 90 per cent of admissible requests were granted.
REPLIES TO ADMISSIBLE REQUESTSNo
745
%
100
Requests granted665 89.3
Requests refused80 10.7
  Refusal justified on the grounds of an exception:
  —  Public interest39 48.8
  —  Protection of the individual/privacy 11.3
  —  Commercial and industrial confidentiality 45.0
  —  Commission's financial interests 33.7
  —  Confidentiality requested by the person or Member State that supplied the information

4


5.0
  —  Confidentiality of proceedings 2328.7
  —  Several exceptions invoked 67.5
REPLIES TO INADMISSIBLE REQUESTSNo
129
%
100
—  Documents already published 3426.4
—  Documents not produced by the Commission 4434.1
—  Imprecise request15 11.6
—  Documents do not exist36 27.9

4.   Confirmatory applications

  44 confirmatory applications were made in respect of 58 documents.
REPLIES TO ADMISSIBLE CONFIRMATORY
APPLICATIONS
No

38
%

100
Requests granted20 52.6
Requests refused18 47.4
  Refusal justified on the grounds of an exception:
  —  Public interest14 77.7
  —  Confidentiality requested by the person or Member State that supplied the information

1


5.6
  —  Confidentiality of proceedings 15.6
  —  Several exceptions invoked 211.1


REPLIES TO INADMISSIBLE CONFIRMATORY
APPLICATIONS
No

20
%

100
—  Documents already published 15.0
—  Documents not produced by the Commission 1575.0
—  Documents do not exist4 20.0

  5.   Application to Ombudsman/CFI for review

  Three applications for review were made to the CFI in 1997 (cases pending) and five complaints were made to the Ombudsman (cases currently under review).

Annex 2

PUBLIC ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS COMPARISON BETWEEN 1996 AND 1997

1996 %1997 %
Number of requests500 756
Origin of requests (type of applicant)*Academic world
Public authorities
Industry
23.0
21.0
17.0
Academic world
Public authorities
Industry
25.4
16.5
15.9
Number of documents considered in the first instance1555 874
Documents supplied by the SG/DG/service in the first instance418 665
Number of confirmatory applications  14   44
Number of documents considered following confirmatory applications2  26   58
Requests granted by SG following confirmatory applications  5   20
Documents handed over as a percentage of total admissible requests91.491.9

  *  Highest percentages in 1996 and 1997.
  1  Inadmissible requests for 92 documents in 1996, and 129 in 1997.
  2  Inadmissible requests for seven documents in 1996, and 20 in 1997.

E COMMISSION STATISTICS ON ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS 1998

1.   Origin of requests for access to Commission documents

  The most common categories of applicant are, in descending order, the public authorities (20.8%), the academic world (teachers, students, research centres) (20.4%), lobbyists (19%) and industry (15.4%).
MEPsLobbyists LawyersJournalists AcademicsPublic authorities Private individualsIndustry Total
No%No %No%No %No% No%No% No%No %
91.5114 197712.8 12212320.4 12520.849 8.19315.4 602100

  In terms of geographic origin of requests, Belgium (30.4%) is well ahead, followed by the United Kingdom (12.4%) and France (10.1%). There is, however, a greater geographic spread of requests. Countries outside Europe (USA, Canada, Japan) represent only a small proportion (2.7%). The high figures for Belgium are explained by the fact that the vast majority of applicants are international associations with their headquarters in Belgium (lobbyists, lawyers, etc).
GERMANY BELGIUM DENMARK SPAIN
No % No % No % No %
56 9.3 183 30.4 15 2.5 44 7.3
FRANCE GREECE IRELAND ITALY
No % No % No % No %
61 10.1 3 0.5 9 1.5 37 6.1
LUXEMBOURG NETHERLANDS PORTUGAL UNITED KINGDOM
No % No % No % No %
10 1.7 41 6.8 3 0.5 75 12.4
AUSTRIAFINLAND SWEDEN
No% No%No %
81.3 101.7 91.5
NON-COMMUNITY EUROPEAN COUNTRY NON-EUROPEAN COUNTRYNATIONALITY NOT GIVEN
No% No%No %
213.5 162.7 10.2
TOTAL
No%
602100

2.   Subject of requests

  An analysis by subject matter shows a wide range of requests. The sectors most in demand have changed, however (in 1997: external relations, personnel and administration, consumer policy and the environment): the change mainly affects the Secretariat-General (15.6 per cent), industry (13.5 per cent), internal market (9.5 per cent) and consumer policy (7.5 per cent).
External Relations (DG I IA, IB,VIII) Economic Affairs (DG II) Industry (DG III) Competition (DG IV) Social Affairs (DG V) Agriculture (DG VI) Transport (DG VII)
No.%No %No% No%No %No% No%
38612 1.98713.5 365.615 2.3243.7 91.4
Personnel and admin. (DG IX) Info/ Communication/ Culture (DG X) Environment (DG XI) Research (DG XII) Telecoms (DG XIII) Fisheries (DG XIV) Internal Market (DG XV)
No.%No %No% No%No %No% No%
1324 0.6264 284.44 0.6365.6 619.5
Regional Policy (DG XVI) Energy (DG XVII) Budget/ Financial Control (DG XIX-XX) Customs- Indirect Taxation (DG XXI) Education- Training (DG XXII) Small Business (DG XXIII) Consumer Policy (DG XXIV)
No%No %No% No%No %No% No%
81.220 3.191.4 467.10 081.3 487.5
Secretariat-General (+UCLAF+TFJAI+TFCIG) Legal Service Others (DI, SCIC, BDS) TOTAL*
No% No%No %No %
10015.6 81.2 30.5643 100

* 31 requests were for documents relating to several different areas.

3.   Replies given to requests for access

  The table indicates the percentage of requests granted and refused and the number of inadmissible requests. Over 90 per cent of admissible requests were granted.
REPLIES TO ADMISSIBLE REQUESTSNo
676
%
100
Requests granted625 92.5
Requests refused51 7.5
  Refusal justified on the grounds of an exception:
  —  Public interest27 52.9
  —  Protection of the individual/privacy 23.9
  —  Commercial and industrial confidentiality 12.0
  —  Commission's financial interests 12.0
  —  Confidentiality requested by the person or Member State that supplied the information

2


3.9
  —  Confidentiality of proceedings 35.9
  —  Exception not specified 59.8
  —  Several exceptions invoked 1019.6
REPLIES TO INADMISSIBLE REQUESTSNo
124
%
100
—  Documents already published 5141.1
—  Documents not produced by the Commission 3729.8
—  Imprecise request12 9.7
—  Documents do not exist24 19.4

4.   Confirmatory applications

  29 confirmatory applications were made, some relating to more than one document.
REPLIES TO ADMISSIBLE CONFIRMATORY APPLICATIONS No
24
%
100
Requests granted7 29.2
Requests refused1770.8
  Refusal justified on the grounds of an exception:
  —  Public interest12 70.5
  —  Commercial and industrial confidentiality 211.8
  —  Confidentiality requested by the person or Member State that supplied the information

1


5.9
  —  Confidentiality of proceedings 15.9
  —  Several exceptions invoked 15.9
REPLIES TO INADMISSIBLE CONFIRMATORY APPLICATIONS No
14
%
100
—  Documents already published 00
—  Documents not produced by the Commission 1071.4
—  Documents do not exist3 21.4
—  Imprecise request1 7.2

5.   Application to Ombudsman/CFI for review

  One application for review was made to the CFI in 1998 (case pending) and four complaints were made to the Ombudsman (cases currently under review).


1   Statistical tables are available on the Council's website http://ue.eu.int and from the Commission's website http://europa.eu.int. Back


 
previous page contents

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2000