Toegang tot door Oostenrijk ingediende documenten bij het Hof
Gerecht EU 27 februari 2015, IT 1703; T-188/12; ECLI:EU:T:2015:124 (Breyer tegen Commissie)
Breyer wordt onterecht de toegang tot documenten, memories door de Republiek Oostenrijk ingediend in een niet-nakomingsprocedure inzake de dataretentierichtlijn bij het Hof van Justitie, ontzegd. In de zaak Breyer zijn prejudiciële vragen gesteld [IT 1698].
Press release: The Commission may not automatically refuse access to the written submissions of Member States in proceedings before the Court of Justice on the grounds that they are documents used in court proceedings. The decision on the request for access must be made on the basis of the regulation concerning the access by the public to documents held by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission.
According to the Treaties of the EU, any EU citizen is to have a right of access to documents of the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. However, the Court of Justice of the EU is subject to that obligation of transparency only where it performs administrative functions, so that judicial activities as such are excluded from the right of access. Regulation No 1049/20014 lays down detailed rules on access to documents held by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. It provides, in particular, for an exception under which those institutions may refuse access to a document where its disclosure would undermine the protection of court proceedings unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure. As regards documents originating from a Member State, the regulation provides that that State may request the institution not to disclose them without prior agreement.
In March 2011, Mr Patrick Breyer requested the Commission to grant him access to, among others, the written submissions that Austria had presented to the Court of Justice in infringement proceedings brought by the Commission against that Member State for failing to transpose the Data Retention Directive.5 Those judicial proceedings were concluded by a judgment of the Court of 29 July 2010.6 The Commission refused access to those documents, of which it held a copy, on the grounds that they do not fall within the scope of Regulation No 1049/2001. Mr Breyer then brought an action before the General Court of the European Union seeking the annulment of the decision refusing access.
By today’s judgment, the General Court annuls the Commission’s decision refusing access.
According to the General Court, the written submissions at issue are not documents of the Court of Justice which would, if they had been, be excluded from the scope of the right to access and, therefore, from the scope of Regulation No 1049/2001.