Luxembourg, 16 April 2005
Action brought on 31 January 2005 by Rhiannon Williams against the Commission of the European Communities
(Case T-42/05) Official Journal publication of the filing
(Language of the case: English)
An action against the Commission of the European Communities was brought before the Court of First Instance of the European Communities on 31 January 2005 by Rhiannon Williams, residing in Brussels (Belgium), represented by S. Crosby and C. Bryant Solicitors.
The applicant claims that the Court should:
- annul the decision of the Commission of 19 November 2004 to refuse to give access to the documents which, although not identified in the contested decision, must be presumed to exist;
- annul the decision of the Commission of 19 November 2004 to refuse to give access to all or any of documents 9, 16, 17, , 29, 32, 33, 34 and 46, as identified in the contested decision;
- order the defendant to pay the applicant's costs.
Pleas in law and main arguments
The applicant is a doctoral research fellow and is carrying out a project on the impact of globalisation on Community environment and development cooperation law and policy. For this, the applicant has asked for access to documents in order to review the background to recent legislation about genetically modified organisms (GMO). Following the request of the applicant, access to only part of the documents was granted.
In support of her application, the applicant submits an infringement of Article 8 of Regulation No 1049/2001 (1) and a failure to state reasons in accordance with Article 253 EC. According to the applicant, the Commission has given an incomplete reply to the request for access and did not identify all the documents included within its scope. The applicant claims that other documents exist, for which no reasons for refusal of access have been given and no exceptions have been invoked.
The applicant furthermore submits that the Commission erred in law and misapplied the exception under the second paragraph of Article 4(3) and the third indent of Article 4(1)(a) of Regulation No 1049/2001 . The applicant also submits that the Commission failed to state reasons and erred in considering that disclosure would seriously undermine the decision making process, that there is no overriding public interest in disclosure of the documents and that the documents in question would weaken the Commission's position before the WTO panel on the de facto moratorium on the approval and marketing of biotech products.
The applicant also submits an infringement of the principle of proportionality and a failure to state reasons in not considering partial access to the documents.
(1) Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (OJ L 145, p. 43).