MEPs submit Confirmatory Application to Regulatory Scrutiny Board

RE: Confirmatory Application for Access to Documents pursuant to Regulation 1049/2001

Dear Ms Gaffey,

By way of this letter we confirm receipt of the disclosure of documents under Regulation 1049/2001, received on the 14th January 2022, and hereby send you a confirmatory application under the provisions of Article 8 of the aforementioned Regulation.

As outlined in our previous correspondence, the motivation behind our application is to seek assurances as to the independence and integrity of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board whilst considering the Commission impact assessment on the upcoming Sustainable Corporate Governance Proposal.

Whilst we welcome the partial disclosure received, we still have questions over this process and it has not yet been made clear whether or not all relevant documents have been disclosed.

In your response, you stated “a complete disclosure of the identified documents is prevented by the exception concerning the protection of privacy and the integrity of the individual outlined in Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.” It is not clear whether this refers to the anonymisation of personal names and details in the documents you have already disclosed to us, or whether further documents are within the scope of our request and have been withheld.

Therefore we ask you to confirm that all correspondence, including email exchanges, between third parties and members of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board regarding Sustainable Corporate Governance has indeed been disclosed. Should this not be the case, we would ask you to disclose the remaining documents pertaining to our request.

We also request a full list of documents within the scope of our request, irrespective of whether or not they are disclosed. Where documents have not been disclosed we request further, individualised explanations as to why this was not the case.

Furthermore, in your response you stated “the Board did not accept any request for meetings, nor did it discuss with any external stakeholders the issue at stake,” however your own transparency disclosures detail a meeting on the 26th November 2020 with the Association Française des Entreprises Privées, on the subject of “IIA of the Commission on sustainable corporate governance and the consultation on the relevant subject.”

Could you clarify why this meeting was not disclosed in response to our request, and disclose all correspondence between this organisation and members of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board? The fact that this specific transparency disclosure appears to have been recently amended to clarify that details of the specific proposal were not discussed, would suggest this is indeed of relevance to our request.

We therefore ask you once again to provide us with a list of all meetings (including e-meetings) between members of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board and third parties on the subject of Sustainable Corporate Governance.

Finally we reiterate our request for the disclosure of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board’s two negative opinions on the Sustainable Corporate Governance impact assessments. Whilst we understand the normal practice of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board, there is significant public interest in why this particular proposal was delayed three times, and questions remain as to what happened during this process. We reject the argument that this would impede the Commission’s internal discussions, as there is already significant public pressure behind this proposal and therefore an urgent need to answer the public’s calls for transparency. With this in mind, we invite you to reconsider your decision to withhold disclosure of the RSB opinions and the Commission draft Impact Assessment for the Sustainable Corporate Governance proposal.

We would like to take this opportunity to underline the importance of transparency and accountability when deliberating such important proposals, and trust that you will be eager to provide further clarity and explanations by disclosing the documents we are requesting.

In accordance with Regulation 1049/2001, we look forward to your response within 15 working days.

Yours sincerely,

Lara Wolters MEP
Heidi Hautala MEP
Manon Aubry MEP
Pascal Durand MEP

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