Committed to openness and transparency, EFSA provides NGOs with access to internal draft documents

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is providing the non-governmental organisations (NGOs), ClientEarth and Pesticides Action Network (PAN) Europe, with full access to draft documents requested in relation to EFSA’s Guidance on submission of scientific peer-reviewed open literature for the approval of pesticide active substances.

On 1st December 2010, EFSA provided the majority of the documents requested except for draft versions of the Guidance document, as these were considered to be internal documents and therefore not eligible for public access.

EFSA reviewed its position and is now making these internal documents available following a recent ruling in an unrelated case brought before the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), which has clarified the circumstances under which internal documents could be made available following requests for public access to documents.

EFSA reconsidered its decision following this ruling and to avoid spending public funds in a case brought before the ECJ by ClientEarth and PAN Europe. Furthermore, in view of its commitment to its core values of openness and transparency, and following an internal re-evaluation of the request, EFSA decided to release these documents.

In compliance with EU legislation concerning the protection of personal data, the names of experts linked to a specific comment are withheld, otherwise all documents requested are being provided to both organisations.

The NGOs had also asked for documents related to internal meetings among staff but these do not exist as no minutes are taken in relation to telephone calls or informal staff meetings.

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