PL&B International E-news, Issue 64

1. Lobbyists must be named - EU court rules that names of those attending meetings with the European Commission must be named

Transparency is more important than privacy when it comes to revealing who attends meetings with the European Commission.

The EU Court of First Instance, on 8 November, overruled a Commission decision refusing to disclose names of those attending a meeting to discuss dropping proceedings against the UK for refusing to allow imports of beer. (Bavarian Lager v Commission of the European Communities, Case T-194/04).

The Court ruled that privacy rights under data protection law did not override the right of access to EU documents containing personal data in these circumstances. The Court held that the mere presence of the name of the person concerned in the list of participants at a meeting, under the heading of the body which that person represented, does not actually affect protection of the privacy and integrity of the persons concerned. The Court further held that objection by those persons could not prevent disclosure of their names. Bavarian Lager did not need to prove the need for disclosure of the names. Also, the Commission did not demonstrate that disclosure of the document would actually undermine protecting the aims of investigations.

A fuller version of this story is in the December issue of Privacy Laws & Business International Newsletter, published this week.

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