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“ The Paper Chase” - Access to the Commission file in the Field of European Competition law

Kristinsdóttir, Hrund LU (2012) JAEM01 20121
Department of Law
Abstract
In 2001 European Union (EU) implemented the Transparency Regulation1 (the „Regulation‟ or the „Transparency Regulation‟) which sets out the principle of open public access to documents. The purpose of the Regulation is to give fullest possible effect to the right of public access to documents and to lay down general principles and limits on such access in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In accordance with the Regulation all documents of the EU institutions shall be accessible to the public in all areas of EU activities. This wide public access is however not without exceptions as certain public and private interests shall be protected. Moreover, the institutions are entitled to... (More)
In 2001 European Union (EU) implemented the Transparency Regulation1 (the „Regulation‟ or the „Transparency Regulation‟) which sets out the principle of open public access to documents. The purpose of the Regulation is to give fullest possible effect to the right of public access to documents and to lay down general principles and limits on such access in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In accordance with the Regulation all documents of the EU institutions shall be accessible to the public in all areas of EU activities. This wide public access is however not without exceptions as certain public and private interests shall be protected. Moreover, the institutions are entitled to protect their internal consultations and deliberations where necessary to safeguard their ability to carry out their tasks.

In the EU Competition law field there are specific procedural rules for access to the file of the European Commission (the „Commission‟) which are intended to protect the rights of the defence and more precisely an essential „precondition of the effective exercise of the right to be heard‟ 4. These rules allow undertakings to present their views on the conclusions reached by the Commission in its Statement of objections (SO). This means that the undertaking under investigation can request access to the whole file as it is not for the Commission alone to decide which documents are relevant to the undertaking„s rights of defence.
These procedural rules applicable to Competition law are not considered to constitute a lex specialis derogating from the general rules set out in the Transparency Regulation. Consequently, the question arises to what extent the Transparency Regulation can be applied to the sphere of Competition Law without calling the system for the protection of competition in question. As either the Regulation or other legal texts do not clarify this fully it is and has been the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to decide upon the sphere in this context.
The ECJ and the General Court (GC) have not been consistent in their application of the Regulation within the field of EU Competition Law. The GC has interpreted the provisions of the Regulation more strictly resulting in the widening of access to documents possibly at the expense of the investigation proceedings of the Commission. The ECJ has on the contrary been more willing to accept that those general rules on public access must be interpreted in the light of other special regulations which are applicable in the various fields of EU activities, such as in the area of Competition law.
These issues, besides other related issues, are being scrutinized and analyzed in this thesis. (Less)
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author
Kristinsdóttir, Hrund LU
supervisor
organization
course
JAEM01 20121
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
language
English
id
2596410
date added to LUP
2012-10-15 12:45:38
date last changed
2012-10-15 12:45:38
@misc{2596410,
  abstract     = {In 2001 European Union (EU) implemented the Transparency Regulation1 (the „Regulation‟ or the „Transparency Regulation‟) which sets out the principle of open public access to documents. The purpose of the Regulation is to give fullest possible effect to the right of public access to documents and to lay down general principles and limits on such access in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In accordance with the Regulation all documents of the EU institutions shall be accessible to the public in all areas of EU activities. This wide public access is however not without exceptions as certain public and private interests shall be protected. Moreover, the institutions are entitled to protect their internal consultations and deliberations where necessary to safeguard their ability to carry out their tasks. 
 
In the EU Competition law field there are specific procedural rules for access to the file of the European Commission (the „Commission‟) which are intended to protect the rights of the defence and more precisely an essential „precondition of the effective exercise of the right to be heard‟ 4. These rules allow undertakings to present their views on the conclusions reached by the Commission in its Statement of objections (SO). This means that the undertaking under investigation can request access to the whole file as it is not for the Commission alone to decide which documents are relevant to the undertaking„s rights of defence.
These procedural rules applicable to Competition law are not considered to constitute a lex specialis derogating from the general rules set out in the Transparency Regulation. Consequently, the question arises to what extent the Transparency Regulation can be applied to the sphere of Competition Law without calling the system for the protection of competition in question. As either the Regulation or other legal texts do not clarify this fully it is and has been the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to decide upon the sphere in this context. 
	The ECJ and the General Court (GC) have not been consistent in their application of the Regulation within the field of EU Competition Law. The GC has interpreted the provisions of the Regulation more strictly resulting in the widening of access to documents possibly at the expense of the investigation proceedings of the Commission. The ECJ has on the contrary been more willing to accept that those general rules on public access must be interpreted in the light of other special regulations which are applicable in the various fields of EU activities, such as in the area of Competition law. 
These issues, besides other related issues, are being scrutinized and analyzed in this thesis.},
  author       = {Kristinsdóttir, Hrund},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {“ The Paper Chase” - Access to the Commission file in the Field of European Competition law},
  year         = {2012},
}