THE TEXT BELOW IS AN EXCERPT OF A STUDY ACCESSIBLE HERE
Nota Bene: Upon request by the European Parliament JURI Committee this in-depth analysis explains what general principles of EU administrative procedural law are, and how they can be formulated in the recitals of a Regulation on EU administrative procedure.
Authors: Diana-Urania Galetta, Professor of Administrative Law and European Administrative Law, University of Milan, , Herwig C. H. Hofmann, Professor of European and Transnational Public Law, Jean Monnet Chair, University of Luxembourg, Oriol Mir Puigpelat, Professor of Administrative Law, University of Barcelona and Jacques Ziller, Professor of EU law, University of Pavia
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY : Background
The Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament has requested an In-depth Analysis on “The general principles of EU administrative procedural law”. The In-depth Analysis is intended to be presented at a meeting of the Working Group on Administrative Law.
. The Analysis puts forward drafting proposals for the general principles of EU administrative procedural law to be included in the Recitals of a draft Regulation on EU Administrative procedures. More specifically, the Analysis tries to clarify the content of the general principles of EU administrative procedural law and suggest the most accurate formulation for the corresponding recitals.
The following general principles, which are related to the Right to good administration embedded in Article 41 Charter, to the principle of an open, efficient and independent European administration enunciated in Article 298 TFEU are translated into recitals: 1 Access to information and access to documents; Access to the file ; Duty of care; Data protection; Data quality; Effective remedy; Equal treatment and non-discrimination; Fair hearing; Fairness; Good administration; Impartiality; Legal certainty; Legality; Legitimate expectations; Participatory democracy; Proportionality; Reason giving; Rule of Law; Timeliness; Transparency.
2.2. Structure and wording of recitals
Which general principles of EU law need to be referred to in the recitals of an EU regulation on Administrative Procedures depends on the content of the substantive provisions of the regulation. The purpose of establishing an EU regulation on administrative procedures is to improve the quality of the EU’s legal system by fostering compliance with the general principles of EU law in the reality of fragmentation between sector-specific procedures and the reality of the multi-jurisdictional nature and pluralisation of actors involved in the implementation of EU policies.
Fragmentation has often resulted in a lack of transparency, predictability, intelligibility and trust in EU administrative and regulatory procedures and their outcome, especially from the point of view of citizens.
A codification of administrative procedures can contribute to simplifying the legal system of the Union, enhancing legal certainty, filling gaps in the legal system and thereby ideally contributing to compliance with the rule of law. Overall, it can be expected that establishing enforceable rights of individuals in procedures that affect them, contributes to compliance with principles of due process and fosters procedural justice.
Adopting such a regulation further has the potential to contribute not only to the clarity of the legal rights and obligations of individuals and participating institutions, offices, bodies and agencies, but also to the transparency and effectiveness of the legal system as a whole. An EU Regulation on Administrative Procedures has the potential to contribute to the objectives of clarification of rights and obligations. It also contributes to simplification of EU law by ensuring that procedures can follow one single rule-book and better regulation by allowing to improve the overall legislative quality.
The recitals of an EU regulation on administrative procedures will therefore contain various principles of EU law.
When identifying the principles of EU law which should be referred to in the recitals not only is it important to provide a list of principles but also to give them some order. In establishing such order, it has to be taken into account that there is neither an established ‘hierarchy’ of principles, nor do all general and foundational principles of EU law work in the same way. The important aspect of general principles is that they serve to guide the interpretation of legal rules of all levels of the EU’s legal system and fill gaps. In that context, the reference to a general principle of EU law in the recitals serves to reiterate its importance in interpreting a legal text such as the regulation on EU administrative procedure. It also serves to clarify which principles have been balanced by the legislature in establishing specific provisions of the regulation.
However, in order to structure the approach to the reference to general principles of EU law in the recitals of the EU regulation on administrative procedure, the various principles can be grouped. Taking into account the very nature of recitals our proposal is mainly grounded in the idea that the recitals not only have a legal purpose (of interpreting the norms in the regulation), but should also have a ‘citizen friendly’ informative purpose. The principles in the recitals therefore need to be presented in a way that may prompt the non-expert to read them.
The proposed recitals are not comprehensive: they are limited to the scope of clarifying the content of general principles of EU administrative procedure law, what other general principles are relevant to the implementation and interpretation of administrative procedure rules, and why those principles are important. Other components need to be added to the recitals such as, to name one example, the legal basis of the act.
Recitals (1) to (5) are intended to explain to a broader public why those principles matter. Recitals (7) to (22) attempt to explain what the content and meaning of those principles are. Recital (6) briefly alludes to internal principles which are very important for the implementation of the principles mentioned in Article 298 (1) TFEU of an open, efficient and independent administration without necessarily creating enforceable subjective rights; contrary to the other principles those internal principles are not further developed in their enunciation in so far as they do not necessarily correspond to subjective rights. One or more specific recitals might be devoted to those principles once the articles of the operative part of the Regulation will have been drafted.
The order in which those principles are presented derives from grounds which are explained in section 1.2 of this note. The recitals include footnotes that are obviously not intended to remain in the proposal of a Regulation. Their purpose is to give the most useful references (mainly about case law) to the reader of this note.
3.2. Proposed Recitals
(1) In a Union under the rule of law it is necessary to ensure that where citizens are confronted with European administration, procedural rights and obligations are always adequately defined, developed and complied with. According to the European Parliament Resolution of January 2013, an EU Regulation on Administrative Procedure should be adopted to guarantee the right to good administration by means of an open, efficient and independent European administration. Such a Regulation should define the procedures to be followed by the European administration when handling cases to which a natural or legal person is a party. This includes situations where a person has direct or personal contact with the Union’s institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, as well as situations where action of Union authorities is part of a procedure which also involves Member States’ authorities.
(2) A European administration which does not function properly is detrimental to the public interest. Such maladministration can be the result of an excess as well as a lack of rules and procedures. It can also result from the existence of contradictory or unclear rules and procedures.
(3) Article 298 TFEU requires a legislative regulation to establish procedures for an open, efficient and independent European administration. Properly devised administrative procedures support both an efficient administration and a proper enforcement of the right to good administration guaranteed as a general principle of EU law as well as in Article 41 of the Charter.
(4) An EU Regulation on Administrative procedures should serve to clarify rights and obligations as a default rule for all procedures under Union law. Rules and principles governing European administrative procedures which are currently established in diverse sources of law: In Treaty provisions and protocols, general principles of EU law as recognized by cases of the Court of Justice of the European Union as well as principles common to the laws of the Member States, sector-specific legislative acts of the Union, soft law (published16 or unpublished)17 and unilateral commitments by the Union’s institutions, bodies, offices and agencies.
(5) General principles of EU law govern administrative action regardless of the possible existence of sector-specific EU law. Referring to general principles of EU law in a regulation on administrative procedures should not reformulate such principles but reaffirm the importance of those principles in interpreting the provision of this Regulation. A list of general principles highlights the fact that those principles are being implemented through the procedural rules laid down in this Regulation and illustrates which ones are balanced against each other in specific provisions of this Regulation.
(6) Although there is no established hierarchy of general principles applicable to EU administrative procedural law, not all are equal in content and scope. Some principles, such as the rule of law, good administration, or sincere cooperation are formulated in such general manner that their exact content is defined by their sub-components which, if the latter are clear, precise and unconditional also contain individual rights.
(7) The principle of the rule of law, which is part of the Union’s values, as recalled in Article 2 TEU applies to administrative actions. According to that principle any action of the Union has to be based on the treaties according to the principle of conferral18; furthermore the rule of law requires that EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies shall act in accordance with the law 19 and apply the rules and procedures laid down in the legislation.
(8) The principle of legality, as a corollary to the rule of law, requires that actions of European administration occur under and within the law. According to Article 52(1) sentence 1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights ‘Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognized by this Charter must be provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms’.20
(9) The principle of legal certainty,21 another corollary of the rule of law, requires EU legal rules to be clear and precise. The principle aims to ensure that situations and legal relationships governed by EU law remain foreseeable22 in that individuals must be able to ascertain unequivocally what their rights and obligations are and be able to take steps accordingly.23 Under the principle of legal certainty retroactive measures shall not be taken except in legally justified circumstances.24 Further, public authorities shall act and perform their duties within a reasonable time.25
(10) The principle of protection of legitimate expectations has been recognised since the very early case law of the CJEU as sub-principle of the rule of law.26 Actions of public bodies shall not interfere with vested rights and final legal situations except where it is imperatively necessary in the public interest. Legitimate expectations shall be duly taken into account where an administrative decision is cancelled or revoked.
(11) The principle of proportionality is a criterion for the legality of any act of Union law. Next to legislative action as provided for in Protocol n° 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, the principle of proportionality is applicable as criteria of legality of acts of European administration as results from Articles 52(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and Article 5(4) TEU.27 The Court of Justice of the European Union has interpreted the principle of proportionality to require that any measure of the European administration be based on law; to be appropriate and necessary for meeting the objectives legitimately pursued by the act in question; where there is a choice among several appropriate measures, the least onerous measure must be used; and the charges imposed must not be disproportionate to the aims pursued.28
(12) The right to an effective remedy 29 which is enshrined in Article 47 of the Charter,30 in Articles 6 and 13 European Convention of Human Rights and recognised as a general principle of EU law is a key component to a legal system under the rule of law. According to this principle, neither the EU nor Member States can render virtually impossible or excessively difficult the exercise of rights 31 conferred by EU law, are obliged to guarantee real and effective judicial protection 32 and are barred from applying any rule or applying any procedure which might prevent, even temporarily, EU rules from having full force and effect.33
(13) The principle of good administration which is also enshrined in Article 41 of the Charter synthetizing some of the case law of the Court of Justice in this field 34 is of particular relevance to administrative procedures. According to the Charter the right to good administration requires that decisions be taken pursuant to procedures which guarantee fairness, impartiality and timeliness. Good administration includes the right to be given reasons and the possibility of claiming damages against public authorities who have caused harm in the exercise of their functions. Good administration also requires the protection of the rights of defence and of language rights.35 In addition, good administration extends to information rights which include privacy and business secrets as well as access to information. Principles of good administration can be understood to further contain the following elements:
(14) The duty of care includes the right of every person to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time 36. It obliges the administration to carefully establish and review all the relevant factual and legal elements of a case taking into account not only the administration’s interests but also all other relevant interests, prior to making decisions or taking other steps.37 Impartiality requires the absence both of arbitrary action and of unjustified preferential treatment including personal interest.38
(15) Timeliness, which pertains to the principle of fairness, means that decisions have to be taken within a reasonable time39 since slow administration is bad administration 40 and might be in violation of the concept of legal certainty.
(16) The right to a fair hearing must be observed in all proceedings initiated against a person which are liable to culminate in a measure adversely affecting that person.41 That principle (audi alteram partem or audiatur altera pars) is addressed in Article 41(2)(a) and (b) Charter;42 it cannot be excluded or restricted by any legislative provision.43 The right to a fair hearing requires that the party concerned must receive an exact and complete statement of the claims or objections raised and must also be given the opportunity to make its views known on the truth and relevance of the facts and on the documents used.44
(17) The right of access to the file is essential in order to enjoy the right to a fair hearing. The right of access to the file is the right to get full information on matters which may affect a person’s position in an administrative procedure, especially where sanctions may be involved.45 It includes the right to get the administration’s response to complaints or representations,46 as well as to receive notice of the outcome of procedures and of decisions made,47 including information related to the rights of appeal.48
(18) The duty to give reasons for decisions arises from Article 296(2) TFEU and is recognised as a right under Article 41(2)c) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as well as being an essential component of the right to an effective remedy recognised in Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The obligation to give reasons comprises an indication of the legal basis of the act, the general situation which led to its adoption and the general objectives which it intended to achieve;49 the statement of reasons must disclose in a clear and unequivocal fashion the reasoning followed by the authority which adopted the measure in such a way as enable the persons concerned to decide if they want to defend their rights by an application for judicial review.50
(19) The principles of transparency and of participatory democracy51 are applicable also to situations where the proceedings lead to the adoption of an act of general application including decisions with general applicability. In order to ensure that such hearing can effectively take place, active information of the public and structured means of feedback and response should be created.
(20)The right of access to documents 52 under Article 15 (3) TFEU 53 and Article 42 of the Charter 54 is a fundamental right of EU law and also a basic condition of an open, efficient and independent European administration. Any limitation of this principle must be narrowly construed to comply with the criteria of Article 52(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and must therefore be based on law, must respect the essence of the right and follow the criteria of proportionality.
(21) The right to protection of personal data which is embedded in Article 16(1) TEU and in Article 8 of the Charter 55 implies that beyond the need to respect all general rules on data protection,56 special attention needs to be dedicated to data protection aspects of complex and intertwined administrative procedures involving as well EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies as member States’ authorities, which are related to inter-administrative information exchange and databases.57 An essential point of reference is therefore the principle of transparent information management, which includes duties to record data processing activities.58 This duty supports data protection and also fosters inter-administrative accountability and interaction with regard to collaborative information gathering. According to the principle of data quality, data used by the EU Administration shall be accurate, up-to-date and lawfully recorded. The data supplying authority shall be responsible for ensuring that the data are accurate, up-to-date and lawfully recorded.
(22) In the interpretation of this regulation, regard should be had especially to equal treatment and non-discrimination, which apply to administrative actions as a prominent corollary to the rule of law and the principles of an efficient and independent European administration.
NOTES (16-58 cited above)
17 For example the Director-General of OLAF had issued detailed procedural instructions to his staff in the form of a Manual of Operational Procedures. In his own words: these instructions ‘are not intended to have any legal force: they simply determine the practice to be followed in order to implement the applicable legal framework’. See Foreword to Manual, p.2, 1 December 2009. The manual has been replaced by ‘OLAF Instructions to Staff on Investigative Procedures, which are of the same legal nature albeit they do not include the preface any more; see http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/documents/about_us/instructions-to-staff-120201.pdf consulted on 10 June 2015.
18 Case 46/87 Hoechst v Commission  ECR 2859, summary point 3.
19 The hierarchy of legal norms must be recognized and respected in that no act may violate higher-level Union law (Case 1/54 France v High Authority  ECR 7, 23; Case 38/70 Deutsche Tradax GmbH v Einfuhr- und Vorratsstelle für Getreide und Futtermittel  ECR 145, para. 10.)
20 Case C-355/10, European Parliament v Council , ECR I- published in the electronic Reports of Cases para77: ‘Second, it is important to point out that provisions on conferring powers of public authority on border guards – such as the powers conferred in the contested decision, which include stopping persons apprehended, seizing vessels and conducting persons apprehended to a specific location – mean that the fundamental rights of the persons concerned may be interfered with to such an extent that the involvement of the European Union legislature is required’.
21 Case C-55/91 Italy v Commission  ECR I-4813, para. 66; Joined Cases T-55/93 and T-232/94, T-233/94 and T-234/94 Industrias Pesqueras Campos v Commission  ECR II-247, paras. 76, 116, 119; Case 43/75 Defrenne v SABENA  ECR 455, paras. 69 ff.; Case C-143/93 Gebroeders van Es Douane Agenten vs Inspecteur der Invoerrechten en Accijnzen  ECR I-431, para. 27; Joined Cases 205/82 to 215/82 Deutsche Milchkontor and Others v Germany  ECR 2633.
22 Case C-199/03 Ireland v Commission  ECR I-8027, para. 69. See also Case C-29/08 SKF  ECR I-10413, para. 77.
23 See e.g. Case C-158/06 ROM-projecten  ECR I-5103, para. 25 with further references.
24 See Case T-357/02 Freistaat Sachsen v Commission  ECR II-1261, para. 98, where the Court stated that ‘provisions of Community law have no retroactive effect unless, exceptionally, it clearly follows from their terms or general scheme that such was the intention of the legislature, that the purpose to be achieved so demands and that the legitimate expectations of those concerned are duly respected’.
25 Joined Cases C-74/00 P and C-75/00 P Falck and Acciaierie di Bolzano v Commission  ECR I-7869, para. 140.
26 See Case 111/63 Lemmerz-Werke v High Authority of the ECSC  ECR 677, where the concept of protection of legitimate expectations was first explicitly enunciated. See also Joined Cases 7/56 and 3/57 to 7/57 Algera and Others v Common Assembly of the ECSC  ECR 39, 55; Cases 42 and 49/59 S.N.U.P.A.T. v High Authority  ECR 53; Case 14/61 Koninklijke Nederlandsche Hoogovens en Staalfabrieken v ECSC High Authority  ECR 253.
27 Article 5(4) TEU ‘Under the principle of proportionality, the content and form of Union action shall not exceed what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaties […]’.
28 See e.g. Case C-265/87 Schräder v Hauptzollamt Gronau  ECR I-2237 para 21. See also e.g. Case C 343/09 Afton Chemical v Secretary of State for Transport  ECR I 7027, para 45, and Joined Cases C 581/10 and C 629/10 Nelson and Others v Deutsche Lufthansa AG (C-581/10) and TUI Travel and Others v Civil Aviation Authority (C-629/10)  published in the electronic Reports of Cases, para 71. Case 85/76 Hoffmann-La Roche v Commission  ECR 461, para. 9; 29 Case 222/84 Johnston v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary  ECR 1651, para 19.
30 Article 47 Charter: ‘Everyone whose rights and freedoms guaranteed by the law of the Union are violated has the right to an effective remedy before a tribunal in compliance with the conditions laid down in this Article”.
31 See e.g. Case C 128/93 Fisscher v Voorhuis Hengelo BV and Stichting Bedrijfspensioenfonds voor de Detailhandel  ECR I 4583, para. 37; Case C-261/95 Palmisani v Istituto nazionale della previdenza sociale (INPS)  ECR I-4025, para 27; C-453/99 Courage and Crehan v Courage Ltd and Others  ECR I-6297, para 29; Case C 78/98 Preston and Others  ECR I 3201, para. 39; Case C-187/00 Kutz-Bauer  ECR I-2741, para. 57; Case C-30/02 Recheio-Cash & Carry  ECR I-6051, paras 17, 18; Case C-212/04 Adeneler and Others  ECR I-6057, para. 95; Joined Cases C-231/06 to C-233/06 Jonkman and Others  ECR I-5149, para. 28.
32 Case 14/83 von Colson  ECR 1891, para 23.
33 Case C-213/89 Factortame  ECR I-2433, paras. 19, 20.
34 The CJEU has referred to good administration principles since the very early case-law: Joined Cases 7/56, 3/57 to 7/57 Algera and Others v Common Assembly of the ECSC  ECR 0039; Case 32/62 Alvis  ECR 49, para 1A; Joined Cases 56 and 58/64 Consten and Grundig v Commission  ECR 299; Case 64/82 Tradax v Commission  ECR 1359; see the Explanations Relating to the Charter Of Fundamental Rights, Doc. 2007/C 303/02, at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2007:303:0017:0035:en:PDF
35 See Article 24 fourth subparagraph TFEU: ‘Every citizen of the Union may write to any of the institutions or bodies… in one of the [official] languages… and have an answer in the same language’. Article 41 (4) Charter:’Every person may write to the institutions of the Union in one of the languages of the Treaties and must have an answer in the same language’. See also EEC Council: Regulation No 1 determining the languages to be used by the European Economic Community, Official Journal 017, 06/10/1958 P. 0385 – 0386.
36 Charter, Article 41(1).
37 See to that respect, AG van Gerven in Case C-16/90 Eugen Nölle v Hauptzollamt Bremen –Freihafen  ECR I-5163; Case C-269/90 TU München v Hauptzollamt München Mitte  ECR I-5469, para. 14.
38 Case T-146/89 Williams v Court of Auditors  ECR II-1293, para. 40; Case T-305/94 Limburgse Vinyl Maatschappij v Commission  ECR II-931, paras. 317ff.
39 Article 24 fourth subparagraph TFEU ; Article 20(2)(d) TFEU ; Article 41 (1) Charter.
40 AG Jacobs in C-270/99 P Z v Parliament  ECR I-9197, para. 40 with reference to Art. 41 of the Charter and claiming that this was ‘a generally recognised principle.’
41 Case T-306/01 Yusuf and Al Barakaat International Foundation v. Council and Commission  ECR II-3533, para. 325. 42 Article 41(2)(a) Charter: The right to good administration includes: ‘the right of every person to be heard, before any individual measure which would affect him or her adversely is taken;’ ; Article 11(1) ‘The institutions shall, by appropriate means, give citizens and representative associations the opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action’ and (3) TEU ‘The European Commission shall carry out broad consultations with parties concerned in order to ensure that the Union’s actions are coherent and transparent.’
43 Case T-260/94 Air Inter v. Commission  ECR II-997, para. 60; case C-135/92 Fiskano v. Commission  ECR I-2885, para. 39.
44 See, e.g., Case 100/80 to 103/80 Musique Diffusion française v Commission  ECR 1835, para. 10; Case 121/76 Moli v Commission  ECR 1971, para. 19; Case 322/81 Michelin v Commission  ECR 3461, para. 7; Case C-328/05 SGL Carbon v Commission  ECR I-3921, para. 71. In Joined Cases C-402/05 P and Case C-415/05 P Kadi v Council and Commission  ECR I-6351, paras. 338-352, the Court held that overriding considerations of safety or the conduct of international relations might justify that certain matters may not be communicated to the persons concerned, but do not allow for evidence used against them to justify restrictive measures or for them not to be afforded the right to be informed of such evidence within a reasonable period after those measures were taken.
45 Case 270/82 Estel v Commission  ECR 1195, paras. 13ff.; Case 64/82 Tradax v Commission  ECR 1359, paras. 21f.; Case C-34/89 Italy v Commission  ECR I-3603, paras. 14f.; Case T-100/92 La Pietra v Commission , ECR (civil service) I-A-83, II-275, paras. 43ff.; Case C-54/95 Germany v Commission  ECR I-35, para. 118.
46 Case 179/82 Lucchini Siderurgica v Commission  ECR 3083, para. 27; Cases 96-102 and 104-106 and 110/82 NV IAZ International Belgium v Commission  ECR 3369, paras. 12ff.
47 Case 120/73 Lorenz v Germany  ECR 1471, para. 5; Case 121/73 Markmann v Germany  ECR 1495, para. 5; Case 122/73 Nordsee v Germany  ECR 1511, para. 5; Case 141/73 Lohrey v Germany  ECR 1527, para. 5; see also Ralf Bauer, Das Recht auf eine gute Verwaltung im Europäischen Gemeinschaftsrecht (Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, 2002) 64.
48 Case 41/69 Chemiefarma v Commission  ECR 661, para. 27. See also Commission ‘Code of Good administrative behaviour’, Point 3, third indent: ‘Where Community law so provides, measures notified to an interested party should clearly state that an appeal is possible and describe how to submit it, (the name and office address of the person or department with whom the appeal must be lodged and the deadline for lodging it).Where appropriate, decisions should refer to the possibility of starting judicial proceedings and/ or of lodging a complaint with the European Ombudsman in accordance with Article 230 or 195 of the Treaty establishing the European Community.’ European Ombudsman ‘Code of Good administrative behaviour’, Article 19 – indication of the possibilities of appeal: ‘A decision of the Institution which may adversely affect the rights or interests of a private person shall contain an indication of the appeal possibilities available for challenging the decision. It shall in particular indicate the nature of the remedies, the bodies before which they can be exercised, as well as the time-limits for exercising them. Decisions shall in particular refer to the possibility of judicial proceedings and complaints to the European Ombudsman under the conditions specified in, respectively, Articles  and Articles [228 TFEU].’
49 Case 5/67 Beus GmbH v Hauptzollamt München  ECR 83, 95 (English Special Edition 83); See also Case T-13/99 Pfizer Animal Health v Council  ECR II-3305, para. 510; Case T-70/99 Alpharma v Council  ECR II-3495, para. 394; Case C-304/01 Spain v Commission  ECR I-7655, para. 51; Case C-184/02 Spain and Finland v European Parliament and Council  ECR I-7789, para. 79; Case C-342/03 Spain v Council  ECR 1975, para. 55.
50 Case C-269/90 TU München v Hauptzollamt München Mitte  ECR I-5469, paras. 14, 26.
51 Article 10(3) TEU: ‘Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen.’ Articles 11(1) and (3) TEU require Union institutions to hear views and opinions on EU measures and especially enter into consultation procedures.
52 See Regulation No 1049/2001.
53 Article 15(3) TFEU: ‘Any citizen of the Union, and any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State, shall have a right of access to documents of the Union’s institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, whatever their medium, subject to the principles and the conditions to be defined in accordance with this paragraph…. Each institution, body, office or agency shall ensure that its proceedings are transparent and shall elaborate in its own Rules of Procedure specific provisions regarding access to its documents, in accordance with the regulations referred to in the second subparagraph….’; Charter, Article 42: ‘Any citizen of the Union, and any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State, has a right of access to documents of the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union, whatever their medium.’
54 Article 42 Charter: ‘Any citizen of the Union, and any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State, has a right of access to documents of the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union, whatever their medium.’
55 Article 16(1) TEU: ‘Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning them.’ ; Charter, Article 8 Protection of personal data.
56 Regulation (EC) no 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data.
57 Given that many administrative procedures are inextricably linked to IT systems (e.g. EU PILOT for infringements, CHAP for COM communication with complainants, ARES for COM document management, GEDA and EPADES for EP document management, etc.),
58 See European Ombudsman ‘European Code of Good administrative behaviour’, Article 24 – Keeping of adequate records: ‘The Institution’s departments shall keep adequate records of their incoming and outgoing mail, of the documents they receive, and of the measures they take.’