Malmström Makes Some Correspondence Public and Searchable Via Internet

I am not sure for how long this has been available, but Commissioner Malmström noted in a blog post yesterday that she is making some (emphasis on “some”) of her public correspondence available on-line: “… I am posting my correspondence online (the correspondence with private persons is excepted). I am trying to get more Commissioners to do the same and I am striving for a greater transparency throughout the Commission. There is much more to do in this respect….”

The correspondence is being made available via “CAROL“: “CAROL is a prototype register where you can find Commissioner Malmström’s correspondence. This site is a pilot project of the European Commission promoting transparency and access to information and is bound by the general rules on access to Commission documents.”

I have spent a little time searching and accessing a few of the posted documents. There appear to be at least 2,100 documents that have been identified as of 7 July, but for many of the listed documents there is no associated document that can be read. In these cases it is unclear whether a decision has been made to simply identify the existence and subject matter of the particular document without releasing the document itself or whether the document will be posted in the future once it is scanned – to be seen. The documents date from April 2010 to the present. This is clearly a positive step in the right direction and let’s hope that more documents will be made public and easily accessible.

Click here or here for links to the search pages. (Note that entering some search criteria on the first link will result in an advance search page appearing, where you can search using more specific criteria. Clicking on the second link should open the advanced search page.)

Here is a sample of what I reviewed when searching for documents relating to the EU-Libya Framework negotiations in 2010:

Letter from the Commissioner dated 15 July 2010 addressed to:

“Mr Michael SCHÖPF, Regional Director

Mr Stefan KEßLER, Senior Policy & Advocacy Officer

JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE-EUROPE AISBL, BRUXELLES

[***]

As you may know, the European Council, in the context of the fight against irregular immigration and taking into consideration the global approach to migration, tasked last year the Commission to step up the dialogue and cooperation with transit countries in the Mediterranean, in particular Libya. The Commission considers that it is through dialogue and cooperation with Libya that the EU can improve the situation, in particular for persons in need of international protection.

We consider that the conclusion of the EU-Libya Framework Agreement, which will commit partners to respect a number of important principles and pave the way for a more structured dialogue with Libya, will provide a more effective framework for inter alia establishing an effective system of protection of persons in need of international protection in Libya.

Pending such outcome, the Commission intervenes in Libya by providing its financial support to UNHCR and its local partner organisations, which are active in visiting and screening migrants in detention centres, and in identifying and assisting those out of them that are in need of international protection.

Finally, in your letter you mention also the forced returns to Libya of migrants intercepted at high sea which were carried out by Italy from May 2009, asking the Commission to call on this Member State to suspend this activity. The Commission has already drawn the attention of the Italian authorities on the risks that forced returns embodied as regard the possibility to violate the principle of non-refoulement and the migrants’ human rights in case certain safeguards were not taken. On the basis of the information available to the Commission, since August 2009 no more forced returns have been carried out by Italian authorities, and the migrants that subsequently were intercepted or rescued at high sea by the latter were all brought to Italian territory.

Yours sincerely,

s/

Cecilia MALMSTRÖM”

Click here or here for links to the search pages. (Note that entering some search criteria on the first link will result in an advance search page appearing, where you can search using more specific criteria. Clicking on the second link should open the advanced search page.)

Click here for the Commissioner’s blog post.

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