Official Journal of the European Union
Action brought on 25 February 2022 — Hungary v Commission
Language of the case: Hungarian
Applicant: Hungary (represented by: M. Z. Fehér and G. Koós, acting as Agents)
Defendant: European Commission
Form of order sought
The applicant claims that the Court should:
annul the Commission’s decision of 14 December 2021 reviewing the objections raised by Hungary against disclosure, in relation to the confirmatory application GESTDEM 2021/2808, which is aimed at ensuring public access to documents originating from Hungary;
order the Commission to pay the costs.
Pleas in law and main arguments
In the contested decision, the Commission granted partial public access to the documents requested by the applicant, even though the Hungarian authorities had expressly invoked the exception relating to the protection of the decision-making process laid down in Article 4(3) of Regulation No 1049/2001, (1) and the Commission had accepted this in the present case until the confirmatory application was made.
The Hungarian government claims that the Commission’s interpretation in the contested decision is not only contrary to the Commission’s previous practice and the case-law of the Court of Justice, but is also seriously detrimental to cooperation between the Commission and the managing authorities of the Member States. The Hungarian government — in addition to arguing that there is decision-making of an EU institution in relation to the amendment of operational programmes, since the Commission approves those amendments, and that the exception in Article 4(3) of Regulation No 1049/2001 is therefore applicable — submits that the particularity of the present procedure is that, under the system of shared management, the decision taken by the Member State is in fact subject to the strict supervision of the Commission. Although, formally, it is a decision of a Member State authority, the Commission has a demonstrable influence over it, and it is therefore all the more unacceptable that the exception in question does not protect such a decision. The exception laid down in Article 4(3) of Regulation No 1049/2001 is also intended to protect the decision-making of Member State authorities.
(1) Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (OJ 2001 L 145, p. 43).