Access Info challenges European Commission secrecy around EU-Turkey refugee deal legal advice before the European Court of Justice

Madrid, 2 December 2016 – Access Info Europe is taking the European Commission to the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union to obtain its legal analysis of this year’s controversial EU-Turkey deal on return of refugees to Turkey.

The 18 March 2016 deal – officially “statement” – which is having a direct impact in the lives of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers fleeing war – was much-criticized by human rights groups for being out of line with international human rights and humanitarian law.

Access Info Europe submitted two access to information requests asking for copies of the Commission’s own evaluation of the legality of what was agreed with Turkey. The Commission denied access to the documents citing protection of legal advice, protection of decision making and protection of international relations. It released only a heavily redacted e-mail.

Firmly believing there is a strong public interest in the disclosure of this information, Access Info today lodged a case with the EU’s General Court.

The refugee crisis, and the associated humanitarian crisis, has been the most debated political topic in the EU during 2016 and yet key decisions are being taken with an abysmal lack of transparency, let alone public participation,” stated Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe.

There is already a crisis of trust and legitimacy in the EU and to deny the public information on whether decisions are in line with EU and international law, stifles public debate and creates a larger space for false news and populist discourse,” added Darbishire.

Due to the EU Court of Justice’s rules of procedure, Access Info is not able to currently disclose its arguments presented to the General Court. Nonetheless a summary of these arguments will be published shortly.

Links to the original access to information requests to the European Commission can be found here and here.

For more information, please contact:

Helen Darbishire or Luisa Izuzquiza | Access Info Europe
Send an e-mail or call +34 913 656 558

Share This