Helpful letter from the European Council

Five European Heads of Mission [Ambassadors] to Botswana recently produced a report on the Bushmen's relocation. All Survival's attempts to see a copy of this report have been rebuffed. The following is typical of the replies received:

The General Secretariat has examined your request on the basis of 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 (Official Journal L 145 of 31.05.2001, page 43) and the specific provisions regarding public access to Council documents set out in Annex II to the Council's Rules of Procedure (Council Decision 2002/682/EC, Euratom – Official Journal L 230 of 28.8.2002, page 7) and has come to the following conclusion:

The report you refer to was drafted by the EU Heads of Mission after their visit to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve which took place from 22 to 25 June 2003. It is COREU message CFSP/PRES/ROM/0541/03 of 25 July 2003 classified as "RESTREINT UE", which means that the unauthorised disclosure of the information it contains could be disadvantageous to the interests of the European Union or of one or more of its Member States.

The General Secretariat considers that, given the nature and content of this document, its release would undermine the protection of the public interest as regards the EU's international relations. Access to this document must therefore be denied pursuant to Article 4(1)(a) of the Regulation (international relations).

The General Secretariat has examined the possibility of granting partial access to this document pursuant to Article 4(6) of the Regulation, but concluded that this report is entirely covered by the above-mentioned exception.

Yours sincerely,

For the General Secretariat
Jacob Visscher

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