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EU: Vestager considers lifting document access restrictions

 |  November 20, 2014

European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is reportedly considering lifting current restrictions on access to documents following a ruling by the European Court of Justice said found the Commission was wrong to deny MasterCard’s request to access EC documents regarding cross-boarder car payments.

According to reports, the Commission commissioned EIM to investigate the interchange fee market as the regulator first began to draft overhauling swipe-fee regulation. MasterCard had requested access to five documents that were produced as part of that investigation.

The Commission had denied access to MasterCard on grounds that it would “seriously undermine” the regulator’s decision-making process on the proposed legislation.

But the Court of Justice sided with MasterCard.

Now, Vestager is eyeing a new era of transparency within the Commission; reports say lifting access restrictions would allow businesses, journalists and others to see documents used by the Commission to justify its rulings.

The changes would come at a particularly sensitive time for the Commission as Vestager continues an investigation into allegedly anticompetitive tax agreements made between certain EU member states and foreign corporations.

The probe has lead to public scrutiny of European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, who is accused of sanctioning some of those tax agreements while he was Prime Minister of Luxembourg. Much of the criticism is the result of a wave of document leaks that outlined billions of dollars in alleged tax breaks offered to foreign firms.

Since, Juncker has vowed to stay out of Vestager’s way in the investigation. Vestager has also reportedly confirmed that the so-called Luxleak documents will be used in the investigation.

Full content: Euractiv

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