This post was originally published as a Covington E-Alert

Very recently, the General Court of the European Union held that European institutions and agencies (e.g., European Commission, ECHA, EFSA, EMA) must disclose to the public, upon their request, information on the impurities and composition of substances emitted into the environment even if this may affect the commercial interests and intellectual property rights of the companies that developed the products.

The Court ruled against a European Commission decision that denied two NGOs access to several documents relating to the approval of the active substance glyphosate in plant protection products.  The refusal was based on the need to protect the commercial interests of the manufacturers of the substance. The Court held that Regulation 1367/2006 on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community Institutions and Bodies (“Aarhus Regulation”) requires EU institutions and bodies to disclose information if it “relates to emissions into the environment” even if it can undermine the commercial interests of companies.  This applies to any information that “relates in a sufficiently direct manner to emissions into the environment.” The Court found that information concerning the identification and quantity of impurities contained in the substances meets that definition.
Continue Reading EU Court Requires EU Authorities to Disclose Information on Impurities and Composition of Substances Submitted by Companies