The provisions on professional secrecy apply also to the competition authorities of the Member States, their officials, civil servants and other persons working under the supervision of these authorities as well as officials and civil servants of other authorities of the Member States (including their representatives and experts attending the Advisory Committee meetings). 1
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According to the General Court 2 in order to fall under the obligation of professional secrecy the information must: – be known only to a limited number of persons, – if disclosed, be liable to cause serious harm to the person who provided it or to third parties and – if disclosed, the interests liable to be harmed by disclosure must, objectively, be worthy of protection. The General Court has also confirmed that the concept of professional secrecy is broader than that of business secret and therefore documents protected by the principle of professional secrecy can be disclosed when granting access to the file for the purpose of the rights of defence, provided they do not contain business secrets 3 .
- Information about Professional secrecy in the Antitrust Manual of Procedures for the application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU (Internal DG Competition)
[Note 1] Reference could also be made to Regulation 45/2001, which obliges the Commission to ensure that the processing of personal data relating to natural persons is done in a fair and lawful way.
[Note 2] Case T-198/03 Bank Austria Creditanstalt AG v Commission  ECR II-1429, para. 71; also Case T-474/04, Pergan v Commission  ECR II-4225, para 65 et seq.
[Note 3] Case T-198/03 Bank Austria Creditanstalt AG v Commission, para. 29.
- Information about Professional secrecy in “An Introduction to EU Competition Law”, Moritz Lorenz (Cambridge University Press)