Access to Documents of the European Institutions
Legal Basis: Article 15 paragraph 3 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (former art. 255 TEC)
Regulation 1049/2001 was further adopted regarding public access to documents of the European Parliament, Council and the Commission. It requires each of these institutions to set up a register to allow easier access for all citizens.
Year of establishment: This right was introduced in 1993 by the Treaty on European Union.
Some statistics:In 2011 the European Commission received 6447 requests of access to documents. Replies were given to 6055 of those. Read the latest report.
In the interest of transparency you will rarely be denied access to documents and attempts are made to even provide partial access to these documents. However, before you begin your search you should be aware that there are a few exceptions. Access will be denied when disclosure would:
You should be aware that Access to Documents cases account for a large proportion of complaints to the European Ombudsman. This does not mean that this procedure is ineffective but that in certain circumstances you may have to use these procedures in combination.
A common request under this procedure is for access to the minutes of an internal meeting or the list of participants which are not directly available online. If you are carrying out research for a paper, this procedure may also prove necessary to acquire information which is not immediately made public.