Recommended reading: Access to EU documents

By EDRi · March 11, 2004

On 30 January 2004, the European Commission published a report about the
effectiveness of EU legislation on freedom of information. Article 255 of
the treaty establishing the European Community, implemented through
Regulation 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001, grants a right of access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents to any Union citizen and to
any natural or legal person residing, or having its registered office, in
a Member State.

Two years after the implementation of the Regulation, it is hard to judge
the effectiveness of the regulation, according to the Commission. The
yearly amount of requests has doubled from 2001 to 2002, and the report
suggests a similarly strong increase in 2003. Still, the total amount of
requests remains low, namely 4.022 in 2002.

In 2002 the Commission declined full access in 27.6 percent of the cases,
mostly based on the exception of protecting its work of inspection,
investigation and auditing. The Council declined full access in 23.6
percent of the cases, mostly based on the much criticised vague exception
of ‘public security’, i.e. covering external and security policy, defence
and co-operation on justice and home affairs.

So far, only one ruling had been issued by the Court of First Instance and
eleven complaints had been resolved by the Ombudsman. The report refrains
from strong conclusions, but repeatedly laments the workload for the
commission caused by some applications that are ‘unfair, repetitive or
clearly unreasonable’.

Report from the Commission COM 2004-45 (30.01.2004)


Website EU Council documents (very useful)

Website European Commission documents (much less useful)

Website European Parliament documents (overview of many commmunication