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Public access to European Institutiones

Exclusion of liability
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Access to the acts of the European institutions is governed by Regulation (EC) No 1049 of 2001 and aims to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, the transparency of the European institutions and to strengthen the democratic principle.

The principle of transparency is recognised in the second paragraph of Article 1 of the Treaty on European Union.

"This Treaty marks a new stage in the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen".

Article 15 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, replacing Article 255 of the Treaty establishing the European Community - as amended by the Treaty of Amsterdam, signed on 2 October 1997 – reaffirmed the principle of transparency, already recognised in Article 1 TEU.

In application of that principle, provision is made for the obligation of Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies to operate as transparently as possible, as well as the right of access to their documents by any Union citizen and natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State.

The Lisbon Treaty, signed on 13 December 2007, was the culmination of a gradual path towards an increasing implementation of the right of access to documents of the European Institutions.

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, the Directorate General Coordination of EU Policies deals with issues relating to public access to documents of the European institutions.

The Directorate shall be consulted by the European Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council of the Union on requests for access received to them and relating to documents from the Italian authorities: upon receipt of the request, the office initiates the investigation involving the competent national administrations.

Each year, the office prepares a report on the activity carried out, reporting on the number of requests for access received, the investigations initiated and their outcome, with the details of the administrations concerned and the response times, as well as on the work carried out within the Working Party on Information Group/Transparency Session

The most recent report 2022 [.pdf - IT - 619 Kb] shows that 125 requests for access to documents were received (approximately 1 request every 2 working days): 74 from the European Commission and 51 from the General Secretariat of the Council. The requests for access were followed by 247 investigations initiated with the Administrations (of which 236 were addressed to the relevant administrations), in order to obtain the relevant opinion. All procedures launched in 2022 were completed within the timeframes foreseen (the deadline granted in the consultation is usually 5 days). 

On the EU website, in the section dedicated to the public registers of the European institutions, it is possible to see, inter alia, the acts covered by the requests for access.   

The work described above is linked to the participation of the Working Party on Information Group/Transparency Session of the EU Council, where one delegate from each Member State sits.

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