The Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) are administered by the European University Institute of Florence and financed by the general budget of the EU.
The Historical Archives opened its doors in 1986 and its mandate is contained in, Decision No. 359/83 of the ECSC, and Regulation No. 354/83 of the EEC and Euratom, amended on 22 September 2003 by Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No. 1700/2003, concerning the opening to the public of the historical archives of the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Economic Community and Euratom, taking into consideration the standard delay of 30 years.
A contract was signed to this effect on the 17 December 1984 between the Commission of the EC, acting in the name of all the other Community institutions, and the European University Institute.
In practice the terms of the contract makes the Institute responsible for receiving, preserving and giving access to the public the documents which are over thirty years old coming from the various institutions of the European Communities - Coal and Steel, the Common Market and Euratom, with the exception of the Court of Justice.
The Framework Partnership Agreement signed on 8 November 2011 in Florence, “reinforces the role of the EUI in providing access to and promoting consultation of the EU archives". It will ensure a medium term programme whereby the responsibilities of the EUI and the EU institutions in relation to the processing of private deposits and access for researchers to digital archives, which will grow in importance in the future, are clearly set out.
The HAEU has another vocation, that of collecting in the form of deposits or private collections, the archives of political personalities or important officials, of movements or international organizations which played an integral role in the process which led to the construction of Europe.
The Archives has also built up a substantial collection of oral sources on the history of integration and acquired microfilmed copies of documents held in other archival institutions which illustrate the various Community treaties or enlargement negotiations.