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The Commission's Historical Archives Service celebrates its first 35 years

Posted on 01 August 2018
The Historical Archives Service of the European Commission is celebrating 35 years since its opening. While records and archives services have been in place since the creation of the European Communities, present even in the earliest organisational charts, a specific historical archives service was established in the European Commission in 1983. The opening was based on the decision of the European Coal and Steel Community (No. 359/83/ECSC) and the regulation of the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community (EEC, Euratom No 354/83). Similar decisions by other European institutions followed after 1983 and led to the establishment of a central historical archives for all EU Institutions at the European University Institute in 1986.

 In 1983, Gaston Thorn, then President of the Commission of the European Communities officially opened the historical archives of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community. By making these archives available to the public, the Commission aimed to encourage research into the history of the European Communities. Other goals were promoting public interest in a united Europe and improving the transparency of European institution policies. This key mission was also embedded in the agreement which created a close collaboration between two services: the Historical Archives of the Commission and the Historical Archives of the EC / EU in Florence.

Thirty-five years later, the historical archives of the Commission that are available in Florence and (in duplicate form) in Brussels amount to more than 60,000 paper files, which are stored in a purpose-built archival vault at the European University Institute. Another 140 kilometres of more recent archives are stored at the European Commission premises close to Brussels. The historically relevant documents will then be selected for long-term preservation and progressively opened to the public after a period of thirty years.

On the occasion of this anniversary, the HAEU prepared a video, showing the every day life of their archivists. 

Also available is a video of the inauguration back in 1983.