Following Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, all EU institutions and agencies set up Registers of documents to help the general public access documents that are still in a draft stage or documents that would not be made public or published in any form. No sensitive documents are included in the Registers, unless they have previously been declassified.
Access to the Registers of documents is free. In most cases, documents are readily available (pdf), but they could also be NOT available or partially available. In these cases, filing an online “access to documents request” is necessary and does not require a special justification.
When is it necessary to file an access to documents request?
When documents are listed but are not directly accessible;
When documents are listed but are only partially accessible;
When documents are NOT found on the register.
In the great majority of cases, access will be granted and documents will be sent via email in PDF format, unless special restrictions apply. Requestors will receive an email from the relevant EU institution or EU agency acknowledging that, in accordance with Regulation 1049/2001, it may take up to 15 working days to process the request. The access to documents request can be filled in one of the official European Union languages.
The Registers complement Eur-Lex, the database of interinstitutional procedures, which enables users to carry out searches for documents produced by the institutions while drawing up EU laws.
The European Commission Register of documents allows to search by document type, by year, by reference number, language and/or words in the title. In most cases the oldest documents available are from 2001, which is the year Regulation 1049/2001 came into effect. Fill in a Document Request Form for European Commission documents which are not available or are only partially available.
The European External Action Service mantains its own Register of documents.
The Council Register of documents gives access to references or the contents of the Council documents from 1999 onwards. The Council Register also allows to retrieve all internal documents related to an inter-institutional procedure by introducing the interinstitutional code (consisting of: the year YYYY; the series number (4 digits); an abbreviation of the procedure in brackets: example 2011/0210 (COD). Fill in a Document Request Form for Council documents not available or only partially available.
To learn more about Council documents and Council documents transparency, see the list of the documents that are most frequently consulted.
The European Parliament Register of documents contains references to documents produced or received by the institution since 03 December 2001. In particular, legislative documents, drawn up or received in the course of procedures for the adoption of acts that are legally binding in or for the Members States. Fill in a Document request form for European Parliament documents not available or only partially available.
The European Court of Justice Register e-CVRIA provides a application form to receive and consult procedural documents in electronic format. It requires the creation of an access account/authentication (Video demonstration). Procedural documents from 1952 to 1978 should be requested directly to the Historical Archives of the EU (Florence, Italy), send an email to: [email protected]