Access to documents
Revision of regulation “at impasse”
By Gaspard Sebag | Wednesday 13 June 2012
The revision of Regulation 1049/2001 on public access to documents is at an “impasse,” according to a spokesperson for the Danish Presidency. The compromise presented by the Presidency, on 8 June, at Council working group level to narrow the gap with Parliament could not be accepted by member states. The Council could either leave the negotiations in limbo or vote its own position at first reading without agreement with Parliament. In any case, the access to documents provisions currently in place are unlikely to change. Council and EP positions are particularly far apart on block exceptions and the definition of a document.
The office of EP rapporteur Michael Cashman’s (S&D, UK) said he was disappointed. The revision of Regulation 1049/2001 was never going to be something that Copenhagen would push through at any cost. “We have 1049 and 1049 is not that bad,” says the Presidency spokesperson. “But obviously there have been a lot of changes since 2001,” adds the spokesperson, mentioning in particular data systems. The Presidency believes it would be better for the legislators – Council and Parliament – to decide amongst themselves how to adapt the access to documents regulation to the changing times rather than letting the court decide, as will be the case if the lack of agreement is definitive.
A legal dispute might come up as regards the extension of the scope of access to documents to all EU institutions
(1), which Parliament has said in the past is directly applicable.
(1) Article 15.3 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, grants citizens access to documents of all EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, and not only Parliament, Council and Commission as was hitherto the case.