October 01
2020
Dolores Utrilla
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16th September 2020
Institutional law

Commission publishes report on access to documents in 2019

Yesterday, the European Commission released its report on the application in 2019 of Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, assessing how the Commission safeguarded the effectiveness of the citizens’ right of access to documents held by it over the last year.

The right of access to documents, enshrined in Article 42 of the Charter and Article 15(3) TFEU, is a cornerstone of the principle of openness in the activities of the institutions which is provided for under both Article 1 TEU and Article 298 TFEU. According to Article 17(1) of Regulation 1049/2001, each institution must publish an annual report on the implementation of the Regulation for the preceding year.

The Commission’s report highlights that the year 2019 marked a transition for the European institutions with the parliamentary elections, a new strategic agenda of the European Council for 2019-2024, and a new European Commission. It also stresses the steps taken by the Commission in 2019 to deliver on its strong commitment to increased transparency, accountability, and the trust of European citizens in the EU institutions. Overall, the report shows that the Commission remains by far the EU institution handling the largest number of requests for access to documents under Regulation 1049/2001. In 2019, it reached its highest number of requests ever since the entry into force of the Regulation in 2001, having received no less than 7,445 initial applications.

The annual report published yesterday summarises the European Commission’s broader transparency initiatives. It also identifies the key trends and features of requests for access to documents submitted within the framework of Regulation 1049/2001, as well as their corresponding replies from the institution. The report further reviews the rulings handed down by the European Courts, and the findings of the European Ombudsman concerning the European Commission’s implementation of the Regulation.

The report is available here.

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