The principle of transparency is laid down in Article 1 of the Treaty on European Union and, additionally, the right of access to documents is in Article 42 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union:
Principle of transparency
"This Treaty marks a new stage in the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen."
Article 1, §2 of the Treaty on European Union
Right of access to documents
"Any citizen of the Union, and any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State, has a right of access to documents of the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union, whatever their medium."
Article 42 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
This right is translated in Article 15(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and further in the Regulation 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (OJ L145, 31/5/2001, p.43), where it was initially agreed for documents held by the three main European Institutions only: European Parliament, Council and Commission.
This Regulation is also applicable to the EEAS pursuant to Article 11(1) of the Council Decision 2010/427 of 26 July 2010 establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service (OJ L201, 3/8/2010, p. 30).
Finally, the Decision PROC HR(2011)012 of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 19 July 2011 on the rules regarding access to documents (OJ C243/08, 20/8/2011) sets up the implementing rules for the Regulation in the EEAS.
In order to make citizens' right of access to documents effective and pursuant to Article 10 of the Decision of the High Representative referred to above, an EEAS Public Register was set up and has been operational since 1st January 2015.
The EEAS processes personal data in accordance with the pertinent data protection provisions for EU institutions and bodies and in particular with Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data, currently under revision.
The EEAS Public Register contains the following types of documents produced by the EEAS since 1st January 2015:
• HR – Proposals and recommendations of the High Representative for Council legal acts pursuant to the Treaties and other documents transmitted by the High Representative to other European institutions or bodies.
• HR/COM – Proposals and recommendations made jointly by the High Representative and the Commission for Council legal acts pursuant to the Treaties and other documents transmitted jointly by the High Representative and the Commission to other European institutions or bodies.
• EEAS – Working documents transmitted by the EEAS to other European Union institutions or bodies and other EEAS documents approved internally.
• EEAS/COM – Working documents transmitted jointly by the EEAS and the services of the Commission to other European Union institutions or bodies.
• ADMIN – Decisions of the High Representative or of the EEAS hierarchy of general application on administrative, staff, financial, procedural and other internal matters.
As far as a sensitive document is concerned the following applies:
"Sensitive documents are documents originating from the institutions or the agencies established by them, from Member States, third countries or International Organisations, classified as "TRÈS SECRET/TOP SECRET", "SECRET" or "CONFIDENTIEL" in accordance with the rules of the institution concerned, which protect essential interests of the European Union or of one or more of its Member States in the areas covered by Article 4(1)(a), notably public security, defence and military matters." pursuant to Article 9(1) of Regulation 1049/2001.
Sensitive documents are not registered in the EEAS Public Register unless they have previously been declassified.
To look for specific documents, please follow this link: Search documents
Requests for access to not-downloadable documents held by the EEAS should be sent in writing, in one of the official languages of the European Union, either using the electronic form, by post or by fax.
European External Action Service
Access to Documents
SG. AFFGEN.2 - Transparency
Fax Number: +32 2 584 17 17