14 July 2000
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(Original in French; Statewatch translation with apologies for any errors. The bold text indicates the changes from the current Council decision (20.12.93) on public access to Council documents)
12 July 2000
Consolidated version of decision 93/731 TEC with the proposed modifications
[Statewatch note this replaces: 1.The public shall have access to Council documents under the conditions laid down in this Decision].
2."Council document" means any written text, whatever its medium, containing existing data and held by the Council, subject to Article 2 (2).
2.Where the requested document was written by a natural or legal person, a Member State, another Community institution or body, or any other national or international body, the application must not be sent to the Council, but direct to the author.
1.The applicant shall have access to a Council document either by consulting it on the spot or by having a copy sent at his own expense. The fee shall be set by the Secretary-General.
2.The relevant departments of the General Secretariat shall endeavour to find a fair solution to deal with repeat applications and/or those which relate to very large documents.
- the protection of the public interest (public security, the security and defence of the Union or one or more of its Member States, military and non-military crisis management, international relations, monetary stability, court proceedings, inspections and investigations),
- the protection of the individual and of privacy,
- the protection of commercial and industrial secrecy,
- the protection of the Community's financial interests,
- the protection of confidentiality as requested by the natural or legal person who supplied any of the information contained in the document or as required by the legislation of the Member State which supplied any of that information.
The Secretary-General shall reply on behalf of the Council to applications for access to Council documents, except in the cases referred to in Article 7 (3), in which the reply shall come from the Council. The Committee of permanent representatives shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the preparation of the Council decisions on the subject may be confided to people authorised to gain knowledge of the documents in question.*
Any application for access to a Council document shall be examined by the relevant departments of the General Secretariat, which shall suggest what action is to be taken on it.
When such a document is classified CONFIDENTIAL or RESTRICTED the explanation is limited to the information that it is a document classified under one of the fields envisaged above and that the classification which it has been given by the competent authorities is always justified.
When access to a document is refused in application of article 2, paragraph 3, the applicant is informed of this.
This Decision shall apply with due regard for provisions governing the protection of classified information (and particularly of security regulations adopted by the Council decision n. .../2000 of ...........).
The public cannot be given access to any classified document. If the General Secretariat or the Council decides, in application of the present decision, to give a positive reply to a request for access to a classified document, the document in question cannot be made available to the applicant before it has been declassified by the competent authorities.
In 1996, and every two years after that, the Secretary-General will present a report on the implementation of the present decision.
This Decision shall take effect on the day of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities.
* EXPLANATORY NOTE
By virtue of this measure, COREPER will adopt regulations relating to the procedures which must be followed for the examination of confirmatory applications, in accordance with the following:
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