Amendment to the 1993 Decision on public access to Council documents and to the decision, in December 1999 to include references to classified documents on the public register


This amendments to the 1993 Decision on public access to Council documents was agreed at the meeting of COREPER on 26 July and adopted by "written procedure" on 14 August 2000. It not only changes the 1993 Decision but also overturns the Council Decision in December 1999 to include references to classified documents on the public register of documents. Below there is:

i) the full-text of the Decision is given below and

ii) the 1993 Decision as amended by this latter Decision

TEXT

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

31 July 2000

10702/00

LIMITE

INF 93 JUR 268

LEGISLATIVE ACTS AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS

Subject: Council Decision amending Decision 93/731/EC on public access to Council documents and Decision 2000/23/EC on the improvement of information on the Council's legislative activities and the public register of Council documents

COUNCIL DECISION

of ……………..

amending Decision 93/731/EC on public access to Council documents and Council Decision 2000/23/EC on the improvement of information on the Council's legislative activities and the public register of Council documents

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Union, and in particular Article 207 thereof,

Having regard to its Rules of Procedure, and in particular Article 10 thereof,

Whereas:

(1) The European Council, meeting in Helsinki in December 1999, provided political impetus for the development of the European Union's means for military and non-military crisis management within the framework of a strengthened European security and defence policy.

(2) In this context, the Council must introduce rules guaranteeing effective protection of documents concerning these matters disclosure of which could harm the essential interests of the Union or of one or more of its Member States. For this reason, under the Decision of the Secretary-General of the Council/High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of 27 July 2000 on measures for the protection of classified information applicable to the General Secretariat of the Council, such documents must be classified as TRES SECRET/TOP SECRET or SECRET or CONFIDENTIEL.

(3) The seriousness of the consequences of disclosure of such documents, in particular with regard to the prospective development of the new strengthened European security and defence policy, and the necessary confidence which those involved must be able to have at a crucial moment in the development of this policy, justify the exclusion of such documents from the scope of the rules on public access to Council documents until such time as they are declassified, or declassified in accordance with the rules referred to in recital (2) concerning classification of documents.

(4) The exchange of information in the particularly sensitive areas referred to in recital (1), which is one of the features of the development of this new policy, will work only if the originator of such information can be confident that no information put out by him will be disclosed against his will. It is therefore necessary to provide that a Council document from which conclusions may be drawn regarding the content of classified information put out by a natural or legal person, a Member State, another Community institution or body or any other national or international body may be made available to the public only with the prior written consent of the author of the information in question.

(5) With the same objective of reinforcing protection of the confidentiality of information when scrutinising documents to which access has been requested, it should be provided that measures are taken to ensure compliance with the principle that access to classified documents must be reserved for those persons who are authorised to take cognisance thereof.

(6) Since the security and defence of the Union or of one or more of its Member States or military and non-military crisis management repre

 

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