28 March 2012
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The European Commission has published its new security rules, including a new classification of documents code, before making available its rules of procedure for the public's right of access to documents. The new security rules meet the "NATO" standards: text (pdf)
Under the new Regulation on access to EU documents which came into operation on 3 December each of the EU institutions had to amend its rules of procedure to show how it was going to implement the new Regulation. The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament had done this by the deadline, see: Secret Europe
The overall intent of the Commission's new rules are defined as:
"The term "EU classified information" (EUCI) means any information and material, an unauthorised disclosure of which could cause varying degrees of prejudice to EU interests, or to one or more of its Member States"
And its includes in Clause 22.5. the "Destruction of EU classified documents" to
"To prevent the unnecessary accumulation of EU classified documents"
classified as EU TOP SECRET, EU SECRET, EU CONFIDENTIAL and EU RESTRICTED documents. This contravenes the EU Directive on historical archives.
and it contains classic rules like:
"Disposal of EU classified waste: All waste shall be treated as EU classified, and waste-paper baskets or bags should be give to the Commission delegations for its disposal"
as well as:
"EU classified information may be compromised as a result of carelessness, negligence or indiscretion as well as by the activities of services which target the EU or its Member States, as regards EU classified information and activities, or by subversive organisations."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor comments:
"It is shows that the European Commission has a contempt for democracy when it publishes its rules for security to meet NATO standards, including the classification of documents which will not be made public, before it puts out is rules on the public's right of access to its documents - which is was obliged to do by 3 December."
Joint statement by Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Walter Schwimmer, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and Ambassador Gérard Stoudmann, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
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