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The Council of the European Union has carried out a survey of Member States asking three questions. The first, and key, question concerns the definition of a "document" (Member States operate a different system based on the provision of "information") and the so-called "space to think" (in order to keep documents secret in the decision-making process): Recast of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents - Discussion paper (pdf).

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

"If anyone thought that EU Member States would provide examples of how to improve the Regulation of access to EU documents (1049/2001) this survey shows how wrong they are. For example, they operate systems based on the provision of "information" not that of access to documents - which has been in place in the EU for nearly 30 years. And they use very restrictive notions of the "space to think" including denying access where it would "give rise to misunderstandings"."

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