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Access to EU documents: what next?

Video 10:30 - 13:00

Host: European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly

Locatie: Brussel, België

Polak Room, Résidence Palace, Rue de la Loi 155, Brussels

The EU institutions are obliged to keep records of documents relevant to their work and any EU citizen can request to view them. This right is enshrined in EU law but Regulation 1049/2001 is now 20 years old. New technologies, as well as changing expectations about the transparency of public administrations, mean it is time to discuss the future of the EU’s access to documents rules.

Transparency and access to documents inquiries account for around one quarter of the Ombudsman’s inquiries each year. There is a fixed timetable in the procedure for requesting documents, but are there too many delays in the system? While institutions have the right to refuse access to documents for certain specific reasons, are these exemptions applied too readily?

The conference was divided into two parts: an expert panel looking into the experiences people have when they request documents and a high-level panel considering the future of access to document rules.

 See the report, summarising the debate.

In order to prepare the conference, the Ombudsman carried out an ad hoc survey of some stakeholders on their experience requesting access to EU documents (see report on results).


Join the debate


09.30 - 10.30

Welcome coffee

10.30 - 11.45

High-level panel

  • Emily O’Reilly, European Ombudsman
  • Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, European Commission
  • Heidi Hautala, Vice-President, European Parliament
  • Reijo Kemppinen, Director-General for Communication and Information, Council of the European Union

11.45 - 13.00

Expert panel

  • Rosita Hickey, Director of Inquiries, European Ombudsman
  • Tanya Verrier, Director of Transparency, Efficiency and Resources, Secretariat-General, European Commission
  • Päivi Leino, Professor of Transnational European Law, University of Helsinki
  • Peter Teffer, Investigative journalist, Follow the Money
  • Helen Darbishire, Executive Director, Access Info Europe

Panels moderated by James Kanter, Editor, EU Scream Podcast

The conference will be webstreamed.

At the end of the event, a sandwich lunch will be provided.


Emily O'Reilly
European Ombudsman

Věra Jourová
Vicevoorzitter voor Waarden en Transparantie, Europese Commissie

Heidi Hautala
Vicevoorzitter van het Europees Parlement

Reijo Kemppinen
Directeur-generaal Communicatie en Voorlichting, Raad van de Europese Unie

Rosita Hickey
Directeur Onderzoeken, Europese Ombudsman

Tanya Verrier
Directeur Transparantie, Efficiëntie en Middelen, secretariaat-generaal, Europese Commissie

Päivi Leino
Hoogleraar Transnationaal Europees recht, Universiteit van Helsinki

Peter Teffer
Onderzoeksjournalist, Follow the Money

Helen Darbishire
Uitvoerend directeur Access Info Europe

James Kanter
Redacteur EU Scream Podcast

Meer informatie

Honor Mahony
Acting Head of Communication
Contact: Honor Mahony
Tel.: +32 2 283 47 33
Twitter: @EUombudsman