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Access to EU documents: what next?

Video 10:30 - 13:00

Värd: European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly

Plats: Bryssel, Belgien

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
Vice ordförande med ansvar för värden och öppenhet, Europeiska kommissionen

Heidi Hautala
Europaparlamentets vice talman

Reijo Kemppinen
Generaldirektör för kommunikation och information, Europeiska unionens råd

Rosita Hickey
Direktör för undersökningar, Europeiska ombudsmannen

Tanya Verrier
Direktör för öppenhet, effektivitet och resurser, generalsekretariatet, Europeiska kommissionen

Päivi Leino
Professor i transnationell Europarätt, Helsingfors universitet

Peter Teffer
Undersökande journalist, Follow the Money

Helen Darbishire
Verkställande direktör, Access Info Europe

James Kanter
Redaktör, poddsändningen EU Scream

För mer information

Honor Mahony
Acting Head of Communication
Kontakta: Honor Mahony
Tfn: +32 2 283 47 33
Twitter: @EUombudsman