The Council today approved its annual report on the implementation of Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents.
The report shows that nearly 400 000 documents were listed in the public register on 31 December 2018. Of these documents, more than 70% are public and available for download.
Last year, more than 25 000 original-language documents were added to the register, of which 71% - or 18 053 documents - are now public. The Council's public register was consulted approximately 477 500 times.
Anyone can request access to documents listed in the public register which are not yet public. Access can only be refused on the basis of one of the exceptions provided for in Regulation 1049/2001. These include among others the need to protect the institution's decision-making process and the public interest as regards defence and military matters and international relations. If access is refused at the initial stage, a confirmatory application may be submitted.
In 2018, the Council received 2 474 initial requests for access to documents and 29 confirmatory applications, requiring the analysis of 7 930 documents. At the initial stage, full access was granted to 5 728 documents (72.2%) and partial access to 413 documents (5.2%). Regarding confirmatory applications, full access was granted to 41 documents (64%) and partial access to 9 documents (14%).
Half of the requested documents were related to one of the following policy areas: justice and home affairs, environment, external relations and economic and monetary policy.
Around 29% of the requests came from the academic world and 27% came from representatives of various civil society and private sector organisations.