Reference : L’accès du public aux documents des institutions européennes: le développement d’un d...
Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Arts & humanities : History
L’accès du public aux documents des institutions européennes: le développement d’un droit et sa mise en application (1973-2004)
Bagias, Andreas [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE)]
University of Luxembourg, ​Luxembourg, ​​Luxembourg
Docteur en Histoire
Leboutte, René mailto
[en] Access to documents ; European institutions ; Transparency ; European citizens ; Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 ; European Governance ; Access to information ; Openness
[en] Access to official documents is a key outcome of the concept of transparency as applied to the institutions of the European Union. In the 1990s, transparency offered the promise of a cure to the “democratic deficit” from which these European institutions suffered.

Key factors that underpinned progress towards greater transparency and the right of access to documents are identified as: the influence of globalization and the gradual adoption of national legislations of the various member states, the “Citizens Europe” movement, the legal evolution concerning access to environmental information, the institutional evolution of the European decision-making process, the difficulties encountered during the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty and, the accession of Sweden and Finland in 1995 to the European Union.

These developments culminated with the insertion of article 255 to the Amsterdam Treaty and, under the 2001 presidency of Sweden, the adoption of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.

Official statistics reveal, however, that the right of access to documents, produced and received by the European institutions, is rarely applied by European citizens. This right, like a working knowledge of the functioning of the European Union, remains the preserve of a small circle of professionals, usually established in Brussels.

It seems that transparency and the right of access to documents does not bring the citizen closer to the European institutions and it does not solve the stated “democratic deficit”. Rather, this research finds that it has been used as an instrument in an institutional struggle to limit the power of the Council and the Commission.

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