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Access to EU Documents: An End at Last to the Authorship Rule?

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image of Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law

The key legal text governing public access to EU documents is Regulation 1049/2001. In contrast to the previous legal regime, the Regulation dismisses the so called authorship rule, which aligns it with recent developments in the field of the law of transparency and, notably, of international environmental law (Aarhus Convention). The European institutions are hence tasked with making all documents accessible to the public, which include both those originating with them and those from third parties. Yet unlike the Aarhus Convention, the Regulation has a blind spot, which leads to the important question of whether a Member State can simply order the institutions to withhold any of its documents whenever it chooses to do so. For the first time, the European Court of Justice is being asked to hand down a judgment on this question. The author suggests that the Court may wish to consider an interpretation of Regulation 1049/2001 that adjusts it further to the international standard as set by the Aarhus Convention.

Affiliations: 1: Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security of the European Commission


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