Practical guide – gaining access to European Commission documentation

If you are seeking access to documents held by the European Commission, the attached “Staff Guide on public access to Commission Documents” may prove helpful, in showing how Commission staff are expected to respond to requests from the public for access to information.

Requests must be in writing

Applications for access must be made in writing in one of the official EU languages, and may take the form of a letter, an email or a fax. Telephone requests are not accepted, and you will be asked to apply for access to the document(s) in writing.

Note that you are not obliged to state the reason for your access application (Article 6 of the Regulation; Article 2 of the internal rules).

(with thanks to Statewatch).

Choose your words carefully

It is vital that you word your request carefully, as some less scrupulous EC officials may try to circumvent the spirit of EU transparency by furnishing strictly what you have asked for, knowing that it is not the full answer to your question.

See this article from euObserver for further explanation.