News Leonor Rossi at the ERA Forum Journal of the Academy of European Law 30/06/2023

Leonor Rossi, Visiting Associate Professor at Nova SBE and Consultant at @GPA Advogados, writes the article «Easy does it: pressing the right buttons in public access to documents of the EU» for ERA Forum Journal of the Academy of European Law (ERA Forum 23,  529–542 (2023).

In this article, Leonor Rossi draws a reflection on the content of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, more than 20 years over its legal existence, in the scenario where the legislative framework stalled and an incessant – and on occasion disruptive – amount of case-law continues to develop. On the one hand, there is ample consensus that Regulation 1049/2001 has served but exhausted its purpose and urgently needs to be replaced but on the other hand, it is difficult to ascertain what specific mechanisms in the mentioned Regulation need replacing and how to go about this in a way that is both appropriate and efficient.

Leonor Rossi states two claims regarding what she finds relevant in 2022 to design the future of Regulation 1049/2001. The first is that an about-turn in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has partly altered the formal scope of the EU policy concerning public access to documents (PAD) from document to information (PAI). This change in scope affects documents included in digital databases or other documents held in digital form but not the acquis regarding printed-on-paper documents. Second, we observe an uncomfortable stasis currently affecting both the EU judiciary and the Ombudsman.

This study concludes that the recasting of Regulation 1049/2001 can no longer be postponed, pointing out that there are several issues that need to be addressed, notably:

  • further clarification is needed from the courts on the meaning of the expressions “normal or routine searches” and “programmes easily available on the market”;
  • the width and depth of the EU courts’ competence should be revised; and
  • the extension or not of the Ombudsman’s role in access policy needs to be discussed.

You may find the article here:

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