Regulatory framework


Document management in the European Parliament

Document management is the logical and practical approach to the creation, maintenance, use and disposition of documents, and the information that those documents contain.

The Bureau decision of 2 July 2012 on rules on document management in the European Parliament established the framework for an effective and comprehensive document management policy for the Institution.

Document management policy

To ensure compliance with the obligation of transparency

The Rules of Procedure ensure the European Parliament’s activities are conducted with the utmost transparency (Rule 121) and provide for public access to documents (Rule 122)

The transparency regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council) defines the right of access to the European Parliament’s documents.

Rigorous, standardised document management will help to ensure compliance with the obligation of transparency, by furthering an effective policy of public access to Parliament’s documents, primarily through the electronic register of references (ERR) set up pursuant to the Bureau decision of 28 November 2001 laying down rules governing public access to European Parliament documents.

To demonstrate accountability

A comprehensive document management policy will also facilitate the exchange of information, help providing proof of operations carried out and demonstrating that the European Parliament meets its legal obligations.

In particular, the financial regulation (Regulation (EU, Euratom) n° 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council) requires that budgetary and financial decisions are properly documented, recorded and kept.

To preserve the European Parliament's memory

The archives regulation (Regulation (CEE, Euratom) n° 354/83 of the Council) defines when documents should be transferred to the Archives of the European Parliament to be kept and opened to the public.

Related legal documents

Public access to documents

Confidential documents

  • Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission of 20 October 2010
  • Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament and the Council concerning the forwarding to and handling by the European Parliament of classified information held by the Council on matters other than those in the area of the Common Foreign and Security Policy
  • Bureau decision of 15 April 2013 on the rules governing the treatment of confidential information by the European Parliament
  • Handling Instructions (HI) detailed application measures to facilitate the implementation of the Bureau Decision at the administrative level, adopted by the Secretary General on 10 February 2014 and 4 February 2016

Data protection

European Parliament Archives

Accessing the Archives

According to Article 1 of Regulation No 354/83 (EC, Euratom) of 1 February 1983, on the opening to the public of the historical archives, the institutions of the Community shall make its archives accessible to the public after thirty years from the date of production of the documents and exhibits. 

Nevertheless, access to the documents contained could nevertheless be restricted in accordance with Article 4 (b) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (particularly documents, which if disclosed the disclosure of which would undermine the privacy and integrity of the individual). According to Article 4 (7) of that Regulation, this restriction may apply during the period in which protection is justified and, if necessary, beyond the normal period of opening to the public laid down by Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 354/83 on the opening to the public of the historical archives. 

In the case of personal data, the conditions of Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No 2018/1725 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data must be applied in order to analyse what kind of harm could cause communication to the data subject of the data and to ensure proportionality when using the data for historical research or statistical purposes. 

Similarly, the Archive ensures the principle of transparency and accessibility of all documents drawn up or received by the European Parliament in the context of the legislative procedure.