Constructing the secret EU state: “Restricted” and “Limite” documents hidden from view by the Council
– Over 117,000 “RESTRICTED” documents produced or handled by the Council since 2001 but only 13,184 are listed in its public register of documents
– 103,839 “RESTRICTED” documents not listed in the Council’s public register due to the “originators” right of veto?
– The Council seeks to stop the publication of unreleased “LIMITE” documents, which are defined as “sensitive unclassified documents”
– The Commission has failed to implement the Lisbon Treaty to ensure that all legislative documents are made public as they are produced – this means that 60% of Council documents relating to legislative decision-making are made public after “the final adoption” of measures
– The Council uses Article 4.3, the “space to think”, to refuse access to 50% of requests for access to legislative documents under discussion
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
“The Council have constructed a two-tier system of secrecy to keep from public view thousands and thousands of documents. This has been compounded by the failure of the European Commission to put forward proposals to implement the provision in the Lisbon Treaty to make all documents concerning the legislative procedure public.
In place of the need to deepen democratic openness and accountability in EU the Council has entrenched a system of secrecy based on its discretion to decide whether and when to make documents public.
The result is that the European legislature – the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament – meet in secret trilogues to decide over 80% of new laws going through the EU.”