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Evolution of the EU law with respect to public access to documents and transparency: the Treaty of Lisbon

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Public access to administrative documents is a very important issue in order to guarantee transparency in the institutions and, consequently, democracy. In the EU law there has been an evolution with respect to public access to documents. Before the Maastricht Treaty, secrecy was the norm in the EU institutions. The Council and the Commission adopted in December 1993, a common Code of Conduct on public access. The Treaty of Amsterdam brought improvements in respect of transparency, including a specific provision on public access: article 255 EC, which provides that the European Parliament and Council shall lay down rules on public access. A further step was Regulation 1049/2001 and some ECJ judgments. The Treaty of Lisbon also stressed the importance of transparency in good governance.

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