The Department for European Policies (DPE) is the national contact point for the application of Regulation (EC) 1049/2001 on public access to documents of the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission. The procedure established for accessing documents is the following:
- The applicant files a request for access to documents to the competent EU institution;
- The EU institution asks for the Department’s advice on the request;
- The Department collects elements from the relevant administrations and provides the requesting institution with a reply;
- The applicant receives the reply from the EU institution to which the request was made.
Access to the documents is normally granted, exception made for cases provided for by article 4 of the Regulation:
1. The institutions shall refuse access to a document where disclosure would undermine the protection of:
a) the public interest as regards:
- public security,
- defense and military matters,
- international relations,
- the financial, monetary or economic policy of the Community or of a Member State;
b) privacy and the integrity of the individual, in particular in accordance with Community legislation regarding the protection of personal data.
2. The institutions shall refuse access to a document where disclosure would undermine the protection of:
- commercial interests of a natural or legal person, including intellectual property,
- court proceedings and legal advice,
- the purpose of inspections, investigations and audits, unless there is a public interest overriding the disclosure".