Twenty years of Regulation 1049/2001 on Public Access to EU Documents: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead

Webinar organised by the Academy of Finland project ‘Transparency in the EU – From Reaction to Manifesto’ (TrUE) at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights in cooperation with the Open Government in the EU Blog taking place on Friday 28 May 2021, 10:30-13:30 Helsinki time (9:30-12:30 CET). Welcome!

Birthdays with zeros in them are a suitable moment for reflection and soul-searching. On 30 May 2021, the European access to documents law, Regulation 1049/2001, completes its second decade. The first legislative instrument of its kind in the European Union, Regulation 1049/2001 has been the subject of much analysis, debate, and challenges from legislators, academics, and civil society alike, but remains unscathed until today.

Regulation 1049/2001: exploring past, present, and future

In this seminar, speakers and participants are invited to take a pause to consider twenty years of institutional and societal experience with Regulation 1049/2001 and its objective of creating public access to the documents held the EU institutions. We do so by looking back, taking stock of the present, and peering forward into the future.

The seminar is hosted by the Academy of Finland-funded TrUE project and Open Government in the EU blog, and is chaired by principal investigator Päivi Leino-Sandberg, who is Professor of Transnational European Law and Deputy Director, at the Erik Castrén Institute, University of Helsinki. Leino-Sandberg has followed the legal and institutional evolution of Regulation 1049/2001 from its inception, first as a legal counsel in the Finnish ministry of justice, and later as a legal scholar.

Following the example of a similar stock-taking conference at the University of Amsterdam one decade ago, the seminar joins practitioners, civil society representatives, and academics to enter into a discussion on the genesis, implementation, and future of access to documents in the EU. The speakers cover a wide range of experiences with Regulation 1049/01, including having negotiated it, advocating for its full implementation in letter and spirit, and studying its effectiveness and interaction with adjacent legal regimes such as environmental transparency, lobby regulation, and parliamentary oversight of international negotiations.

Was Regulation 1049/2001 conceived under unrepeatable circumstances? Has it fulfilled its function well and lived up to expectations? Where do we stand today? Are 12 years of failed revision a sign of its weakness, or rather of its strength? And finally, in an era of social media communication, constant data leaks, and disinformation, does the right of access need to be revised, complemented, or perhaps left untouched? These are some of the questions the seminar will address.


10:30 Word of welcome

10:40 Opening of the event

Anna-Maja Henriksson Finnish Minister of Justice

10:50 Panel 1: Perspectives from practice: policy makers and civil society taking stock

Helena Jäderblom President and Justice, Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden and chief negotiator during the negotiations on Regulation 1049/2001

Heidi Hautala Member (Greens) and Vice-President of the European Parliament

Maarten Hillebrandt Member of the Standing Committee of Experts on International, Immigration, Refugee and Criminal Law (‘Meijers Committee’) / Postdoctoral researcher, Eric Castrén Institute, University of Helsinki

Anne Friel Lawyer, ClientEarth

11:30 Floor open for questions & discussion

11:50 Ten-minute break

12:00 Panel 2: Analyses from academia: the way forward with law and politics

Sara Hagemann Associate professor / Vice Dean, School of Public Policy, London School of Economics

Christina Eckes Professor of European Law / Director, Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance, University of Amsterdam

Emilia Korkea-aho Associate Professor, University of Eastern Finland / Academy of Finland Research Fellow

Melanie Fink Assistant professor, University of Leiden

12:50 Floor open for questions & discussion

13:20 Concluding words: Towards the next Swedish Council Presidency

Morgan Johansson Swedish Minister of Justice

13:30 End of Event

The meeting was chaired by Professor Päivi Leino-Sandberg.