Openness and transparency at the European Council and the Council of the European Union

The programme of the current Presidency of the Council states that ‘inclusion of citizens, dialogue with civil society organisations and transparency of the institutions of the European Union are crucial components in strengthening its democratic legitimacy.’ Since the decisions taken in Brussels affect all 445 million citizens of the EU, clear information on any proposed changes to legislation and policy must be made available to the public. The Council takes this responsibility very seriously. With this in mind, the General Secretariat of the Council has compiled a guide to the measures taken by the Council to ensure openness and transparency, providing key insights into the decision-making process in Brussels. This concise publication will acquaint you with the open communication policies of the Council, both in terms of its live engagement with citizens and its provision of access to its resources. On page 7 you will find a plan of the Europa Building, highlighting the iconic Room S3 where EU leaders meet during European Councils. The next page includes helpful links to a wide range of publications, from Council press releases and EU policy guides to public statements and speeches. You will find instructions on how to access the Council’s public register of documents on page 11, followed by advice on how to view live Council debates and recorded briefings through the webcast section on the Council’s website. Indeed, many of the Council’s public activities can be followed easily via the Council’s online platforms—where possible in all official EU languages. As you will discover, the Council Library and Archives are also useful sources of information, much of which has now been made available online. Since opportunities for live engagement with the Council are currently limited (with the reading rooms of the Library and Archives and the Council Visitors’ Centre remaining closed for the time being), these online databases are important reference points for researchers and anyone else who wishes to know more about Council matters. And of course, you can always get in touch with the Council’s public information service. Report p/o Virginie Gastine Menou RISQUES ET VOUS
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