Volume 48 (2011) / Issue 4
In the summer of 2010, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice handed down three significant rulings concerning the interpretation of some of the key principles of Regulation 1049/2001 on public access to documents held by the EU institutions- Case C-139/07 P, Commission v. Technische Glaswerke Ilmenau , C-28/08 P, Commission v. Bavarian Lager, Joined Cases C-514/07 P, 528/07 P & 532/07 P, Sweden v. API and Commission . The current analysis examines the state of openness in the EU after the three rulings, and places it in the context of the ongoing revision of the Regulation. In establishing that the Commission was right in arguing for "general presumptions" for secrecy, which exempt the institutions from examining the contents of documents individually in order to evaluate whether granting access to their contents cause harm to protected interests, and agreeing to a unduly wide interpretation of "privacy" the Court gave its blessing to a significant part of the Commission agenda to limit public access in the Union. The interpretation adopted by the Court gives serious reason for the legislature to amend the Regulation so as to guarantee that the Union is run as openly as possible.
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