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EIB Historical Archives Policy

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EIB Historical Archives Policy

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As part of EIB Group’s Transparency Policy, as well as relevant European Union (EU) legislation and regulations, the EIB gives public access to its historical records to encourage research and understanding of its role within the EU and promote openness and accountability.

EIB’s historical archives, which keep record of its long history, can be freely consulted at the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU), located in Florence, Italy, within a research centre dedicated to the archival preservation and study of European integration, or online.

To this end, an updated EIB Historical Archives Policy was approved by the Management Committee in February 2018 to define:

  • the type of records to be included in the HAEU
  • the circumstances under which records will be declassified and deposited at the HAEU
  • how to access the HAEU

The EIB Historical Archives Policy 2018 replaces the previous Policy approved in April 2005.

Questions & answers

What type of records will I find in the EIB Historical Archives?

The EIB archives include governance documents illustrating the preparatory phase of its creation, minutes of the Board of Directors, agreements with other financial  organisations and EU Member States, strategies and policies, thematic publications, studies and press articles, as well as files related to the management of its buildings and premises. Download the HAEU leaflet for more details.

What does declassification mean?

"Declassification" is the process according to which records, previously classified according to the EIB’s Information Classification Policy, cease to be subject to that classification system. Once declassified, records may be made available for public access. All documents made available to the public through access or declassification requests, including those less than 30 years old, shall remain accessible to the public. The declassification process is on a case-by-case basis.

Can I access the Historical Archives at EIB headquarters?

No, EIB Historical Archives are located at the premises of the Historical Archives of EU in Florence (HAEU), Italy.

What are the "EIB Historical Archives" criteria?

Records which describe the mission, governance, organization, objectives and results of the EIB will be designated as ‘Historical Archives’ if they have been identified for permanent retention in Directorate Retention Schedules and satisfy one or more of the criteria below:

  • if the record is the unique source of information available;
  • if the record provides evidence of the EIB history, structure and/or organisation;
  • if the record provides significant context and background of the efforts and influence of the EIB in implementing its mission and meeting its goals as a financial institution, EU body and public bank.

Access to documents with less than 30 years old can be requested in accordance with the EIB Transparency Policy.

Does the EIB have obligations or freedom to send to other (European or national) institutions than the Historical Archives of the European Union for their archives?

Following the amendment of Regulation No 354/83 EU institutions, EIB is now required to deposit their historical archives at the HAEU. Exempt from this obligation are the European Court of Justice and the European Central Bank, which may transfer files on a voluntary basis. The EIB deposit its Historical Archives at the Historical Archives of EU, Florence, Italy under the Framework Partnership Agreement signed between the European Union and the European University Institute.

What is the most common reason of any delay in sending the EIB archives to the HAEU?

The 30-year rule is in line with EU law and best practices followed across the EU. The EIB archives are made accessible to the public following a progressive case-by-case basis in compliance with relevant EU Regulations and EIB Policies. Documents covered by exceptions - related to the protection of personal data or commercial interests of a natural or legal person, including intellectual property, as defined in the EIB Transparency Policy - may continue to apply to all or part of a document after the 30-year period, if the relevant conditions for their application are satisfied.

Which are the policies and regulations governing the EIB Historical Archives?

EU Treaties
Article 15(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (2007) grants the right of access to documents held by the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. By virtue of the same article, this access is applicable to the EIB when exercising its administrative tasks.

Are EIB records accessible in other archive services?

EIB records may also be accessed through other archive services (e.g. in National Archives of EU member States, EU Institutions or other third-party archive services).

Which are the EU Regulations applied for EIB’s Historical Archives?

  • Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data;
  • Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1700/2003 of 22 September 2003 amending Regulation (EEC, Euratom) No 354/83 concerning the opening to the public of the historical archives of the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community which requires Institutions to make records over 30 years old available for public access. Documents containing sensitive information, for instance, personal data, business/commercial information, etc., are not subject to disclosure since they are covered by the derogations set out in Articles 2 and 3 of the regulation;
  • Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies;
  • Council Regulation (EU) 2015/496 of 17 March 2015 amending Regulation (EEC, Euratom) No 354/83 as regards the deposit of the historical archives of the institutions at the European University Institute in Florence.


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