The Historical Archives of the European Union are opened to the public 30 years after their creation (see legal basis). Each European Union Institution has its own archives service. At the Commission the opening of the historical archives is ensured by it's own Historical Archives Service.
The various European Union bodies cooperate wherever possible with the aim of harmonising the treatment of their archives. To this end the Inter-institutional Working Group on Archives meets twice per year.
Once they have been opened to the public, the European Union historical archives are deposited at the European University Institute in Florence, where they are made available for consultation.
Most of the European Union Institutions also have provisions that allow the public to request access to documents that are less than 30 years old and have not yet been opened to the public.
In 2009, the Secretariat-General and the Historical Archives Service of the European Commission have jointly prepared an activity report [64 KB] which covers the entire lifecycle of records and archives management at the Commission.