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European Archives Group

Cooperation between archives in the EU is not new. Since the early 1990s, cooperation has gradually widened and deepened, based on shared interests and ambitions and the recognition that it should and can be mutually beneficial. The Council recommendation on priority actions to increase cooperation in the field of archives in Europe ( 2005/835/EC ) [41KB], adopted on 14 November 2005 marked a new phase in cooperation. It calls for the creation of a European Archives Group (EAG) to ensure cooperation between archives and to follow-up on five priority measures.

The EAG, established at the beginning of 2006, comprises experts from all 27 EU Member States as well as from the institutions of the Union. Since its inaugural meeting in April 2006, the EAG has met once every semester to discuss the progress achieved in the implementation of the Council Recommendation and to provide guidance and general orientations for the work undertaken on the five priority actions, i.e.:

  1. Preservation of and prevention of damage to archives in Europe
  2. Reinforcement of European interdisciplinary cooperation on electronic documents and archives
  3. Creation and maintenance of an internet portal to the archival heritage of the Union
  4. Promotion of best practice with regard to national and European law with regard to archives
  5. Measures to prevent theft and facilitate the recovery of stolen documents.

In 2008 the EAG adopted a Progress Report on the implementation of the Recommendation which the Commission presented to the Council in the autumn of that year ( COM(2008)500 & SEC(2008)2364 ). In this report, the EAG reports not only on the progress achieved but also proposes that Archives Services reflect on their role in a rapidly evolving environment and examine how they can better serve society in general and public administration in particular. The group therefore identifies five challenges for archives in the future, i.e.: archives and the European Directive for re-use of public sector information; the relationship between on-site and on-line access to archives, consequences for administration and society and the changing role of archives in digital record keeping; creation of a European expertise network and finally a plan for a centre of excellence for European archivists.