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 Who are we?

What we do

The mission of the Historical Archives Service

Our service, created in 1983, conserves, manages and makes available for further use the Commission historical archives.

The legal basis of the Historical Archives Service (and of the archives services of the other EU institutions) is Council regulation 354/83 (amended by regulation 1700/2003) and regulation 496/2015.

30 people currently work at the Historical Archives Service. The archives can be consulted in a centrally-located reading room located near the main EU offices in Brussels.

The mission of the Historical Archives Services is twofold:

  • assisting the Commission services in the management of their archives
  • ensuring the opening to public access of the archives older than 30 years.

We are a vital link between the Commission and the outside world, as illustrated by the diversity of our users: staff from the Commission and other EU institutions, national civil services, universities, journalists, lawyers, etc. The Historicial Archives Service can be considered as the custodian of the documentary heritage of the European Commission and contributes to building the future of the European Union.

Our main duties

Internal duties:

  • managing transfers of archives from the Commission services
  • ensuring the proper storage and processing of these archives
  • assist Commission staff in retrieving information from the archives.

Archival processing:

  • selecting which files have historical, legal or administrative value and should thus be stored permanently
  • eliminating all those archives who do not have value anymore (while still keeping a record of their existence)
  • describing the selected archives, to support users' researches
  • ensuring the proper preservation of the archives and producing microfiches to facilitate consultation.
  • declassifying documents to allow their disclosure
  • transferring the original files to the European University Institute in Florence for long-term storage.

Services for the public

  • making available for consultation documents over 30 years old in a public reading room
  • producing search tools to help users

Research requests can be very different.: some are looking for a well-defined document while others want to consult several files for more extensive research.