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 Frequently asked questions
1. Are there limits to what I can consult in the archives?

30-year rule
In line with similar practices in the EU's archives, Commission documents transferred to the Historical Archives must be made public 30 years after they were produced: this is the so-called "30-years rule" (see Regulation 354/83 - European Commission archives).
Exceptions
Some documents transferred to the Historical Archives are not accessible.
Classified documents (restricted, confidential, secret, top secret) can only be made public once they have been declassified.
Documents containing sensitive information (personal data, business information, etc.) cannot be consulted while exempted from the requirement to be made public (articles 2 and 3 of EU regulation 1700/2003).

2. Can I have access to documents less than 30 years old?
Access to documents less than 30 years old is possible under certain conditions (see Regulation 1049/2001). To do so, you must e-mail a formal request to the Commission secretariat-general.
>> More details - European Commission document access

3. Why should I contact you in advance?
For logistical and organisational reasons, we strongly recommend you to contact us before visiting the archives. This will also help you to ensure the availability of relevant files for your research. To make the most of your visit, please take the following constraints into account:
If you already know the references of the files that interest you, please send them to us at least 2 working days ahead of your visit, so we can make sure those files are available for you on-site (not all documents are kept on-site and our deposit is located outside Brussels).
If not - or if it's your first visit, tell us what you're looking for, so we can help you further.
You will receive a response from us within 15 working days.
Due to reinforced security measures, you are also kindly requested to return by e-mail, at least 2 working days ahead of your visit an Excel completed form. Please indicate the corresponding ISO code in the 'Nationality' column.

4. Which material can I find in your archives?
All archived Commission documents open to public access, in either microform (the original documents have already been transferred to the EU's historical archives in Florence) or paper form (if originals are not yet transferred to Florence).

5. Which material can I find in the EU's historical archives in Florence?
- Original documents open to public access from the European Commission and Parliament, EU Council and other institutions
- Archived documents from private fonds and other organisations are also available in the Historical Archives of the EU in Florence.

The EU Historical Archives in Florence is run by the European University Institute on behalf of the EU institutions. Under their contract, once a year the EU institutions send the Institute the originals of their public documents for permanent storage (and continued public access).

6. Do the Commission archives contain documents from other institutions or outside bodies?
Yes - given the nature of the Commission's activities, its files often contain such documents.

7. Where can I find the EU Bulletin and General Report?
Bulletin of the European Union is available on EU Bookshop website and General Report on the Activities of the European Union on Europa.
You can find earlier editions, in our reading room or in the European Commission central library.

8. Can I use copies of archived documents?
In general, you are free to use all Commission documents open to public access, provided you mention the source - though special conditions may apply to some documents (press reviews, photos, etc.).
For more details, see the Rules of conduct in the reading room.

9. Do you also have audiovisual material?
The Historical Archives Service mainly preserves Commission paper archives. The management of audiovisual material falls within the reponsibility of DG Communication, which can provide both current footage and archive images.

10. Are there any special requirements for access to the reading room?
To access our building, you need to:
- send by e-mail, at least 2 working days ahead of your visit an Excel completed form. Please indicate the corresponding ISO code in the 'Nationality' column. You will receive in return an "e-pass" document;
- show that "e-pass" document at the reception of the building, along with your ID.