The Council's archives collect and process the documents produced or received by the Council of the European Union in the exercise of its functions. Archives relating to files closed more than 30 years ago are accessible to the public.
Documents are generally available in the official EU languages in use at the time of drafting.
The Council's archive collection is divided according to the different stages of the EU's legal basis:
- the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), as defined by the Treaty of Paris (1952) (collection CM1)
- the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC), as defined by the Treaties of Rome (1957) (collection CM2)
- the European Union, from the Treaty of Maastricht to the Treaty of Lisbon (collection CM4)
- the European Union as defined by the Treaty of Lisbon (collection CM8)
The collection also covers files relating to intergovernmental negotiations, such as:
- treaty negotiations, such as the Treaties of Rome (collection CM3)
- EU enlargement negotiations (collection CM5)
- negotiations in the framework of the Yaoundé Convention, the Lomé Convention and the Cotonou Agreement (collection CM6)
- negotiations relating to the European Economic Area and Association Councils between the EU and non-EU countries (collection CM7)
The Council's archive collection consists largely of Council meeting minutes and files for European Council meetings, Coreper and other committee meetings. It also contains budgetary files and files relating to the preparation of directives, regulations and decisions in a wide range of policy areas.
Files and documents older than 30 years can be accessed by the public. The original documents are sent to the EU's historical archives, which are stored at the European University Institute in Florence. Microfiches and/or electronic copies of the documents can be consulted at the Council's archives in Brussels.
Some exceptions apply, for example in the case of classified documents or in order to protect:
- the privacy and integrity of individuals
- commercial interests, including intellectual property
Files and documents less than 30 years old can be found through the public register or by submitting a request for a document.
How to contact the Archives
The "blue guide" gives details on contact, access, location, availability and structure of the archives of member states' foreign ministries and the EU institutions.
For an appointment, help with research or questions on available collections, please contact the Council's archives:
- Central Archives of the Council of the European Union
Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 175
- Tel.: +32 22819400
- Send an email
A reading room is open for visitors from 9.00-16.30, Monday to Friday. Please note that there is no delivery of new files between 12.00 and 14.00.
Please contact the Council's archives to make an appointment prior to your visit.
The reading room is located in Brussels in the Council's Justus Lipsius building and is accessible via the"Belliard" entrance.