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Transparency and access to documents

General Secretariat

Following transparency rules, EU institutions work as openly and as closely as possible to citizens. Ministers at the Council legislate in public and citizens have a right to request access to Council documents.

Open sessions

You can watch the Council's public sessions live in all EU languages via our webcast. Recorded sessions are also available for browsing.

EU ministers meet in public when they discuss or vote on draft legislative acts.

The Council also meets in public when its ministers debate important issues affecting the EU and its citizens or when they discuss the Council's work programme, the priorities of its Presidency and the Commission's work programmes and policy strategy. 

Minutes, agendas and calendar of the Council meetings

When a Council's meeting is public, so are its minutes and therein you can find votes on draft laws, as well as explanations of vote and statements made by member states. In the minutes you can also find information about documents under discussion and the main conclusions reached by the Council.

Voting results  are also public and you can see how individual EU countries voted.

This information is also published in a monthly summary of Council acts. 

The Council meets in Brussels and Luxembourg (in April, June and October). The meeting agendas of the Council and of most its preparatory bodies are public. 

Public register of Council documents

You can access Council documents via the public register. It has the contents of or references to official Council documents from 1999 onwards. 

Access to documents

Regulation 1049/2001 provides the rules for access to documents. Specific rules for the Council are established in annex II to its rules of procedure. These rules also apply to European Council documents.

In line with regulation 1049/2001, the Council publishes an annual report on the application of this regulation.