European Scrutiny Committee Contents

Annex: the High Representative's response of 27 August 2012

"[Dear Gerald]

"Thank you for your letter of 3 July in which you set out the difficulties of meeting your parliamentary scrutiny obligations arising from Limité documents.

"Such documents remain Limité until a request is received to make them Public. This is done on a case-by-case basis. The originator may also decide to make them Public regardless of whether a request has been made or not. But this would need to take into account the views of all Member States.

"For the future I propose that, once a document of the European Defence Agency (EDA) has been agreed by the Council, the EDA should routinely and quickly establish whether or not it can be made Public and, if so, arrange with the originator for it to be downgraded without delay. The EDA will also arrange for the originator to include in its notification to the General Secretariat of the Council (GSC) a request that the UK Representation should be automatically informed once a document is published.

"Finally, you wanted to know why it took so long for documents to be made public. The GSC advises that, apart from legislative files, they only act upon request, be it a request by a citizen or by the originator of a document. Up until now, there has appeared to be no reason to make these documents public ex officio, not least because, from an EU perspective, there is nothing to prevent a national administration from giving Limité documents to its parliament as long as they are not published. For the future, however, and as I indicated above, the GSC will accommodate the UK's need with regard to public access to documents.



"Catherine Ashton"

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Prepared 2 January 2013