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Access to documents

Providing access to documents is an essential part of the ECB's transparency policy. We aim to work as openly as possible with the people of Europe, while at the same time protecting the confidentiality of matters specific to how the ECB performs its tasks. Have a look at the ECB Filing and Retention Plan to see an overview of ECB documents and how long they are kept.

Access to ECB documents is governed by Decision ECB/2004/3 of 4 March 2004, as amended

In line with the ECB's commitment to openness and transparency, and to enable and facilitate research, we have created a Public Register of Documents.

Public Register of Documents

Historical documents more than 30 years old can be accessed by the public in accordance with EU Council Regulation No. 354/83 of 1 February 1983, as amended.

Access to released historical documents and information on the ECB Archives is available in the Archives section.


When direct access is not given through the Public Register or the ECB Archives, members of the public can apply for access to a document, in any written form, in one of the official languages of the European Union by sending a letter or email to:

European Central Bank
Compliance and Governance Office
Sonnemannstrasse 22
60314 Frankfurt am Main

Applications for access to documents are handled promptly. The ECB will acknowledge receipt of the request and, within 20 working days of registering it, will either grant access to the document or refuse to do so and explain the reasons for this decision.

If a request concerns a very large number of documents or is otherwise complex, the deadline for processing the application may be extended by an additional 20 working days.

In the event of total or partial refusal, the applicant may, within 20 working days of receiving the ECB’s reply, make a confirmatory application asking the ECB’s Executive Board to reconsider its position.

If access is refused by the Executive Board, the applicant may bring proceedings before the General Court under the conditions specified in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) or submit a complaint to European Ombudsman, under Articles 263 and 228 of the TFEU, respectively.

Annual figures on public access requests

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