Federal Act on Information in EU Matters (EU Information Act)

Promulgation: Federal Law Gazette No. 113/2011

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§ 1.

(1) In implementation of Art. 23f (3) of the Federal Constitutional Law, the present Federal Act establishes further information duties to optimize the flow of information between the respective competent Federal Ministers and the National and Federal Councils.

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(2) To inform the National Council, the Federal Council, the general public, as well as the Land diets and the social partners on projects within the framework of the European Union, the Parliamentary Administration shall, in accordance with

1. § 10,

2. the Rules of Procedure Act 1975 as well as

3. the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Council, maintain a database providing access to the documents transmitted by the respective competent Federal Minister under Art. 23e to 23j of the Federal Constitutional Law and under §§ 2 and 3 as well as by institutions of the European Union.

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(3) The competent Federal Minister shall ensure that, whenever information on projects within the framework of the European Union is not provided pursuant to the present Federal Act, such information shall be given under the provisions of the Federal Constitutional Law or other federal rules.

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§ 2. European Documents

(1) The Federal Minister for European and International Affairs shall make accessible to the National and Federal Councils the database established by the Council for transmission of non-classified documents.

(2) The Federal Minister for European and International Affairs shall make accessible to the National and Federal Councils the database established by the Council for transmission of EU classified information at the level “Restreint UE/EU Restricted”.

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(3) In addition, the Federal Minister for European and International Affairs shall without delay transmit to the National and Federal Councils the documents available under paras 1 and 2 above for the purpose of their entry into the database maintained under § 1 para 2.

(4) Documents of the European Union available to the National and Federal Councils under paras 1 to 3 above shall be deemed to have been communicated by the competent Federal Minister. Other documents shall be communicated by the competent Federal Minister in accordance with § 1 para 3.

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§ 3. Documents Prepared by Austrian Organs

The competent Federal Minister shall without delay transmit to the National and Federal Councils documents which serve the purpose of exercising the National and Federal Councils’ rights of participation. Such documents comprise:

1. advance information under § 5,

2. written information under § 6,

3. the annual preview under § 7,

4. information under § 8,

5. information under Art. 23e para 2 Federal Constitutional Law,

6. statements under Art. 23g para 2 Federal Constitutional Law,

7. recommendations under Art. 23i para 1 Federal Constitutional Law,

8. information under Art. 23i para 3 last sentence Federal Constitutional Law,

9. reports on European Council or Council meetings and

10. reports on meetings of preparatory bodies of the Council or European Council in which a representative of Austria has participated.

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§ 4. Formal Data

(1) Along with the respective document under § 2 paras 1 to 3, at least the following data shall also be provided:

1. name of document,

2. subject code,

3. title,

4. author,

5. addressee,

6. sender,

7. language,

8. date of document,

9. status of document,

10. type of document,

11. classification.

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(2) Along with the respective document under § 2 para 4 and § 3 subparas 9 and 10, at least the following data shall be provided if pursuant to § 9 the document is to be transmitted electronically:

1. sending institution,

2. document number of the document to which the transmitted document refers, e.g. the agenda of a meeting or an item thereof.

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(3) In addition, the competent Federal Minister may provide the following information:

1. competent organ under national law,

2. statement of the reason(s) why the document is not suitable for publication under the provisions of the Rules of Procedure Law of 1975 and of the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Council concerning the handling and distribution of drafts, proposals, documents, reports, items of information and communications on projects within the framework of the European Union,

3. information security requirements under the provisions of the Rules of Procedure Law of 1975 and of the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Council concerning the handling and distribution of drafts, proposals, documents, reports, items of information and communications on projects within the framework of the European Union, and

4. stage of proceedings.

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§ 5. Advance Information  

The Federal Minister for European and International Affairs shall inform the National and Federal Councils each half-year about the projects of the European Union, as announced by the respective competent Federal Minister, on which the Council is expected to embark on deliberations within the following six months, if these projects

1. result in a modification of the contractual bases of the European Union or

2. are subject to a special right of participation of the National and Federal Councils under Art. 23i and Art. 23j Federal Constitutional Law or

3. are subject to a special information duty under Art. 23e para 2 Federal Constitutional Law or

4. are decisions to extend the competences under Art. 82 para 2 lit. d TFEU, Art. 83 para 1 subpara 3 TFEU and Art. 86 para 4 TFEU or

5. are aimed at establishing enhanced cooperation under Art. 20 TEU or

6. concern negotiating mandates for the Commission with regard to international treaties or

7. negotiating guidelines for the Commission within the framework of the common commercial policy or

8. are of special importance for the Republic of Austria.

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§ 6. Written Information

(1) The competent Federal Minister shall provide the National and Federal Councils with written information if so requested under the provisions of the Rules of Procedure Act 1975 or the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Council. There shall be no obligation to provide written information on a draft agenda of meetings of the European Council or Council.

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(2) Upon timely request by the President of the National or Federal Council, information under para 1 shall be transmitted within fourteen days, but not later than two days prior to the projected deliberation.

(3) Written information shall contain the following details:

1. name of document,

2. content of the project,

3. information on rights of participation of the National and Federal Councils,

4. impacts on the Republic of Austria, including, if applicable, a need for national implementation,

5. position of the competent Federal Minister, including a brief statement of the reason(s) on which it is based,

6. for legislative projects: information on proportionality and subsidiarity,

7. stage and schedule of proceedings.

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(4) In addition, written information may contain a statement of the reason(s) why a given document is not suitable for publication, as well as details on information security requirements under the provisions of the Rules of Procedure Law of 1975 and of the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Council concerning the handling and distribution of drafts, proposals, documents, reports, items of information and communications on projects within the framework of the European Union.

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§ 7. Annual Preview

If important reasons prevent transmission of the report under Art. 23f para 2 Federal Constitutional Law by January 31, the competent Federal Minister shall without delay so inform the National and Federal Councils, indicating the probable date of transmission.

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§ 8. Information concerning Actions for Infringement of the Principle of Subsidiarity

If the National or Federal Council decides to bring before the Court of Justice of the European Union an action against a legislative act within the framework of the European Union under Art. 23h para 1 Federal Constitutional Law for infringement of the principle of subsidiarity, the Federal Chancellery shall regularly inform the National and Federal Councils on the progress of the proceedings by transmitting files, reports on hearings as well as pursuant to the provisions of the Rules of Procedure Act 1975 or the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Council.

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§ 9. Transmission and Handling

(1) Documents to be communicated under §§ 2 to 8 shall be transmitted in electronic form unless they are classified “Confidentiel UE/EU Confidential” or higher, or refer to such documents.

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(2) EU classified information shall be handled in accordance with the information security rules of the Rules of Procedure Act 1975 and the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Council.

(3) Documents prepared by Austrian organs under § 3 and referring to EU classified information shall be handled in accordance with the information security rules of the Rules of Procedure Act 1975 and the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Council.

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§ 10. EU Database

(1) For purposes of transparency and usability, the database under § 1 para 2 shall be organized along subject matter lines.

(2) The Parliamentary Administration shall upon request provide information concerning access of the general public to the documents on projects within the framework of the European Union available in the EU database.

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§ 11. Information Security

(1) Within the sphere of the legislative bodies, information security shall be ensured in accordance with the European Union’s security rules for protecting EU classified information.

(2) Access to documents within the meaning of the present Federal Act shall be provided in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Procedure Act 1975 and the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Council.

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§ 12. Required Starting Date of Transmission

(1) Formal data under § 4 shall be transmitted as soon as the technical requirements have been established in the Parliamentary Administration. When notified by the President of the National Council, the respective date shall be announced by the Federal Chancellor in Federal Law Gazette II.

(2) Documents classified as “Restreint UE/EU Restricted” under § 2 paras 2 and 3 shall be transmitted as soon as the requirements have been established in the Parliamentary Administration. When notified by the President of the National Council, the respective date shall be announced by the Federal Chancellor in Federal Law Gazette II.

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§ 13. Effective Date

This Federal Act shall become effective as of January 1, 2012.