20090226 (Teil 1) \  Gastbeiträge \  Cooperation between archives in the EU The opinions expressed in this article represent the views of its author and cannot be taken as an official position of the European Commission.
Cooperation between archives in the EU The opinions expressed in this article represent the views of its author and cannot be taken as an official position of the European Commission.
Guest Contribution by Jef Schram2,  European Commission,  Email: Josephus.Schram@ec.europa.eu 
Web site:
Cooperation between the Archives of the Member States is not a new phenomenon. Following a Council Resolution of 14 November 1991 on arrangements concerning archives3, a first report on Archives in the European Union was published in 19944. This report led to the Council Conclusions of 17 June 19945 which became an important catalyst in promoting co-operation between archives in Europe for nearly a decade. For example, the organisation of the first large DLM Forum conference in Brussels in 1996 was a direct result of these Council Conclusions.
Since the early 1990s co-operation has both widened and deepened. Co-operation between archives has spread further geographically following successive enlargements of the Union. The number of Member States, and thus the number of participating national archives, has increased from 12 at the beginning of the 1990s to 27 today. While this increase in numbers has brought increased benefits and opportunities, it also poses challenges.
In 2003 the Council adopted a new resolution calling for an assessment of the situation of public archives in the EU, taking particular account of enlargement, and asked the Commission to submit a report that would address the possibilities for enhanced co-ordination and co-operation.6 In response to this resolution, a group of experts from the archives of the EU Member States prepared an extensive Report on archives in the enlarged European Union, which was submitted to the Council in 2005. 7 The Report contains both an analysis of the situation of archives in the European Union and a number of proposed actions and future orientations for increased co-operation between archives at the European level.
The Report led the adoption of the Council Recommendation on priority actions to increase cooperation in the field of archives in Europe of 14 November 2005. 8 The Council Recommendation marked a new phase in cooperation between archives. It calls for the creation of a European Archives Group (EAG) to ensure co-operation and co-ordination on general matters relating to archives, to follow-up on the work referred to in the Report on Archives and, in particular, to implement five priority measures set out in the Recommendation. These priority measures are:
The preservation of and prevention of damage to archives in Europe;
The reinforcement of European interdisciplinary cooperation on electronic documents and archives;
The creation and maintenance of an internet portal to the archival heritage of the Union;
The promotion of best practice with regard to national and European law with regard to archives;
Measures to prevent theft and facilitate the recovery of stolen documents
The European Archives Group was established by the European Commission at the beginning of 2006. The Group consists of high level managers from the National Archives of the member states, usually the National Archivists themselves or their deputies.
The EAG has made good progress in the implementation of the Council Recommendation. Its main achievements include:
Progress towards the development of an internet based service with detailed information on disaster prevention and disaster management that will allow archives across the EU to prepare and to react effectively to catastrophes.
The publication of the updated model requirements for the management of electronic records (MoReq2), which is set to become a standard for records management software in Europe. The governance of MoReq2 is in the responsibility of the DLM Forum, which reports to the EAG on a regular basis..
The creation of a consortium that is preparing an internet portal for archives in Europe. The portal will make it possible to retrieve archival information in Europe regardless of national, institutional or sector boundaries. It will be linked to EUROPEANA and will contribute to fulfilling the vision of a common multilingual access point to Europe’s digital cultural and scientific heritage.
The development, in cooperation with the European Branch of the International Council on Archives, of a legal database for archives in Europe, EURONOMOS. Euronomos will provide access to archival and related legislation as well as interpretative and contextual information.
The publication of guidelines to prevent the theft of archival documents.
In the summer of 2008 the European Archives Group adopted a progress report which was submitted to the Council of Ministers of the EU. The report sets out not only the achievements with regard to the implementation of the 2005 Council Recommendation, it also identifies a number of challenges that lie ahead.9 These challenges focus on the changing role of public archives in e-government, the relationship between online and onsite access to archives, the re-use of public sector information, plans to strengthen archival networks and, finally, the development of a new generation of professional archives managers in a European context.
Co-operation between the archives of the EU Member States has moved forward since the adoption of the Council Recommendation at the end of 2005. As in the past, such cooperation is an evolutionary process, built on shared interests and ambitions and the recognition that co-operation should, and can, be mutually beneficial. On this basis, co-operation between archives in Europe has been surprisingly successful over the last two decades. In order to continue that success, the National Archives services of the EU member states will continue to work together. They will also increasingly seek to co-operate with other relevant sectors and networks with a view to achieving maximum mutual benefits and economies of scale in the efficient management, storage, preservation and retrieval of public sector information, as well as more efficient and user friendly access to archival content and services for the European citizen.

  The opinions expressed in this article represent the views of its author and cannot be taken as an official position of the European Commission.
 OJ C 314, 5.12.1991, p.2
 European Commission, Archives in the European Union. Report of the Group of experts on the Coordination of Archives, Brussels – Luxembourg, 1994
 OJ C 235, 23.8.1994, p.3
 OJ C 113, 13.5.2003, p.2
 COM(2005) 52 final.
 OJ L 312, 29.11.2005, p.55
9 These challenges focus on the changing role of public a
  COM(2008)500 of 1.8.2008; SEC(2008)2364 of 1.8.2008
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