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EU DOCUMENTS MANAGEMENT

Classification and publication of documents according to the EU Portal system


EU-portal is an integral part of the single information system of the Slovenian Government, which is used as the fundamental IT-tool in receiving, evidencing, classifying and publishing the documents exchanged between the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union. The system is also used as the platform for preparing and coordinating positions in the procedure of adopting legislative proposals and other acts of the EU, the starting points for the EU Council meetings and reports of Slovenian representatives from the meetings of the Council and its working parties.  By the authorisation of the Secretariat-General of the Slovenian Government, the role of the EU-portal administrator has been assigned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

 
EU-portal became operational on 26 March 2004; since then, it has been used as the IT-tool enabling the coordination of EU Council documents in Slovenia. EU-portal contains all documents transmitted from Brussels via »Extranet U32 Mail«, the official channel for information exchange between the Council and the Member States.  EU-portal editors receive on average 150–200 documents daily via this EU system. Approximately 36,000 documents are published every year on EU-portal.


The advantages of this system are:

- the history tracks of documents,

- all documents on one site and their classification in thematic units,

- transparency,

- the possibility of a fast response and decision-making, as well as

- the possibility of creating various evidences of up-to-date information.

Thus, this IT-system enables the management of a large number of various documents and strong support to team work.


The EU-portal application is a database of EU dossiers that enables the monitoring of Council documents throughout the legislative process, from the basic proposal prepared by the European Commission to the final adoption of an act by the EU Council. After the adoption of an act and its publication in the Official Journal of the EU, the dossier concerned is concluded within EU-portal.


Dossiers and documents are classified according to competent authorities (line ministries and government offices) and to relevant working groups, on the basis of the EuroVoc thesaurus used by the EU institutions for indexing their documents.

 

 

Legal basis


The following regulations are relevant for the work with EU-portal:


• Act on Cooperation between the National Assembly and the Government in EU Affairs, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No 34/2004;
• Classified Information Act (official consolidated text), Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No 50/2006;
• Access to Public Information Act (official consolidated text), Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No 51/2006;
• Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents;

• Decree on Administrative Operations, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No 20/2005;
• Decree on the Protection of Classified Information, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No 74/2005;
• Rules of Procedure of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia;

• Codification of EU Council documents (1068/03).

 

 

Access to EU-portal


The EU-portal information system is accessible to any official of ministries and government offices, to the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Slovenia to the European Union, diplomatic-consular representations of the Republic of Slovenia to the EU Member States, to the Government and the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia.


However, access is possible only after acquiring access rights. The scope of access depends on the type of acquired rights. There are three levels of rights: reader's rights, EU-department's rights and management's rights.


Rights can be acquired according to the following procedure:  An »EU-portal access form« has to be completed by the competent ministry or government office and signed by its Head – minister or director of a government office. The request is then submitted for approval to Secretary-General of the Slovenian Government, at the following e-address: gp.gs(at)gov.si. After obtaining the approval from the Secretariat-General of the Government, the ministry of Foreign Affairs updates the SVN directory that is a part of EU-portal.

 

 

Training


From year to year, the EU-portal users demonstrate more interest in the training. The instructions for the use of EU-portal are provided by its editors who carry out the training at various levels and in various forms. The presentations are supported by the PowerPoint software and in connection with the EU-portal application on an interactive board. New instruction materials are prepared for every course, so that the method of presenting the subject is adjusted to individual ministries or government offices, i.e. according to their activity. Thus, the users become familiar with the purpose and functioning of EU-portal in a comprehensible way.

 

 

Coordination of Slovenian responding documents within EU-portal


Slovenian documents are prepared in response to documents created in the Council decision procedures, with a view to promoting the interests of the Republic of Slovenia. EU-portal supports the preparation of the following responding documents: positions, guidelines, statements, comments, starting points, reports from the EU ministerial Councils, reports from the meetings of the Council working parties, general documents and responses.


A POSITION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA is an act adopted by the Government and/or the National Assembly formalizing the decisions to be advocated by the representatives of the Republic of Slovenia in the EU institutions. A proposal for such a position is drafted by the competent line ministry or government office in response to a proposal for a legislative act of the EU or a political decision, including international treaties concluded by the Republic of Slovenia in the context of its EU membership. The following aspects have to be taken into account in drafting a position: the need for amendments to national legislation, budgetary implications, impact on the economy, public administration and environment.

 

A GUIDELINE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA is a document adopted by the Government. It formalizes the course of action to be observed by Slovenian representatives participating in the preparatory bodies and working groups of the EU Council and in ministerial Councils. Such a document is prepared in response to non-legislative acts of the EU. In contrast to positions, the preparation of a guideline need not take into account the aspects regarding the necessity of amendments to national regulations, budgetary implications, and impact on the economy, public administration and environment.

 

A STATEMENT is a document prepared by the competent government authority in cases when no position or guideline or amendment thereto is required from the Republic of Slovenia, but also in cases when the discussion on an act is outdated or when an act has already been adopted by the EU institutions. A statement can contain instructions regarding technical issues or specific comments to individual articles of a proposal for an act or an action.

 

A COMMENT is a document prepared during the procedure of coordinating a decision or a government document, when the government authority concerned disagrees with the proposal and requires an amendment of the decision. 

 

THE STARTING POINTS OF THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA for the European Council and the ministerial Councils represent a document by which the Government designates the delegation of the Republic of Slovenia. The starting points contain a brief summary of issues to be discussed at regular sessions, informal meetings and extraordinary meetings of the EU Council or the European Council. Positions and guidelines are included in the framework of the starting points to individual agenda items only in urgent cases, when there is not enough time to get ready for discussion at government sessions organised according to a regular procedure. When positions and guidelines are prepared together with the starting points, the conclusions on the adoption of positions or guidelines should be attached as well.

 

A REPORT FROM THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL OR THE MINISTERIAL COUNCIL MEETING is a document reporting on the representation of positions and guidelines of the Republic of Slovenia at the said summits or meetings. Only one report on the representation of positions and guidelines should be prepared for one summit/meeting as a whole (accompanying the agenda).

 

A REPORT is a record of the representation of positions or guidelines at the level of preparatory bodies or working parties of the EU Council. It is prepared as an enclosure to an individual EU act or as the minutes of the meeting of a working group or committee of the EU Council.

 

GENERAL is a document in which the Slovenian representatives participating in the decision procedures of the EU institutions provide additional information or clarifications on the new proposals for legislative acts or acts of political nature, positions and activities of other EU Member States or international organisations (including the reports on the representation of positions, when the document in question is not published as a proposal for an act).

 

RESPONSE is a document in the working database, intended for interinstitutional coordination of documents in the preparatory stage, when it can replace various forms of correspondence. Unlike other described documents, a response is not transferred to the main database of EU-portal.

 

 

Closing the dossiers


Among dossiers in EU-portal prevail dossiers containing acts of the EU Council and dossiers containing agendas for meetings of working parties and ministerial Councils.


Dossiers containing acts of the EU Council comprise all those dossiers that result in documents with a Celex number. They concern the procedures of adopting acts to be published in the Official Journal of the EU . These dossiers are closed in regular monthly intervals, after the acts concerned have been published in the EUR-Lex database


The dossiers containing agendas for meetings of working parties and ministerial Councils are closed by concluding all outdated dossiers concerning the meetings of Council working groups, except the dossiers of the present and the previous Council Presidency. Approximately 15,000 dossiers are closed every year.

 

 

I-EU-portal (EU-portal – restreint)


In the second half of 2010, the Council set up the ‘Extranet restreint UE’ system to be used by all Member States; this system has become the only tool of electronic distribution of all official documents of the EU Council classified as ‘restraint’. In Slovenia, an ICT-system has been developed for secure handling of ‘restraint’ documents. Moreover, a computer programme called ‘I-EU-portal’, functioning as a parallel, especially protected system of EU-portal, has also been created as an integral part of the government IT-system. Approximately 2500 documents classified as ‘restraint” are published every year in I-EU-portal, following the same rules as applying to the use of EU-portal.

The Secretariat-General of the Slovenian Government in its capacity as administrator and manager of this IT-system issued instructions for the setting up of I-EU-portal and work with it, which were sent to heads of all IT-departments in ministries and government offices on 18 June 2010.

The difference between EU-portal and I-EU-portal is in the level of system accessibility that is determined both by the EU and national legislation concerning ‘restraint’ data. The requirements regarding the system protection include physical, personal as well as computer protection (administrative area, computer, which is not connected to the internet, encoding device). The end user, who has demonstrated the need to know and thus become entitled to access I-EU-portal, has to produce the following:
• a signed statement that he/she is acquainted with the Classified Data Act or a valid permission to access classified national  data;
• a signed statement that he/she is acquainted with the regulations regarding handling and protection of classified EU data or a valid permission to access classified EU data;
• a signed cryptographic authorisation regarding the protection and handling of cryptographic material and security rules for the use of cryptographic keys (to be obtained from the Government Secretariat-General);
• access to I-EU-portal databases authorised by Secretary-General of the Slovenian Government;
• Lotus Notes UserID enabling the access to the I-EU-portal segment of the server at the Secretariat-General of the Slovenian Government.

Individual users working with the I-EU-portal system in ministries and government offices receive the necessary IT-support from IT-departments, subject to the conditions related to the management of EU documents classified as ‘restraint” that are predominantly defined by the Secretariat-General of the Council.

 

 

Editorial Board


The Editorial Board of EU-portal has been appointed in order to ensure smooth functioning, upgrading and development of the project »Information system in support of decision-making regarding legislative and other acts of the European Union – EU-portal«.


The Board is in charge of the EU-portal development. It meets at least four times a year, examines the received initiatives for improvement of the IT-system operation and the adaptations required on the basis of adopted amendments to legislation, coordinates the identified needs, draws up and specifies priority lists of received requests.


It consists of 8 members, 4 of them being officials of the Secretariat-General of the Slovenian Government and 4 officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

 

Upgrading of the EU-portal application


One of the principal duties of the Editorial Board is to plan the implementation of the EU-portal upgrading. Following several proposals for modification of the programme by its users, EU-portal has been upgraded nine times since it has become operational. The modifications aimed at improving the applicability of the IT-system. Your proposals for a possible upgrade of EU-portal would be welcome at the following e-address: eu_portal.mzz(at)gov.si.