As a political scientist interested in EU matters and as somebody involved in the EU blogosphere I’m almost daily working with official EU documents and EU legislation.
And while I’m more and more familiar with the multitude of EU document databases and search interfaces, the easiest way to find EU legislation still is the use of Google. So far, finding EU documents is very much 1.0 and getting to version 2.0 seems to be a must at the eve of the 2nd decade of the 21 century (Christian calendar).
But today I came across a non-public document of the Council titled “New EUR-Lex“. A new EUR-Lex, the hard to use database and search platform for official EU documents? This caught my attention, and so I took a look whether I’d find something about this in a public documentation.
Here’s what I found:
According a Council document from October, “a new EUR-Lex portal is being developed with the other EU institutions” in order “to improve electronic access to the full body of EU legislation“. And tomorrow morning, at 10 am, the agenda of the Council Working Party on e-Law foresees a presentation of a mockup of the new EUR-Lex.
Now while we don’t know how this mockup looks like and how long it will take until the new system will be available to the public, the tender and the specifications for the new system (PDF) from last year still underline why a new system is necessary:
Though, in general, the users strongly appreciate the content of the EUR-Lex website, most novices, and even some experienced users, do not intuitively find what they need: not enough help is offered on the site, the search is not quite satisfactory, either for functionalities or for results. The website “as such” is not perceived as a very usable one, according to the current standards. (p. 6 of the specifications linked above)
I fully agree with this assessment, and the more interesting it will be to see what comes out of the process.
A further research showed that the contract for the new EUR-Lex is worth around 6.7 million Euro [Update: It's 1.8 million Euro. Thanks to Mr Steinitz from the Publication's Office for pointing this out. Not sure why I picked a wrong figure.] and has been awarded this June to several companies including the ARHS Group (see here for the full contract award).
I suppose this will take some time, but I hope they’ll be quick because finding and browsing official EU documents could be made much easier for the public, making EU legislative processes easier to track and thereby a little more transparent. Finding EU documents should definitely be 2.0 as soon as possible!