PRESENT: 29 members of EURBICA of whom 21 belonged to category A and 6 to category B. Two were non-voting members. There were also two observers (ICA) present. The total number of attendants was 31.
The meeting was opened by the vice-president of the steering committee of EURBICA, Mrs. Daria Nałeçz, National Archivist of Poland. The secretary of the steering committee, Mr. Jari Lybeck (Finnish National Archives Service) functioned as the secretary of the general assembly. The course of the meeting followed the agenda that was mailed beforehand to the members of EURBICA. (The mailing list that was used was somewhat incomplete which defect will be corrected as soon as possible.)
1. REPORT ON THE MEETING OF THE STEERING COMMITTEE IN LUND (SWEDEN) ON APRIL 4, 2001: The minutes of the Lund meeting had been sent beforehand to the members. There was no discussion about the minutes.
2. ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE BRANCH: Mrs. Martine de Boisdeffre, Director of the French Archives, was elected unanimously to be the new President of EURBICA on proposal of the steering committee. Mrs. de Boisdeffre took over the presidency of the general assembly from Mrs. Nałeçz.
3. ADOPTION OF EURBICA'S CONSTITUTION: The draft constitution, which had been mailed beforehand to the members, aroused some discussion. According to Mr. Klaus Oldenhage (Bundesarchiv, Germany), 'national' and 'territorial' are two concepts that should be clarified in the constitution with regard to the criteria of membership. He was also of the opinion that Category C and D members of ICA should have the right to vote in EURBICA. Mr. Andreas Kellerhals (Bundesarchiv, Switzerland) raised the question of quorum. He was of the opinion that 25 percent of the totality of members should constitute the quorum.
It was proposed that the draft constitution should be approved provisionally, and that the remarks about eventual modifications should be send to the executive Council. This proposal was agreed.
4. COMPOSITION AND ORGANIZATION OF THE BRANCH: The former steering committee was elected anew, with the exception that Mrs. Martine de Boisdeffre is the President of the branch instead of Mr. Philippe Belaval who left the presidency at the beginning of this year. Then there was also some discussion about financial matters: the treasurer of ICA, Mr. Leopold Kammerhofer, offered to function as the treasurer of EURBICA, too; his offer was accepted. Then the assembly discussed how to cover the expenses of Mr. Patrick Cadell who acts as the representative of ICA with regard to the institutions of the European Union. The Belgian National Archives has promised to pay his expenses during the Belgian EU-presidency. Mrs. de Boisdeffre said that an ideal solution would be that the other national archives services could do the same during the presidencies of their respective countries, but in case this couldn't be done due to the account or the budget, and it could occur as well, this matter could naturally be discussed anew.
5. RELATIONS WITH THE OTHER AUTHORITIES OF THE ICA: Mrs. de Boisdeffre stressed the importance to have links with the other branches as well as with the committees. It would ensure that work is done efficiently, without overlapping efforts. Mrs. de Boisdeffre pointed out that EURBICA should keep in touch with countries such as the USA and Canada which do not belong to any branch, too.
6. PROGRAMME OF THE PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES OF THE BRANCH; PROPOSALS FOR ADDITIONAL ACTIONS: Mrs. de Boisdeffre outlined her philosophy of action as President of EURBICA: do not do anything that is already done, and well done, in other areas. The branch can - and should - give ideas to the European institutions such as the European Union or the Council of Europe, which are the key resources to carry out special actions. A special emphasis should be put in particular on EU programmes such as ERASMUS, SOCRATES, PHARE or TACIS which have, so far, ignored the world of archives. In addition to that, EURBICA should especially try to influence each country having the EU-presidency. As regards training programmes of the EU, EURBICA should find a way to impact on them if necessary.
Also selection and appraisal were regarded as very important activity areas of the Branch. Mrs. de Boisdeffre pointed out that cooperation is crucial in this field, too. Perhaps it would be possible to find a common appraisal methodology. Mrs. Nałeŋz presented a draft of a survey on selection (Valuation and selection of documents) made by her service and asked comments on it by e-mail (daria.nalecz@.archiwa.gov.pl) in about one month's time. Mrs. Gigliola Fioravanti (Directorate General on Archives, Italy) stressed the importance of appraisal as well as the need to collaborate with the committees that deal with appraisal. Mr. Gerard Ermisse (French Archives Directorate) pointed out that the ICA appraisal committee and the Black book would deal with the same issue, and thus coordinate their reflection. According to one opinion, the Polish questionnaire, modified by the feedback given by the members of EURBICA and combined with the work done by the committees, could lead to an EURBICA's publication on appraisal. Mrs. Fioravanti pointed out that there are the ICA Committees on appraisal and electronic records which deal with appraisal, and other bodies too, such as the InterPARES project, in which also Italy takes part. One team of InterPARES has appraisal as its theme. MrAndreas Kellerhals stressed the importance of avoiding overlap between different projects and approaches. He was of the opinion that EURBICA should concentrate not on appraisal methodology, but on archival content as an appraisal criterion.
Mr. Joan Van Albada (ICA) stressed the great importance of InterPARES. The appraisal questions cannot, however, be left to InterPARES only. Although electronic records are very much in the picture, the old questions are still there (masses of records). One thing that EURBICA could do is to address the question of appraisal on local level, in connection with the existing higher levels. That is a thing that ICA has never done. As regards national differences in appraisal, it is perhaps necessary to allow them; they are real and deeply rooted. Mr. Cadell said that some member country or countries of a ICA scientific committee as well as the European Union and the Council of Europe might take a special interest in this particular issue.
Mrs. Nałeçz presented a second questionnaire on training prepared by her service. She asked comments on this paper too (not as urgently as on the appraisal survey).
Director of the State Archives of Montenegro Kalezić Rajko spoke about some themes that are to his mind of great importance. These themes are important not only to the European Union but the whole Europe. They include e.g. archival methodology, appraisal and the protection of the materials. He also told about a meeting in Sofia (Bulgaria), which reflected the need of growing cooperation between the South-East European countries.
Mrs. de Boisdeffre proposed the creation of a common database on archival legislation; Mr. Viktoras Domarkas (Lithuanian Archives Department) told that the ICA committee on archival legal matters has started to prepare such a database. Mr. Van Albada pointed out that the websites of the different National Archives do not usually contain archives laws. He was of the opinion that they should contain these laws and also translations of them. It would be useful to have the central national archival concepts also on these websites.
Mrs. Nalecz spoke about the Common Archival Heritage project which is part of the Open Society Archives (Budapest) initiative. The project aims at a database containing information on the archives of Central and East European states and nations. Mr. Nalecz proposed that the Common Archival Heritage project would be accepted as a EURBICA programme. The proposal was accepted.
Mr. Patrick Cadell reported about the activities carried out in the European Union and the Council of Europe as well. He has been in contact both with the DG that is responsible for cultural matters and with the DG dealing with the Information Society. According to Mr. Cadell, the response of the culture DG has been most unsatisfactory; the Information Society DG is much more positive and takes archival matters into account. Mr. Cadell proposed that two or three countries approach this DG in order to start a project. Mr. Cadell told also about the Green paper on public information. The paper has disappeared from the scene but is coming back, in a revised form, probably in a few months time. The Black book is under revision too, since the last meeting of the Directors of EU - National Archives in Lund. The work is done by a working group to which belong, apart from Mr. Cadell himself, Mr. Hans Hofmann (Historical Archives of the Commission) as well as representatives from Sweden, Spain, Belgium and France. The final draft of the revised Black book should be in a finished form in May 2002. Mr. Cadell told also about the Council of Europe Recommendation on official information which takes also archives into account. The recommendation will appear before the Council of Ministers early in the year 2002.
7. FUNDING OF THE ACTIVITIES: This matter has been handled at item 4 of the agenda (see above).
8. INFORMATION ABOUT THE MEMBERS' ACTIVITIES: It was agreed that each country will produce a short report of its cooperation with the other European countries.
9. OTHER BUSINESS: None
Mrs de Boisdeffre closed the Assembly by stressing how interesting the debates had been. The next General Assembly will take place in Reykjavik (Iceland) in October 2001, in connection with the CITRA meeting there. Before that, the members of EURBICA are invited to send in ideas and proposals concerning the EURBICA working programme , their comments on the draft constitution and their responses to the two Polish questionnaires as well . With a view to the next meeting in Reykjavik, the President shall work with M. Kellerhals to draft out a general policy paper which will be sent to each member of Eurbica with the invitation for coming to Reykjavik.
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