Of all the institutions involved in decision-making, the Council is still the least accessible to NGOs. Council sessions are on the whole secret, and documents are not readily released. Often documents only become public when they are sent to institutions other than Parliament where they are dealt with in public. Sometimes, a detour via the national parliament is required to get hold of a document.
Acts adopted by the Council are prepared by working parties under the direction of COREPER. On these working parties are national civil servants and representatives of various ministries. The Permanent Representatives on COREPER attempt to reach consensus on the various subjects. In addition, there are specialised committees that prepare decisions under the direction of COREPER.
You might say that, within the Council, the decision-making core lies with COREPER. There are no formalised consultations between COREPER and the NGOs, but there are more and more informal consultations in order to make allowance for current affairs in society at large. Here too, close contacts within working parties and with the Permanent Representation are essential for NGOs.