As with their member governments, intergovernmental organizations tend to have documents of a range of specified degrees of confidentiality, notably in order to protect the sensitivity of members to negative assessments by staff members or other members. Documents may not be declassified may not be declassified for periods up to 30 or 50 years, as has been the case with League of Nations documents. The cost of maintaining such archives may be used as an excuse for shredding documents prior to declassification, notably at the insistence of member governments whose historical role may be reinterpreted negatively as a result of the release of such documents.
In 1994 senior officials of the European Union decided to introduce a top security classification to cover material whose unauthorized disclosure would have exceptionally serious consequences for the essential interests of the Union and for member states. This classification was in addition to one for information whose leakage would have serious consequences, and another where disclosure would be detrimental, and another where publication would be premature or inappropriate.