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Transparency in the European Union

Access Info is working towards a more transparent EU by promoting stronger rules for access to documents and ensuring that existing rules are properly applied. We provide training on how to request information from the EU, campaign for greater transparency and, when necessary, litigate to get access to information. We also manage www.AsktheEU.org, an online platform for making access to documents requests to the European Union.

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European Union Regulation 1049/2001

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Guide on access to EU documents / Access Info Help Desk

 
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European Ombudsman consultation on EU expert groups creates hope for reform

resizedemilyMadrid, 5 September 2014 – Proactive transparency would help address the problem of business-domination of European Commission expert groups Access Info Europe concluded this week in its submission to the EU Ombudsman public consultation on expert groups.

The European Ombudsman's consultation came in response to a series of concerns raised by civil society, including the Alliance for Lobby Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) of which Access Info Europe is a Steering Committee member, about the overrepresentation of business lobbyists in expert groups.

In its submission, right to information experts Access Info highlighted the need for greater proactive transparency to permit the public to verify whether expert groups have a balanced composition representative of all relevant stakeholders. Information which should be made public should include the applications and declarations of participants, records of meetings, and copies of relevant documents.

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Open data to get your teeth into!

Access Info invites open analysis of UK FCO documents

fco_call_ukMadrid, 4 August 2014 – Access Info Europe called for fellow freedom of information activists to help analyse and discover the information and data held in the tens of UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office documents on negotiations in Brussels to revise the European Union's transparency law, in a crowdsourcing initiative launched today.

Download the documents here!

These documents, obtained as a result of a four-year legal battle, are a unprecedented insight into the debate around the right of access to EU documents that has been going on since 2008, and could prove which EU countries are, and are not, transparency champions.

Dive into the data and help shed some light on the relations between the EU and Member States and the so-called "policy-laundering" phenomenon, whereby citizens are told the EU is to blame for certain decisions which actually involve full and proactive Member State representatives' participation.

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European Ombudsman urges proactive transparency of EU-US trade talks

TTIP_protest_in_LondonMadrid, 31 July 2014 – Access Info Europe today welcomed the decision by the European Ombudsman to call for more proactive disclosure of documents to stakeholders surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, and to open investigations into the Council of the EU and EU Commission’s lack of transparency around these talks.

Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has offered a range of practical measures to enable timely public access to TTIP documents, and to details of meetings with stakeholders. Referring to the pro-transparency jurisprudence established by Access Info’s case against the Council (won in October 2013) as well as by the July 2013 ruling in the case of In ‘t Veld against the European Commission, the Ombudsman questioned the assertion of public harm in the disclosure of the EU negotiating directives for the on-going negotiations.

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The In ‘t Veld Ruling: Raising the Bar for Denying Access to EU Documents

Madrid, 25 July 2014 - Helen Darbishire and Pamela Bartlett of Access Info Europe analyse the wider consequences of the recent European Court of Justice ruling, which will make it harder to deny access to EU documents relating to international relations or to containing legal advice.

The 3 July 2014 pro-transparency ruling by the European Court of Justice in the legal battle for access to negotiations between the European Union and the United States on sharing financial transaction data in order to fight terrorism, will make it harder for the EU to deny access to documents relating to international relations and legal advice, according to a leaked document seen by Access Info Europe.

In the document, drafted in response the court victory by Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld, the General Secretariat of the Council concludes that "it is becoming increasingly difficult to demonstrate that disclosure of a specific document would 'specifically and actually' undermine an interest protected by an exception in Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001."

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Civil society call on the EU institutions to join the Open Government Partnership

euogppicMadrid, 16 July - Access Info Europe has joined over 50 other signatories, including networks and coalitions, calling upon the European Union to closely engage and eventually join the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initative.

The letter sent earlier this month asks the EU to commit to uphold the same inclusion, transparency and accountability standards that they ask of others both inside and outside the Union. It will help bridge the gap between the EU and its citizens, and enhance the EU’s credibility in its international efforts to improve the quality of governance in third countries by empowering citizens through participation.

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Concerns about EMA's transparency backtrack on clinical trials data

l_ssclinicaltrialx1200Madrid, 9 July 2014 – The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is considering adopting a policy on access to clinical trials data which imposes stricter confidentiality requirements and restricts citizens' ability to exercise the right of access to documents.

The proposed policy on proactive publication of clinical trial data has caused concern for Access Info Europe and other civil society organizations, who fear that the EMA's 'Terms of Use' and 'Redaction Principles' would constitute a step backwards for EU transparency. Health organisations and the European Ombudsman were some of the first to express their concerns on the matter [1].

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