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UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office cancels court hearing and promises complete information on EU transparency negotiations

notas_uk_2Madrid, 22 May 2014 – The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has pulled out of a case before the UK’s Information Tribunal resulting in cancellation of a court hearing due this week (20-21 May) and has agreed to provide Access Info Europe with full information on negotiations in Brussels to revise the European Union’s transparency rules.

The specialised Information Tribunal issued a formal decision on 21 May 2014 closing a four-year legal process arising from an information request first made on 15 June 2010 by Access Info Europe Campaigner Pam Bartlett Quintanilla.

Just three weeks before the court hearing was due, on 1 May 2014, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office sent a message stating that “After careful consideration of the circumstances of this particular case and making no statement as to how it might act in future cases, the FCO has decided that it is prepared to withdraw its opposition to Ms Quintanilla’s appeal.

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AsktheEU.org Report on Council of the European Union: Transparency problems exposed

AsktheEU.org-coverMadrid/Brussels, 19 May 2014 - The Council of the EU is failing to comply with EU transparency rules by not respecting time frames for responding, applying too many extensions to requests, and not informing all requesters of their right to appeal when information is denied, according to a report published today by Access Info Europe.

Analysis of 50 access to documents requests submitted to the Council between 2011 and 2013 via the AsktheEU.org platform, found that the average time for answering was 20 working days, significantly over the maximum 15 working days permitted by EU law. Requests which resulted in partial denials of information were answered in an average of 49 working days. Excessive use was made of extensions which were applied in a full 32% of cases. Click here to read the report.

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Politics for People Campaign: Tweet Your Candidates Day, 14 May 2014

politics_for_people_logo_square_White_on_orange_WEBMadrid, 12 May 2014 – To encourage candidates in the European Parliament elections to pledge to defend the public interest against excessive private-interest lobbying, the Politics for People campaign is launching #TweetYourCandidates Day on Wednesday 14 May 2014.

At the time of writing, over 1000 candidates to the European Parliament have signed the pledge – but there are still many more who have yet to do so!

All you need to do is to send a tweet to a not-yet-signed candidate asking them to pledge to stand-up for citizens and democracy against the excessive lobbying influence of banks and big business. You will find some model tweets below: 

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Access Info Europe leads panel about open government in the OGP Regional Meeting in Dublin

OGPDublin

Madrid, 30 April 2014 – Access Info Europe is coordinating a panel on ‘Open Government: standards and indicators for measuring progress’, as part of the Open Government Partnership Regional Meeting in Europe, which will take place in Dublin on 8 and 9 May.

Effectively measuring and evaluating open government has been a challenge for the OGP since its launch in 2011. Proposals such as the Open Government Standards, the Open Government Guide, and other initiatives and instruments have aimed to provide benchmarks and guidance for the evaluation of national action plan commitments.

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