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Access Info and ALTER EU launch a petition calling for full EU lobby transparency

Brussels/Madrid, 29 October 2013 - Access Info as part of the ALTER-EU coalition of civil society organisations have launched a petition for citizens to call for a mandatory and detailed lobby register for the European Union.

The petition is being sent to Rainer Wieland MEP, European Parliament Vice-President for Transparency and chair of the group to review the EU lobby register.

Sign the petition here!

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European Court of Justice rules in favour of greater transparency of the Council of the EU

Opinion and Comment by the Access Info International Advisory Board

Madrid, 22 October 2013 - After the landmark final ruling last week by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) that completely dismissed the Council of the European Union's appeal, in a five year battle over making public access to documents containing proposals by Member States during the negotiations on the revision of Regulation 1049/2001, the Advisory Board of Access Info Europe offer their opinions and comments to the importance of this case for the right of access to information in Europe and globally.

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European Court of Justice rules in favour of greater transparency of the Council of the EU

Pam_Helen_Council_FinalMadrid/Luxembourg, 17 October 2013 — In a case brought by Access Info Europe, the European Court of Justice today rejected arguments by the Council of the European Union that it should be able to keep secret the identities of Member States making proposals in the context of negotiations on future EU legislation.

This is the final ruling – by the highest court of the EU - in an important legal battle for greater transparency of the legislative process in Brussels in line with the EU treaties which require the European Parliament and the Council to "ensure publication of the documents relating to the legislative procedures".

The Council of the EU had fought to defend its policy of releasing legislative drafting documents with the names of Member States tabling amendments blacked out.

Access Info Europe won access to the document it requested before the General Court in March 2011 but the Council appealed, joined by the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Spain and the UK.

The European Parliament, arguing in favour of openness of the legislative process, joined the case in an historic move to support Access Info Europe in its quest for wider access to documents.

The European Court of Justice today rejected the Council's arguments that it should be able to withhold information from the public in order to preserve the "effectiveness of the legislative decision-making process". The ECJ confirmed that "the mere fact that the request for disclosure was made at a very early stage in the legislative process was not sufficient to allow the application of that exception".

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Main shortcomings of Spanish transparency law highlighted by Victoria Anderica in 'El Objetivo'

Madrid, 14 October 2013 - "The law does not recognise access to information as a fundamental right,...a lot of information is left out,...and the oversight body is not independent". These three serious shortcomings of the Spanish transparency law were highlighted by Victoria Anderica of Access Info Europe on the prime time Spanish TV programme El Objetivo

In the programme, broadcast on Sunday 13 October, Victoria acknowledged that the law will help to improve the current situation in Spain, by permitting a wider transparency of public accounts.

However the shortcomings in the new legislation as it stands mean that Spain will still rank 72th out of a total of 96 countries with access to information laws. For example, the Congress and Senate are not made completely transparent under the law. "Institutions are not equally covered under the law. In the case of these two, they will only need to publish information linked to administrative tasks, leaving out information that is fundamental in understanding how decisions are being taken on laws that are being developed in these institutions" commented Victoria Anderica.

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