In Context of Crisis and Corruption, a Transparency Law with No Heart
Helen Darbishire, Executive Director, Access Info Europe explains why the new Transparency and Access to Information Law in Spain is particularly weak, and also maps out the political context in which the law was adopted, seeking to explain why the Spanish Government opted for an instrument which will not empower citizens to obtain the information they need for participation and to hold power to account.
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Madrid, 28 November 2013 — The Spanish Government has missed an historic opportunity to adopt an access to information law in line with international standards, instead adopting a law that will have minimal positive impact on open government and do little to change a bureaucratic culture of secrecy in which over 50% of requests from the public go unanswered.
Spanish Transparency Law approved by Senate without significant changes
The law will be adopted on 28 November 2013 but will enter into force only after one year at the national level and two years at the regional level
Madrid, 26 November 2013 – The Spanish Law on Transparency, Access to Information and Good Governance was approved by the Senate last Wednesday with no improvements to the right of access to information, despite the rejection of the text from the majority of parliamentary groups. The following political groups and parties voted against the law: ERC, AMAIUR, IU, ENTESA PROGRES PER CATALUNYA y PSOE.
“The ruling Partido Popular has ignored civil society during the entire process of adopting the transparency law, and has proposed a law that violates minimum international standards”, commented Victoria Anderica Caffarena, Campaigner and Legal Researcher at Access Info Europe.
The Coalición Pro Acceso rejects the Spanish Transparency Law as it is not in line with international standards
Madrid, 28 November 2013 – The Spanish Parliament today adopted the Law on Transparency, Access to Information and Good Governance, the first law of its kind in Spain. The Coalición Pro Acceso regrets that final text is insufficient, given its serious shortcomings and contradictions, making the law obsolete from the outset and far from meeting international standards.
Ireland: Campaign to block FOI fee increases successful, but unacceptable €15 up-front fee remains
Madrid/Halifax, 15 November 2013 - Intense campaigning by Irish and international civil society organisations has resulted in an important policy reversal by the Irish government. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, has withdrawn, for now at least, an amendment to the Freedom of Information Bill 2013 which threatened to charge multiple up-front fees for requests deemed to include more than one question.
Welcoming the withdrawal of the proposed amendment to expand the charging regime, Access Info Europe and Centre for Law and Democracy today wrote to Minister Howlin urging him to go further and abolish the existing €15 per request, stating that this fee clearly violates international standards.
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