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Fundamental right of access to information strengthened by ECHR ruling

ECHR_BuildingMadrid, 27 June 2013 - Access Info Europe welcomes the recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights which further strengthens the right of access to information held by public bodies.

A summary of the ruling

The ECHR ruled on the case between 'Youth Initiative for Human Rights vs. the Republic of Serbia' about the refusal of the Serbian intelligence agency to provide the NGO with certain information concerning electronic surveillance, despite a final and binding decision in favour of disclosure by the Serbian Information Commissioner in 2005.

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Legal basis identified for mandatory EU lobby register 

apretonmanosBrussels, 17 June 2013 - An independent legal analysis launched today in Brussels has revealed that the EU institutions have a legal basis on which to act to make the Transparency Register mandatory. The study, launched at the beginning of the Register's review process, was commissioned by ALTER EU and the Austrian Arbeiterkammer to counter the Commission's arguments that the EU has no competence to make the register binding on lobbyists.

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European Court of Justice ruling entrenches EU secrecy in international relations

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Madrid, 7 June 2013 - Access Info Europe notes with regret today's ruling by the General Court of the European Court of Justice which upholds the European Commission's refusal to make public documents about the EU-India Free Trade Agreement requested by the lobby watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory.

The central question in the case Corporate Europe Observatory v European Commission revolves around whether or not dissemination of minutes of meetings and email correspondence would harm the EU's international relations. The Court's ruling is particularly regrettable given that these documents had been shared with representatives of the European and Indian business communities for consultation. Germany joined the case in support of the European Commission.

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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Proposed FOI Law reforms would limit access to much information of public importance.

Access Info joins OSCE in calling for withdrawal of amendments

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Madrid, 4 June 2013 – Access Info Europe today raised concerns that proposed amendments to the Law on Freedom of Access to Information of Bosnia and Herzegovina would exclude large volumes of information from the right of access to information.

In separating the freedom of information law from the law on personal data protection, the proposed amendments, in particular Article 8.2, introduce restrictions on access to data of clear public interest, such as spending of public funds on healthcare, or copies of court decisions.

The poorly drafted and ill-considered amendments would shut down access to information needed for monitoring public spending and the administration of justice, would limit the work of civil society organisations, and would hamper investigations by journalists,” said Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe.

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