What is going on in Spain?
Madrid, 27 February 2013 - The picture says it all: a government embattled by corruption scandals is so reluctant to answer questions that it puts journalists in a separate room during a press conference. This happened on 2 February 2013 for a press conference given by Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy.
The objective was to avoid being put on the spot by uncomfortable questions about the governing Popular Party's finances.
It's sometimes hard to follow what is going on in Spain: The leading political party and even the royal household are embroiled in corruption scandals. In response, everyone is talking about "transparency" but the sub-standard access to information law is making slow progress through the parliament.
EU Transparency on Trial
Luxembourg, 21 February 2013 – At a public hearing before the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg on Thursday 21 February 2013, the Council of the European Union argued that secrecy about the positions of different Member States is necessary for its “effectiveness”.
Specifically, the Council defended withholding from Access Info Europe in 2008 the names of Member States in a document which contained proposals to revise the EU's access to documents rules in a way which would limit EU transparency.
The hearing was held to consider the appeal by the Council against a March 2011 decision by the General Court (first instance court) which ruled that Access Info should have access to the document ; a ruling in the case is expected in mid-2013.
Arguments centred on whether the public can know which Member State is proposing what during ongoing legislative processes, or whether transparency of this nature would seriously undermine the Council's decision-making process.
The Council is supported in this case by the Czech Republic, Greece, France and Spain; the United Kingdom which is also party to the case did not make either a written or an oral intervention.
European Monitoring Launched: The Transparency of Policing Protests
Madrid, 19 February 2013 – Concerned at the lack of transparency around the growing use of force by police in protest situations, Access Info Europe has presented access to information requests in 41 countries, asking for details ranging from the use of equipment such as rubber bullets, batons and water cannons, to training of police officers and evaluation reports on the policing of protests.
In the context of the economic crisis, Europe is seeing a rising number of street protests, some of which have been accompanied by violence.
It is essential that civil society and the media have sufficient information about how police are preparing for, handling, and evaluating protests in order to ensure that the rights to freedom of assembly and expression are respected.
European poll reveals widespread concern about EU Transparency
Vast majority of people want more transparency, ethics and lobbying regulation
Brussels, January 31, 2013 – A majority of people across Europe are concerned about ethics and lobbying in European Union policy-making, and want better regulation of lobbyists, as well as increased transparency of the EU, according to a new opinion poll. 
The poll conducted by TNS opinion, and completed by over 6,000 people in six European countries, reveals that three quarters (73%) of respondents are concerned that lobbyists representing the business sector have too much influence on EU decisions. 80% of those surveyed believe there should be mandatory regulation of lobbying to ensure a balanced participation of different interests in decision-making.
The results come at the beginning of the European Year of Citizens, which aims to stimulate dialogue between governments and society, and thereby better engage citizens in debates and decisions that affect them. 
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