OSCE says changes to Spain’s draft transparency law insufficient
18 June 2012 — In its second evaluation of Spain’s draft access to information law, the OSCE has concluded that in spite of the changes the draft remains well below international standards.
The report, released by the Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, analyses the changes made by the Spanish government in May and concludes that “the majority of the changes are ‘cosmetic’ and, in general, do nto contribute to improving the draft compared with the previous version.”
Last window of hope for EU transparency talks still open:
Danish Presidency urged to broker agreement
16 June 2012, Brussels/Madrid – With inside EU sources indicating that the Council and the European Parliament are still ready to make a deal on limited but essential reforms to EU access to documents rules, NGO Access Info Europe today called on the Danish Presidency to make an urgent last minute push to reach an agreement.
Access Info Europe understands that the Council of the EU could be ready to agree with the European Parliament on a limited package of reforms, thereby ensuring that the EU’s access to documents rules are in line with the EU treaties post Lisbon.
Although the Parliament has been holding out for broader strengthening of the access to documents regulation (Regulation 1049) it now seems that they could be ready to secure the more limited changes. Access Info Europe is supportive of a narrower set of reforms, arguing that some positive changes would be a significant victory at this stage, providing that the reform package rejects the expansion of the exceptions whithe Commission has been pushing for since 2008.
Civil society calls on Commission to respect right of access to EU documents
Brussels/Madrid, 14 June 2012 – Civil society organisations and international freedom of information experts have today called on the European Commission to publicly affirm that it respects the right of access to EU documents by taking a clear stand against the inappropriate remarks made last week by official Commission spokesperson, Antonio Gravili.
On Friday 8 June Mr Gravili was quoted by the EUobserver.com, characterising the debate around the reform of the EU's access to documents rules as "infantile" and saying that "some people need to grow up".
The right of access to EU documents is enshrined in the European Treaties, which state that decisions must be "taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen". The European Charter of Fundamental Rights guarantees citizens a right to access EU documents "whatever their medium" in Article 42. The debate about the reform of the EU access to documents Regulation has been ongoing since 2008 because the European Parliament has been resisting the anti-transparency changes proposed by the Commission four years ago.
EU decision-makers push for less transparency
Brussels/Madrid, 5 June 2012 - With tripartite negotiations between the three institutions of the EU going in an anti-transparency direction, Access Info Europe, ClientEarth, European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe and Greenpeace EU, supported by various civil society organisations, are calling on the Council of the EU and its Member States to withdraw regressive amendments to the EU access to documents regulation so that citizens can still enjoy the current level of EU transparency.
Although the revision of the EU access to documents Regulation appears to be on schedule to conclude before the end of the Danish Presidency of the Council - 30 June 2012 - it seems that the traditionally pro-transparency government has been overpowered by Member States such as France, Germany and the UK, which are seeking to limit the public's right of access to EU documents.
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