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Open data to get your teeth into!

Access Info invites open analysis of UK FCO documents

fco_call_ukMadrid, 4 August 2014 – Access Info Europe called for fellow freedom of information activists to help analyse and discover the information and data held in the tens of UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office documents on negotiations in Brussels to revise the European Union's transparency law, in a crowdsourcing initiative launched today.

Download the documents here!

These documents, obtained as a result of a four-year legal battle, are a unprecedented insight into the debate around the right of access to EU documents that has been going on since 2008, and could prove which EU countries are, and are not, transparency champions.

Dive into the data and help shed some light on the relations between the EU and Member States and the so-called "policy-laundering" phenomenon, whereby citizens are told the EU is to blame for certain decisions which actually involve full and proactive Member State representatives' participation.

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European Ombudsman urges proactive transparency of EU-US trade talks

TTIP_protest_in_LondonMadrid, 31 July 2014 – Access Info Europe today welcomed the decision by the European Ombudsman to call for more proactive disclosure of documents to stakeholders surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, and to open investigations into the Council of the EU and EU Commission’s lack of transparency around these talks.

Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has offered a range of practical measures to enable timely public access to TTIP documents, and to details of meetings with stakeholders. Referring to the pro-transparency jurisprudence established by Access Info’s case against the Council (won in October 2013) as well as by the July 2013 ruling in the case of In ‘t Veld against the European Commission, the Ombudsman questioned the assertion of public harm in the disclosure of the EU negotiating directives for the on-going negotiations.

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The In ‘t Veld Ruling: Raising the Bar for Denying Access to EU Documents

Madrid, 25 July 2014 - Helen Darbishire and Pamela Bartlett of Access Info Europe analyse the wider consequences of the recent European Court of Justice ruling, which will make it harder to deny access to EU documents relating to international relations or to containing legal advice.

The 3 July 2014 pro-transparency ruling by the European Court of Justice in the legal battle for access to negotiations between the European Union and the United States on sharing financial transaction data in order to fight terrorism, will make it harder for the EU to deny access to documents relating to international relations and legal advice, according to a leaked document seen by Access Info Europe.

In the document, drafted in response the court victory by Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld, the General Secretariat of the Council concludes that "it is becoming increasingly difficult to demonstrate that disclosure of a specific document would 'specifically and actually' undermine an interest protected by an exception in Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001."

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Legal Leaks Challenge: Write Your Access To Information Story

ll_challenge_posterMadrid, 24 July 2014 – As part of the Legal Leaks trainings which has taken place during the month of June in five different countries in the Balkans – Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia -, Access Info Europe and UNESCO, in partnership with the EU Commission, has organised a challenge for journalists taking part in these courses.

What is the challenge about?

Journalists shall write a story based on one or more access to information requests they have previously made. The article will have to be written in English, and will be a maximum of 2000 words long.
We will positively rate articles based on access to information requests filed in several different countries.

What are the deliverables? 

» The article, in English, of maximum 2000 words.
»
A document where the applicant must describe the access to information requests that he or she made, and an explanation of the request process they went through.

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