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Politics for People Campaign: Now is time for new MEPs to tackle Corporate Lobbying

elected_meps_spain2Brussels, Madrid, Cologne, 30 May 2014 – Civil society groups from across Europe this week called on newly elected Members of the European Parliament to make an urgent priority of tackling the problem of corporate lobbying in the next parliamentary term.

The call by members of the Alliance for Lobby Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER_EU), of which Access Info Europe is a Steering Committee member, went out to all 751 new MEPs and in particular to the 174 who signed a pre-election pledge under the Politics for People campaign to ‘’stand-up for citizens and democracy against the excessive lobbying influence of banks and big business.”[1]

The Politics for People pledge campaign [2] was one of the most successful civil society pledge campaigns around the 2014 European parliamentary elections, being signed by a total of 1338 candidates. The picture shows the 13 Spanish MEPs who signed the pledge and were elected.

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Civil society calls for full transparency about EU-US trade negotiations

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Madrid, 26 May 2014 – More than 250 civil society organisations worldwide, including Access Info Europe, today called on the European Commission to make the negotiations on the future Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) open and transparent.

The TTIP is the biggest bilateral trade agreement ever negotiated and it will have significant effects on the economy, the environment and the future of citizens on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. There is a clear public interest in being able to follow these negotiations, and yet, since they started, they have taken place behind a veil of secrecy, with the public denied access to details of the proposals.

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UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office cancels court hearing and promises complete information on EU transparency negotiations

notas_uk_2Madrid, 22 May 2014 – The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has pulled out of a case before the UK’s Information Tribunal resulting in cancellation of a court hearing due this week (20-21 May) and has agreed to provide Access Info Europe with full information on negotiations in Brussels to revise the European Union’s transparency rules.

The specialised Information Tribunal issued a formal decision on 21 May 2014 closing a four-year legal process arising from an information request first made on 15 June 2010 by Access Info Europe Campaigner Pam Bartlett Quintanilla.

Just three weeks before the court hearing was due, on 1 May 2014, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office sent a message stating that “After careful consideration of the circumstances of this particular case and making no statement as to how it might act in future cases, the FCO has decided that it is prepared to withdraw its opposition to Ms Quintanilla’s appeal.

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AsktheEU.org Report on Council of the European Union: Transparency problems exposed

Madrid/Brussels, Monday 19 May 2014 - The Council of the EU is failing to comply with EU transparency rules by not respecting time frames for responding, applying too many extensions to requests, and not informing all requesters of their right to appeal when information is denied, according to a report published today by Access Info Europe.

Analysis of 50 access to documents requests submitted to the Council between 2011 and 2013 via the AsktheEU.org platform, found that the average time for answering was 20 working days, significantly over the maximum 15 working days permitted by EU law. Requests which resulted in partial denials of information were answered in an average of 49 working days. Excessive use was made of extensions which were applied in a full 32% of cases. Click here to read the report.

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