New Commission President Juncker Commits to Transparency on Trade Deals and to a mandatory EU lobby register
Madrid, 16 July 2014 - Access Info Europe welcomed the commitment made today by new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to transparency of decision making, particularly with respect to lobbying and international trade negotiations, and to enacting a mandatory register of lobbyists.
The commitment by Juncker at his confirmation hearing in the European Parliament included specific references to transparency during all steps of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, something which Access Info Europe along with over 250 civil society groups have been calling for since the negotiations began.
MEPs urged to push lobby transparency to top of Juncker's agenda
Brussels, 15 July 2014 - Access Info Europe as part of ALTER-EU is calling upon Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to ensure that improvements in the area of lobby transparency, conflicts of interest, and ethics are placed high on the agenda of the new European Commission, as they prepare to quiz its president-elect Jean-Claude Juncker today.
During the recent EU elections, 177 elected MEPs signed ALTER-EU's Politics for People pledge in which they committed to “stand-up for citizens and democracy against the excessive lobbying influence of banks and big business” upon entering office.
Cypriot draft access to information law needs significant improvement according to civil society organisations
Madrid/Nicosia, 3 July 2014 - Access Info Europe has called upon the Republic of Cyprus to significantly improve the recently proposed draft law on access to information to come into line with international standards, in recommendations submitted as part of a public consultation.
In the submission made this week to the consultation, Access Info welcomed the decision of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to propose the adoption of a legal framework to facilitate the exercise of the right of access to information. The civil society organisation did make it clear that the scope of the current text however, only available in Greek, is limited. It does not recognise access to information as a fundamental right, it excludes many public institutions and branches of government, there is no appeal mechanism through an information commissioner to challenge denials for disclosure, and requesters will be required to produce identification to make a request.
Austria Constitutional Amendment:
Abolishing secrecy but failing to recognise the right to Information
Madrid, 16 June 2014 – The Austrian government is on the point of missing an historical opportunity to bring the constitution into line with international standards on the right of access to information, according to open government experts Access Info Europe.
Access Info today welcomed the proposal to abolish the constitutional protection of secrecy, a provision first adopted in 1920, which places an obligation on public officials to maintain official secrecy.
But Access Info Europe’s Executive Director Helen Darbishire expressed concerns that the proposed replacement amendment is so weak and limited that it is not likely to have any impact on freedom of information in Austria.