Meeting with Ministry of Presidency secures commitment on draft law
Madrid, 17 march 2011– A meeting held today between Spain’s Ministry of the Presidency and civil society organisations of Spain’s Coalicion Pro Acceso resulted in a commitment to provide, within one month, information on whether or not the Spanish government will pass the draft transparency law to the parliament.
After explaining the delays in the adoption of the law given, amongst other things, other urgent matters facing government, Minister Ramón Jáuregui assured the Coalition that the law has not been definitively shelved, and that during the coming month he will analyse the situation and take a decision.
“The urgent should not block the important,” commented Professor Manuel Sánchez de Diego, “and the right of access to information is an extremely important matter. It is a right essential for improving efficiency of the public administration, for drastically reducing corruption, and for stimulating the economy; transparency can be a positive influence in times of crisis.”
Jesús Lizcano, of Transparencia Internacional, pointed to the lack of transparency in the process of adopting the law. The Minister apologised for not replying to the last letter from the Coalicion (sent in January) – something triggered the Twitter campaign that led to this week’s meeting –and committed to improving dialogue with the Coalition.
During the meeting, the Coalition presented its analysis of the draft law, underlining the need to recognise that access to information is a fundamental right, part of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the need to widen the scope of the law and to include, among other things, data bases.
The Coalition team explained that the current legal framework and transparency initiatives in Spain need to be brought together in one law and in this sense that, as Ana Etchenique of CECU stressed, “the right of access to information is essential to ensure a relation of equality and trust between the citizen and political power.”
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(Left to Right) Manuel Sanchez de Diego, Profesor titular de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid; Irene Milleiro, Directora de Campañas y estudios de Intermón Oxfam; María Ángeles Ahumada, Ministerio de la Predencia; Jesús Lizcano, presidente de Transparencia Internacional España; Ramón Jáuregui, Ministro de la Presidencia; Ana Etchenique, CECU; Carlos Cordero, Access Info Europe; Victoria Anderica Caffarena, Access Info Europe