Access Info Europe today raised a series of concerns about the Spanish government’s Open Government Action Plan which will be presented in Brasilia next week at the Open Government Partnership summit, and has called for a full public consultation on the proposals.
The Action Plan (see version in English on the OGP website here) was developed without input from civil society.
Access Info Europe has issued an analysis of the Spanish text shared informally with four leading civil society organisations on 3 April 2012.
The concerns raised by Access Info Europe include that:
» The current draft of the access to information law which forms a central plank of the Action Plan falls significantly below international standards according to analyses by numerous Spanish civil society organisations and legal experts, as well as by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe;
» The Action Plan contains very few references to public participation, although it does include some rather remarkable proposals under this heading such as encouraging the public to use Twitter to denounce drugs traffickers.
» The Action Plan contains proposals which, whilst by might be seen as laudable in the context of the financial crisis facing Spain, are not open government measures, such as making it possible to set up a business in 24 hours or streamlining the process of applying for direct aid under the Common Agricultural Policy and setting up software for farmers to track their applications.
“The Action Plan shows that the Spanish government needs to do much more work to understand what precisely is open government and a participatory democracy,” commented Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe.
“For a country struggling with a profound economic crisis and endemic corruption, developing strong mechanisms for transparency and accountability are essential if citizens are to work together to build a better future. The Spanish government should use the Open Government Partnership process to develop such mechanisms,” concluded Darbishire.