Madrid, 1 August 2013 – Access Info Europe and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project are conducting comparative research with investigative journalists in 30 countries across Europe on the openness of national company registers. The aim of the project is to push for free public acces to Company Registers across Europe, using the right of access to information.

Currently, the majority of Company Registers are not public in most European countries and in many cases the information is not available free of charge, with prices ranging from 75,000€ to 286,000€ for example.

However, company register information is collected as part of a government function to regulate and oversee the activities of private bodies and in order to provide legal certaintly for those setting up businesses and those conducting business with registered entities.

Because this information is collected by public bodies as part of a  public function and because the purpose of the register is to publicise information about legal entities in a given country, Access Info believes that company registers should be available to all citizens for free.

Furthermore, there is a public interest in knowing both financial information about the operation of private companies and in knowing who the owners of those companies are, particularly in cases where those companies are acting in areas which are of significant public importance (media, health, environment, etc.). The G8 has recognised the value of company registers as and has labelled it a “key dataset” for democratic accountability.

Access Info will be campaigning in Europe so that company registers are made freely accessible to the public, in open format and with no additional cost.

For more information please contact:

Pam Bartlett Quintanilla | Access Info Europe +34 913 656 558