Madrid, 31 July 2014 – Access Info Europe today welcomed the decision by the European Ombudsman to call for more proactive disclosure of documents to stakeholders surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, and to open investigations into the Council of the EU and EU Commission’s lack of transparency around these talks.
Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has offered a range of practical measures to enable timely public access to TTIP documents, and to details of meetings with stakeholders. Referring to the pro-transparency jurisprudence established by Access Info’s case against the Council (won in October 2013) as well as by the July 2013 ruling in the case of In ‘t Veld against the European Commission, the Ombudsman questioned the assertion of public harm in the disclosure of the EU negotiating directives for the on-going negotiations.
“The TTIP will be the biggest bilateral free trade agreement in history. It raises concerns for environmental, health and consumer protection, and yet there is far too little information available to the public which will be directly affected,” stated Pam Bartlett Quintanilla, Campaigner with Access Info Europe.
In May 2014, over 250 civil society organisations, including Access Info, called on EU Commissioner De Gucht to increase transparency of the TTIP process. In spite of these calls, far too little information is publicly available. A number of TTIP-related requests have also been made through the request platform AsktheEU.org but have not resulted in significant disclosure of documents; some requests are still ongoing.
“We are at a crucial moment in the history of EU transparency and this is a test case for the principle that we citizens have a right to know about, follow and participate in key decision making processes,” added Helen Darbishire, Executive Director, Access Info Europe.
Access Info Europe calls for the publication of the negotiating mandate, all documents submitted by the European Union during the negotiations, and the negotiating texts themselves.
For more information, please contact:
Helen Darbishire, Access Info Europe
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