Madrid, 10 December 2014 – Access Info Europe has called for significant improvements to the legal framework and implementation of the right of access to information at the EU level, as the European Commission finalises its work programme this week.
In the letter to Vice President Timmermans, Access Info suggests the Commission focus on expanding the scope of Regulation 1049/2001 in line with the Treaty of Lisbon to cover all institutions, offices, bodies and agencies; bring exceptions on access to documents into line with international standards; and to clarify the relationship between the right of access to documents and the right to privacy.
The letter to Timmermans highlights further practical obstacles to obtaining information from Brussels bodies such as the requirement to supply postal addresses to register access to documents requests, even when these are initially made via email.
“The Commission needs to act decisively to combat the lack of transparency we encounter every day,” commented Pam Bartlett Quintanilla, Campaign Coordinator at Access Info Europe.
“Despite what we hear, it is difficult for citizens to believe the Commission has turned over a new page on transparency when we still see the excessive use of exceptions such as privacy to deny access to information,” Bartlett added.
The Vice President of the Commission has also been asked to open up and make public secret trialogue meetings often used in the legislative processes.
Access Info Europe also called on him to develop a policy of improved record keeping of meetings, as well as to place an emphasis on proactive transparency of lobbying activities.
You can read a copy of the letter here