Madrid, 20 November 2015 – Access Info Europe today welcomed recommendations by Sven Giegold MEP, Rapporteur for the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, on greater transparency and accountability ofEU institutions, but has warned that they do not go far enough in addressing the need to improve access to EU documents in law and in practice.
The pro-transparency organisation pointed to the need for exceptions to the right of access to EU documents be subject to a public interest test, and the importance of removing barriers to access such as the requirement since April 2014 that requesters must supply a postal address.
“The increasing use of exceptions, particularly privacy, and practical impediments such as the postal address requirement, are preventing public access to information that is essential for participation in and accountability of Brussels decision making,” said Andreas Pavlou, Campaigner for Access Info Europe.
On the positive side, setting out what could become the Parliament’s position on these matters, Giegold’s report calls for the EU transparency rules to be extended to cover all institutions, in line with the Lisbon Treaty.
Access Info notes that the report also contains measures that will result in increased transparency of decision making such as the recommendation that all trialogue documents held by EU institutions be proactively published and that there be proactive publication of minutes of Eurozone meetings.
Another focus of the report is increasing lobbying transparency by calling for a legal act to close all loopholes and achieve a fully mandatory register for all lobbyists, and banning unregistered lobbyists from meeting rapporteurs and committee presidents.
Access Info noted that to be in line with the International Standards on Lobby Regulation, the Parliament should propose that all unregistered lobbyists are banned from meeting with any MEP.
The Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee has the draft report on its agenda for the 3rd of December. Amendments to the text are possible until the end of January with a vote in committee following two months later in March. A vote in plenary to adopt the report could come in April or May 2016.
For more information, please contact:
Andreas Pavlou | Access Info Europe
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