Madrid, 14 September 2017 – Access Info today cautiously welcomed draft changes to the Code of Conduct for EU Commissioners announced yesterday by the EU, which will require the proactive publication of travel expenses every two months.

The pro-transparency organisation, which, with the support of 120 citizens from across Europe, has been campaigning for access to the Commissioners’ travel expenses, noted that the draft text of the Code contains nothing on the precise data to be made public.

Access Info has called for more specificities. “The devil is in the detail. A truly transparent system will provide citizens with enough detail for them to understand where and how taxpayers’ money is spent on travel, accommodation, and other costs, and judge for themselves whether it is being spent appropriately,” stated Andreas Pavlou, campaigner and researcher at Access Info Europe.

The new draft rules, laid out in Article 6.2 of the Code, would cover all missions undertaken by Commissioners unless publication of the information would undermine the protection of the public interest as regards public security, defence and military matters, international relations or the financial, monetary or economic policy of the Union or a Member State.

It is essential the Commission interpret any restrictions to transparency of their expenses very narrowly. If it is publically known that Commissioners are travelling on a certain mission, there is little reason for the cost of it to therefore be hidden from public view,” states Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info.

The Ombudsman also reacted to the news noting that the changes will be examined “in detail, in particular to verify that the new rules satisfactorily address issues that have been raised with my office.”

The campaign by Access Info Europe for access to EU Commissioners’ travel expenses for 2016 is being dealt with via a complaint to the Ombudsman made by 53 European citizens.

The reforms announced by President Juncker to the Code of Conduct for Commissioners follows the State of the European Union address yesterday.

For more information, please contact:

Luisa Izuzquiza, Communications Officer | Access Info Europe
Andreas Pavlou, Campaigner and Researcher | Access Info Europe

Send an e-mail or call +34 913 656 558

Photo: European Parliament via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)