Access Info’s director Helen Darbishire participated in this videoconference meeting, where she called on all member states of the Council of Europe (47) to sign and ratify the Coe’s Convention on Access to Official Documents – the Tromsø Convention – with a particular call on France, Germany, Italy and the UK to follow Spain in ensuring that Europe’s largest countries are party to the Convention.

Speaking to the Information Policy group of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, she also called for rapid creation of the Group of Specialists that will monitor the implementation of the Convention after it comes into force on 1 December 2020.

The Tromsø Convention is about the public’s right to know. The pandemic has highlighted the need to know how decisions are being taken, how funds are being allocated, and to have rapid access to data on health and also on public procurement,” said Darbishire.

The Committee of Ministers is the Council of Europe’s statutory decision-making body. It is made up of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of member States. The Committee meets at ministerial level once a year and at Deputies’ level (Permanent Representatives to the Council of Europe) weekly.