Madrid, 11 March 2021 – Access Info Europe welcomes the vote by the European Parliament to remove limits on access to information in the controversial Article 113 of the EU’s Fisheries Control regulation.
A majority of 400 MEPs voted on 10 March 2021 for the new language by which data collected as part of the oversight of fishing can be transmitted to others and reused, unless Member States provide reasoned refusals.
The important proposal to change outdated language from 1993 comes after a six-month campaign by Access Info, in collaboration with ClientEarth, the Environmental Justice Foundation, and Oceana, with support from over 70 civil society organisation around Europe.
The amendements still have to complete the legislative process, including trilogue negotiations with the Council and the Commission, before the revised Regulation is finally adopted.
Access Info is now calling on Member States in the Council to support transparency, in line with the right of access to EU documents, which has been a fundamental right of EU citizens and residents since the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon.
“If eventually adopted, what this means is that MEPs and others such as investigative journalists and civil society organisations will be able to guard against wrongdoing, corruption, and environmental damage because they will have better oversight of whether the millions that the EU spends on controlling fishing are being used effectively,” said Martina Tombini, Legal Researcher and Campaigner with Access Info.
The European Parliament also voted for a new provision which establishes that the Fisheries Control regulation is without prejudice to the EU’s Regulation 1049/2001 on access to documents and the Aarhus Convention on access to environmental information.
“The Parliament is supporting removing an anachronistic secrecy provision and changing the paradigm in favour of a presumption of openness and the fundamental right to information. They also recognise that it’s essential that the EU’s rules on access to documents and to environmental information can be used to request data on fishing controls,” said Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info.
The three amendments (333-334-335) approved on 10 March 2021, were tabled by the Greens, presented by MEP Grace O’Sullivan. Other than the Greens, who have supported these amendments from day one in the ENVI and in the PECH Committees, Renew Europe and EPP MEPs supported the pro-transparency outcome.