Madrid, 2 March 2018 – Access Info Europe has welcomed today the start of proactive publication of EU Commissioners travel expenses as a positive step towards greater transparency and accountability of spending of public funds. Proactive publication of this information had been a crucial demand of Access Info, which has led a campaign for greater transparency of travel expenses since 2014. Finally, in September 2017 the European Commission had announced changes to Commissioners’ code of conduct that would require publication of these expenses every two months. Since Wednesday (28 February 2018), the information is publicly available online, although it’s not
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So far Luisa Izuzquiza has created 354 blog entries.
Greater transparency of Council legislative process, fundamental for representative democracy, says European OmbudsmanLuisa Izuzquiza 2018-02-13T17:04:51+00:00
Madrid, 13 February 2018 – Access Info today welcomed the European Ombudsman recommendation that the Council of the European Union increase transparency of its legislative process in order to guarantee citizens’ right to hold their elected representatives to account and to participate in the democratic life of the EU. Two main findings of the Ombudsman’s inquiry into transparency of the Council, to which Access Info submitted a series of proposals in December 2017, are that the Council’s systematic failure to record the names of Member States along with their positions on legislative matters constitutes maladministration, and that there is over-classification
Madrid, 8 February 2018 - The General Court of the European Union has ruled that the public does not have the right to access the European Commission’s legal advice on the March 2016 EU-Turkey agreement on returning migrants and asylum seekers from Greece to Turkey. The Commission had applied a series of exceptions to documents requested by Access Info Europe, documents that the court process revealed included late night emails between high level public officials discussing legal and political aspects of the controversial deal. The judgments shed further light on the scope and application by the EU Commission of the
From 7 March 2016, the day when a pre-agreement with Turkey was reached, to 12 April 2016, when the deal was already under implementation, the European Commission consulted with its legal services on a wide range of issues related to the legality of the EU-Turkey agreement. These consultations resulted in a total of 11 documents – sometimes produced at late hours in the night – which were exchanged between the different actors involved in the making of the deal, accompanied with telephone conversations. Access to that information was challenged by Access Info Europe in two cases before the General Court
Madrid, 2 February 2018 - The European Commission has formalised its commitment, first pledged in September 2017, to make public the travel expenses of the Commissioners: on 31 January 2018 the new Code of Conduct for the Members of the European Commission was published and it confirms that mission expenses will be published every two months. This commitment in the new Code of Conduct comes exactly one year since, on 27 January 2017, Access Info launched a public campaign calling for publication of the Commissioners’ travel expenses. The campaign attracted media coverage, over both the lack of transparency and –
This report, Leave No Trace, contains the first comprehensive research into the laws, guidelines, and practices on record keeping across a range of 12 European jurisdictions and the European Commission. It reveals an extremely weak legal infrastructure and hugely variable practice on record keeping, which is undermining the public’s right of access to information: it is impossible to obtain documents that do not exist. The report contains a comparative analysis of the of laws, guidelines, and practices as they relate to the creation and maintenance of information needed for participation and accountability. The direct consequence of the lack of clear-cut
This Legal Analysis, based on a study of the access to information laws in eleven (11) countries and that of the European Union, evaluates the extent to which these laws provide transparency of the documents needed to follow and participate in decision making by public bodies. A valuable resource for academics and activists alike, it has sections on the strength and scope of Europe’s access to information laws, on requirements to create records, and on proactive publication obligations as they relate to documents needed to track decision making. With a focus on key classes of information such as minutes of
Madrid, 3 January 2018 – Access Info has recommended that the Council of the European Union significantly increase transparency of the legislative process, in particular by providing the public with details on the positions that EU Member States take in negotiations on legislation. These recommendations were submitted to the European Ombudsman’s consultation held as part of her enquiry into transparency of the Council, which is based in large part on the case of Council v. Access Info Europe, won by Access Info on 17 October 2013, in which the Court of Justice of the EU established the right of the
For the first time in Spanish democratic history minutes of Cabinet meetings public, thanks to an information requestLuisa Izuzquiza 2018-01-15T16:42:12+00:00
Madrid, 11 December 2017 - Access Info Europe has today published on its website the minutes of Spain’s weekly Cabinet meetings for the years 1996 to 2017, making them available to the public for the first time in Spanish democratic history. The minutes, which contain the decisions reached in each weekly meeting, were obtained using information requests by Access Info as part of collaborative research with journalist Jesús Escudero, and have been published to mark the third anniversary of the entry into force of Spain’s Transparency Law on 10 December 2014. “This is a huge step forward for Spanish democracy,”
Disclosed documents reveal that EU training of Libyan Coast Guard makes negligible reference to human rights protectionLuisa Izuzquiza 2017-11-30T10:17:17+00:00
Madrid, 30 November 2017 – Respect and protection of human rights are a negligible part of the EU’s training to the Libyan Coast Guard, as revealed by the training materials the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) disclosed in response to an access to documents request. From a total of 20 documents – including a video – released, only 0,5% of the content is dedicated to ensuring the protection of human rights. Instead, the presentations and handouts mainly address possible indications of human trafficking, interrogation, and documentation techniques, as well as the handling of weather apps. This comes in