Madrid, 1 July 2022 – This week Access Info submitted an appeal to the Spanish Transparency Council after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused access to any documents at all about Spain’s signature and ratification of the Tromsø Convention, arguing that disclosure might damage international relations. This refusal is perplexing given that ratification of the Tromsø Convention is a flagship commitment under Spain’s IV Open Government Partnership Action Plan, and the signature ceremony in Strasbourg on 23 November 2021 was a very public event covered in Spanish media. The appeal submitted yesterday comes after a tortuous process of a series
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So far Patricia González has created 45 blog entries.
Madrid, 18 May 2022 – Access Info welcomes the news that two more Spanish regions – Asturias and Valencia - have joined Open Government Partnership’s local programme, making Spain the European country with the largest number of sub-national members, at six in total. Access Info is calling on these regional governments to institute strong and inclusive multi-stakeholder forums, something which three of the Spain’s other OGP local members - Aragon, the Basque Country, and Catalonia – have, but the City of Madrid does not. “As a late-comer to the field of transparency, only adopting an access to information law in
Immediate transparency of company ownership is imperative to unveil hidden wealth of Russian oligarchs in the EUPatricia González2022-03-10T11:23:42+01:00
Madrid, 2 March 2022 – Helen Darbishire and Rachel Hanna of Access Info Europe explain why transparency is essential to ensure the effectiveness of the sanctions against Russia. Following the invasion of Ukraine, there has been global outrage at Russia’s blatant disregard for international law, human rights, and the principle of state sovereignty. In an attempt to deter Putin from escalating military action in Ukraine, the EU and its allies have come together to decide on sanctions that directly target Russian oligarchs, freezing their assets – often the fruit of corruption and money laundering – and impeding them from conducting
Access to meetings calendars? Access Info submits Amicus Curiae Brief to the European Court of Human RightsPatricia González2022-03-11T11:57:13+01:00
Madrid / Strasbourg, 14 February 2022 – There is strong comparative evidence from across Europe that national access to information laws apply to the meetings calendars of senior public officials according to a submission made by Access Info to the European Court of Human Rights. This evidence has been presented in the form of an Amicus Curiae (“friend of the court”) Brief submitted in relation to the case of Citizens Network Watchdog Poland vs. Poland currently under consideration by Europe’s top human rights court. This case arose when the organisation Watchdog Poland requested the calendars of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal
Madrid / Brussels, 28 January 2022 – Access Info has hailed today’s decision by the European Ombudsman that Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s text messages with the CEO of Pfizer about Covid vaccine purchases are documents to which the public can request access. Access Info is calling for an urgent reform to ensure that the EU’s twenty-year-old access to documents rules are brought into line with the digital age. Rather remarkably, the European Commission had told Alexander Fanta, a journalist with netzpolitik.org, that because it does not register text messages, these cannot be requested. This refusal came to a
Madrid, 26 January 2021 – Access Info has called on the Spanish government to guarantee a transparent, merit-based process for selection of the head and deputy head of the Spanish Data Protection Agency. Concerns about this process have arisen after allegations surfaced that the two principal political parties (the PSOE and PP) had reached an agreement on who would get the posts (a governing PSOE candidate for the position of President, an opposition PP candidate for the Deputy President position). This brought a warning from the European Data Protection Supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski, who told El País newspaper that “the EU
Madrid, 24 November 2021 – Access Info today welcomed the signature by Spain of the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents – the Tromsø Convention – fulfilling its commitment to do so under Spain’s current Open Government Partnership Action Plan. The Tromsø Convention was signed by Spain’s Representative to the Council of Europe, Manuel Montobbio, on 23 November 2021, in the presence of Assistant Secretary General Bjorn Berge. The commitment to sign and ratify the Tromsø Convention was secured by civil society, with active involvement of Access Info, as part of the co-creation of Spain's IV OGP
Helen Darbishire, Director of Access Info Europe, reflects on what the Pandora Papers tell us about anti-corruption and integrity instruments in Europe, and calls on the European Commission to move urgently on opening up company registers. Helen is a member of the Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership, and is Chair of the UNCAC Coalition, a global civil society network working to combat corruption. Madrid, 4 October 2021 – The Pandora Papers leak reveals, once again, that the mega rich are using legal loopholes to avoid taxes and the corrupt are transferring money out of poorer countries into more
Alicante, 28 September 2021 - On the International Day for Universal Access to Information, Access Info Europe and other (35) organisations of the Coalición Pro Acceso have published a declaration calling on the Spanish government to recognise the right of access to information as a fundamental right, and to adopt a transparency law that applies to all public authorities, as well as to private entities that perform public functions and/or operate mostly with public resources. Among the 18 demands contained in the Declaration of the Coalición Pro Acceso, presented at the VI international Congress on Transparency (Alicante, 27 to 29
Madrid, 20 September 2021 – In an open letter to European Commissioners Thierry Breton and Vera Jourová sent today, Access Info and other leading transparency organisations raised concerns about the Commission’s failure to take a decision on publication of company data under the Open Data Directive, even after the 17 June 2021 deadline Member States to transpose the directive has passed. The European Commission should by now have held a month-long public consultation on the Implementing Act for the Open Data Directive, permitting potential users, including journalists, businesses, and anti-corruption organisations, to put forward arguments as to its democratic value