Madrid, 6 November 2019 – In advance of the 10 November general elections in Spain, Access Info has been in touch with the main political parties to urge them to strengthen the Transparency Law (which came into force on 10 December 2014), and to adopt laws on regulation of lobbying and on whistleblower protection.
Access Info asked all the political parties for meetings. We were able to meet with Ciudadanos, Junts per Catalunya, Más País and Podemos. To the remaining parties – ERC, IU, PNV, PP, PSOE, VOX – we sent a document with the 10 Principles of the Coalición Pro Acceso, the 100-member NGO platform which is calling for the right of access to information to be fully recognised in Spain, and specific action points for the future legislature.
“We have explained to the political parties how incredibly complicated making an access to information request is in Spain, which is why there are so few requests, meaning the law is a dead letter,” commented Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info.
“We are encouraging all of Spain’s political parties to put the transparency, open government and integrity at the centre of their priorities for the next legislature,” added Darbishire.
The main transparency demands which Access Info has put to the political parties are:
- Recognising the fundamental right of access to information in line with international standards;
- Strengthening the Transparency Law and making it easier to use, so that citizens can make requests without identification and in plain language.
- Training all public officials on the value of transparency in democratic societies;
- Raising awareness of the right to ask for information among the general public
- Regulation of lobbying in line with the International Lobby Regulation Standards;
- Adopting a Whistleblower law in line with the recently approved EU Directive
- Giving the Transparency Council greater independence and the power to sanction violations of the law;
- Addressing the current gender gap in requests: 70% of all requests to the national government are made by men.
Access Info will remain open to meet with and continue communication with all political parties after the elections in order to advance the right of access to information in Spain.