Madrid, 27 March 2020- In several European countries there is poor availability of data on Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality, research by Access Info Europe has found. This makes it impossible for citizens to know how well their country is progressing towards reducing discrimination and violence against women, and securing genuine equality in areas such as education, the workplace, and political participation. Research conducted in seven European countries – Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain and the United Kingdom – on 28 SDG gender-related indicators found huge disparities in the quantity and the quality of data available at
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27 March 2020- Across Europe governments are failing to make public data on gender equality, research by Access Info Europe has found, making it impossible for citizens to track national progress on Sustainable Development Goal indicators on reducing discrimination and violence against women, and on securing equality in education, employment, and political participation. The report “Opening Up SDG 5: What do we know about Gender Equality?”shows that for seven countries – Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain and the United Kingdom – on average little more than half (57%) of the gender-related data is published. The highest level of reporting
Malta, 6 March 2020 – Access Info Europe representatives today met with civil society and journalists from Malta to discuss strategies for improving respect for the right of access to information. The discussion centred on how to ensure that the 2008 Freedom of Information Act is properly implemented, as well as how to secure eventual improvements to the law, and how to change the administrative culture to one more favourable to transparency and open government. The problems identified include high levels of refusals which do not contain detailed justifications, administrative silence, the length of the appeals process, and examples of
Madrid/Brussels, 5 May 2020 – Access Info Europe today joined Open Knowledge Germany and more than 40 civil society organisations in calling on the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) to stop imposing legal fees on activists and human rights defenders in order to prevent them from exercising their right to access information. In a letter sent to the Frontex Director, Fabrice Leggeri, and the Head of Legal and Procurement Unit, Hervé Caniard, the organisations ask the EU agency to retract the lawyers’ bill passed to activists Luisa Izuzquiza and Arne Semsrott, who had presented the first access to
Malta, 5 March 2020 – Access Info today argued before the Maltese Information and Data Protection Appeals Tribunal that denying non-residents the right to request information violates Malta’s commitments under international human rights law, EU law, and its own Constitution. The legal challenge relates to a refusal in August 2019 by Malta’s Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security to register a request on migrant returns made by Access Info’s Martina Tombini on the grounds that Malta’s FOI law states that only those who are EU citizens and have been resident for at least five years can submit requests. In
2 March 2020 – Access Info today expressed its concern at the high lawyers’ bill of €23,700.81 sent by the EU’s border agency Frontex to transparency activists Luisa Izuzquiza and Arne Semsrott, after they lost an access to documents case at the Court of Justice of the European Union. The bill is for outside legal assistance as well as travel costs, although no breakdown of the precise elements has been received. The case related to a request for access to documents about naval operations carried out by Frontex in the Mediterranean as part of border control of trafficking and rescue
27 February 2020 – Access Info Europe today welcomed the online publication of the European Commissioners' Mission Expenses from December 2017 to December 2019, which had been previously taken offline by the European Commission. The renewed publication of the data comes after Access Info denounced its non-availability, submitted a formal request for it via that AsktheEU.org platform, and wrote to Commissioner Vera Jourová, in charge of Values and Transparency; no response has yet been received to that letter. “We are pleased to see that minimum standards of transparency have been restored, in line with the 2017 Commission commitment to publish
Madrid, 14 February 2020 – Citizens across Europe need better access to information to participate in decision-making processes at European, national, and local level. This is one of the main recommendations by Access Info Europe and partners in the publication ‘YOU4EU Policy Recommendations’, presented in Brussels on 6 February 2020 at the high-level conference “Engaging citizens for good governance in Cohesion Policy”. The publication is based on extensive research in five countries by Access Info Europe in Spain, Belgrade Open School in Serbia, Gong in Croatia, Institute Alternative in Montenegro and PiNA in Slovenia. The organisations found that European Institutions
The publication ‘YOU4EU Policy Recommendations’ is the result of the project ‘YOU4EU – Citizen Participation 2.0’. A list of conclusions and recommendations aimed at improving transparency and civic participation across Europe. This publication highlights that, in Europe, there is a pressing need to improve citizen participation in decision-making processes, not only at the EU level, but also at national and local levels. However, there is still a long way to go in Europe: communication channels with citizens must improve, and responses to requests must be faster and more comprehensible, leaving aside confusing administrative terminology. There is also an urgent need
Madrid, 12 February 2020 – Access Info today joined the organisation The Good Lobby, and nearly 250 signatories in sending an open letter to the President of the European Court of Justice, asking for their hearings to be live streamed so that there is genuine transparency in the Court's proceedings. The letter to the Court President, Konen Lenaerts, draws attention to the need of restore citizens' trust in judicial system "at a time of growing, and worrisome, populistic attacks on the judicial branch across the EU." The signatories denounce the lack of transparency of the Court's hearings, which prevents European