11 Apr 2017

Pushing for beneficial ownership transparency in Europe

[Article first published by the UNCAC Coalition Blog] Andreas Pavlou, RTI Campaigner and Researcher   Madrid, 11 April 2017 - Earlier this year, the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs and Civil Liberties committees voted to strengthen beneficial ownership transparency rules across the European Union as part of the current revision to the 4th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive. The proposed changes, if adopted in plenary, would mean EU citizens could access registers of beneficial owners of companies and trusts without having to demonstrate a “legitimate interest”, as is currently the case. This is something that will make it

22 Mar 2017

European Civil Society Organsations Urge EU to Publish Anti-Corruption Reports

Madrid, 22 March 2017 – Access Info Europe, Transparency International EU, and 56 other civil society organisations have urged the Commission in an open letter not to abandon its leadership role in the fight against corruption, after it dropped the publication of long-awaited anti-corruption reports of all 28 Member States earlier this year. The letter, also being sent directly to First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, comes after an access to EU documents request for the actual draft reports was submitted by 14 leading transparency and anti-corruption organisations in Europe, including Access Info. “Access to these reports is essential in giving European

10 Mar 2017

The risks of transparency in times of rising populism

[Article first published by the UNCAC Coalition Blog] Helen Darbishire, Executive Director Madrid, 10 March 2017 - It’s not often that your own colleagues working on democracy issues actually question the wisdom of pressing for greater transparency, but this has happened to me a few times lately. Most recently, I’ve been asked about the wisdom of pursuing Access Info’s high profile campaign to get the European Commission to publish the travel expenses of EU Commissioners. The fear seems to be that this very peculiar time in European history – with sensitive elections in France and the Netherlands, with

3 Mar 2017

Why is the European Commission not publishing reports on Corruption in the 28 Member States?

Madrid, 3 March 2017 – Fourteen (14) of Europe’s leading transparency organisations today submitted a formal request for EU documents in an attempt to understand what lies behind the European Commission’s surprise decision not to publish the EU Anti-Corruption Report, which was originally scheduled for publication in 2016. The unexpected decision to permanently shelve the second edition of the EU Anti-Corruption Report, first published in 2014, was announced by Vice-President Frans Timmermans in a letter to the European Parliament in early 2017. The watchdog organisations from across the European Union have requested documents relating to the decision to withhold the

1 Mar 2017

European Parliament votes in favour of stronger EU-wide beneficial ownership transparency rules

Madrid, 1 March 2017 - Access Info Europe has welcomed yesterday’s vote by the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs and Civil Liberties committees to strengthen beneficial ownership transparency rules across the European Union. The amendments to the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive agreed by MEPs would mean EU citizens could access registers of beneficial owners of companies and trusts without having to demonstrate a “legitimate interest” something that will make it easier for investigative journalists and anti-corruption watchdogs to track down illegal activity, organised crime, money laundering and large-scale tax evasion. “Only full transparency of beneficial ownership registers across Europe

19 Jun 2015

Transparency is Essential for a Credible Post-2015 Development Agenda

Madrid, 19 June 2015 – Access Info Europe has joined civil society organisations from around the globe in calling on the UN to take significant steps to integrate transparency, accountability and participation more fully into the Post-2015 development agenda. In proposing a series of crucial edits to the “Zero Draft” of the Outcome Document for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Transparency, Accountability and Participation (TAP) Network argues that a development framework that fails to promote openness will lack credibility and risks disempowering the very communities it should be serving. “The development agenda for the next 15 years must include mechanisms that

10 Jun 2015

Civil society urges World Bank to collect and publish beneficial ownership data of contractors

Madrid, 10 June 2015 - Over 100 civil society organizations from around the globe including Access Info Europe, on 8 June 2015 called on the World Bank to require that all companies bidding for Bank-financed procurements disclose their beneficial ownership information and that this information be published in an open data format as part of the Bank’s efforts to foster transparency in its contracting practices. Such a move would be in line with current trends to end corporate anonymity: On 5 June 2015, the Norwegian Parliament voted unanimously to establish a beneficial ownership registry, following in the footsteps of the

9 Dec 2014

End impunity for corruption and recognize people’s rights to information and participation

Hundreds of groups worldwide call for governments to act Madrid, 9 December 2014 - On the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day, the UNCAC Coalition, an anti-corruption network of 350 public interest groups worldwide and of which Access Info Europe is Europe Region Corrdinator, is calling on governments to get serious about tackling corruption as they agreed when they adopted the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The groups point to a hemorrhaging of public resources and growing inequality and instability around the world due to corruption. One concrete step that governments should take without further delay is to establish a requirement

26 Feb 2014

Launch of new global campaign to stop secret government contracting

Madrid, 27 February 2014 - Today sees the launch of a new global campaign, Stop Secret Contracts, calling on world leaders to end secrecy in public contracting. The campaign is coordinated by the Open Knowledge Foundation, and signed by Access Info Europe along with  signatories including Global Witness, Integrity Action, the International Budget Partnership, the Sunlight Foundation and Transparency International. The need for openness and transparency in contracting is an issue which has gathered increasing momentum in recent years. The global value of government contracts estimated at $9.5 trillion [1], but even in countries with strong government transparency laws the

12 Dec 2013

UN anti corruption conference makes progress on beneficial ownership transparency and access to information

Madrid, 13 December 2013 – Access Info Europe has welcomed the progress made on beneficial ownership transparency and access to information mechanisms during the recent conference of governments which are signatories to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), held on 25-29 November in Panama. Access Info Europe has been engaged in advocacy for stronger transparency mechanisms under the UNCAC as part of the UNCAC Coalition of civil society organisations. The agreement to promote transparency of the real owners of businesses followed significant advocacy work by civil society as well as an impassioned conference speech by former UN Secretary General Kofi