Spain Transparency Campaign

13 Jun 2017

Spain’s Transparency Lottery

[Article first published on eldiario.es (in Spanish)] Helen Darbishire, Executive Director Madrid, 13 June 2017 - If the person reading this article had to place a bet, which information would you say it’s easier to access: the salaries of advisers to the ministers or the documents that guide Spanish Cabinet discussions at its traditionally secretive weekly Friday meetings? What’s certain is that talking about transparency in Spain is like buying a lottery ticket: the lack of a government transparency policy makes obtaining information feel more playing roulette than exercising a fundamental right. In fact, Access Info managed to

7 Jun 2017

Spanish Government takes open government secrecy battle to High Court

Madrid, 7 June 2017 – In baffling reluctance to be transparent about its own open government policies, the Spanish Government has appealed to the High Court against last month’s lower court ruling that it should provide Access Info Europe with progress reports on commitments under the Open Government Partnership (OGP). “It’s amazing that the Government is fighting so hard to keep secret information about what it’s doing to advance open government,” stated Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe. The documents on what each Ministry is doing under the OGP Action Plan were first requested by Access Info Europe

4 May 2017

Court Victory: Spanish Government must be open about Open Government Partnership activities!

Madrid, 4 May 2017 – In an important victory for advancing government transparency in Spain, the Madrid High Court has ruled that the Spanish Government should provide Access Info Europe with a series of documents related to its participation in the Open Government Partnership (OGP). In a particularly interesting decision in Spain’s still young and evolving jurisprudence on the right of access to information – the Transparency Law came into force in December 2014 – the Court found that for civil society to participate in decision making on open government policies, having full access to relevant information is essential. “We

4 Apr 2017

How two Spanish journalists got major scoops from just one information request!

Madrid/Perugia, 4 April 2017 - In March leading Spanish newspapers El País and El Confidencial published exclusive stories revealing never-before-seen information that exposed remarkable micro-management by the Spanish Cabinet (“Consejo de Ministros”) of decisions such as overspending on public procurement contracts and the granting or revocation of nationality. These stories – including a full page in the weekend edition of El País as well as a series of stories in the digital El Confidencial – were made possible thanks to a single access to information request by Alba Gutierrez of Access Info Europe. By exploiting a loophole in the Spanish

17 Feb 2017

OGP in Spain: More political will on participation, but legal battles for information are still underway!

[Article first published by the Open Government Partnership Blog] Madrid, 17 February 2017 - February has been a month in which numerous high level political figures in Spain have been found guilty and sent to jail on corruption charges, including King Felipe VI’s own brother-in-law sentenced to six years in prison (more info in English here), things are also moving forward in a positive way when it comes to developing open government, with a new political team working on the next OGP Action Plan and Madrid City Hall holding an innovative, large-scale, public consultation as part of its first OGP

12 Dec 2016

Over 50 Spanish constitutional experts urge recognition of access to information as a fundamental right

Madrid, 12 December 2016 - Over 50 of Spain’s top constitutional experts, lawyers, and academics have called upon the Spanish government to recognise access to information as a fundamental right in line with international jurisprudence which links the right to information to freedom of expression. The experts insist that there is no need for a constitutional reform as the Spanish Constitution already establishes the right to information (Article 20.1.d) and freedom of expression (20.1.a). In the letter, released to coincide with the second anniversary of the entry into force of Spain’s Transparency Law (10 December 2014), the signatories recognised the

24 Nov 2016

Civil society calls on Spanish Government to be open about the Open Government Partnership – again!

Madrid, 24 November 2016 – A letter from seventeen (17) Spanish civil society organisations sent today to the Spanish government calls for information about progress on the third Open Government Partnership Action Plan, as well as urging the Spanish authorities to send ministerial level representatives to the OGP summit, to be held in Paris on 7-9 December 2016. The letter from members of the Coalicíon Pro Acceso[1], also signed by five (5) individual transparency experts, notes that Paris is a high level summit, and at least 32 countries, including France, Germany and the UK, will be sending heads of state

14 Nov 2016

Spanish Transparency Council confirms that Agendas of Cabinet meetings of the Government is public information

Madrid, 14 November 2016 – Access Info today welcomed the recent ruling by the Spanish Transparency Council that agendas of Cabinet meetings constitute information that should be available for public scrutiny in accordance with the obligations set out in Spain’s Transparency Law. The Council’s important Decision rejected the arguments of the Ministry of the Presidency, concluding that publication of the red and green index[1] in the agendas is not “internal information” and does not harm “the confidentiality of the discussions” of the Spanish Cabinet. “This very important decision gives the public the chance to know what topics will be discussed

7 Oct 2016

Global Civil Society Critiques Lack of Transparency in Spain

Madrid, 7 October 2016 – Access Info Europe, Civio, and a total of 22 civil society organisations[1] meeting in Madrid at the International Open Data Conference, have sent a letter to the Spanish government expressing serious concerns about levels of transparency in Spain. Welcoming the hosting of the IODC by the Spanish government and some recent advances, the organisations noted that there is a critical need to improve open data and open government. “We are in a country where the government, surreal as it sounds, is litigating against the Transparency Council to resist publishing documents related to the Open Government

27 Jul 2016

Madrid City Adopts Strong Transparency and Lobby Regulation Rules

Madrid, 27 July 2016 - The Madrid City Council today approved one of the most progressive sub-national transparency regimes in Europe, encompassing proactive publication on a broad scale, the right to request information, including via anonymous requests, and a strong lobby regulation that requires the registration of lobbyists before they meet with public officials. Welcoming the new package of open government measures, Access Info Europe noted that the holistic approach to transparency sets a standard not only in Spain but across Europe and globally, particularly since the Madrid City Hall is a member of the Open Government Partnership sub-national pilot