Spain Transparency Campaign

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

14 Jun 2016

Spain: The State of Transparency in a Year of Change

Madrid, 14 June 2016 - In the run-up to a second general election in less than a year, Spanish political parties are struggling to live up to their pro-transparency discourse as they offer voters weak transparency agendas for the coming legislative term. As campaigning for the 26 June elections swings into full gear, Access Info Europe is running a reality check on the state of transparency in Spain: what is being done, what isn’t, and what needs to be done to guarantee citizens’ right to know. Second election, halved commitments When at the beginning of the month the Access Info

12 May 2016

Spain: NGOs go to court to obtain documents about lobbying on a controversial energy law

Madrid 12 May 2016 – Two Spanish NGOs are challenging in court a decision by the Transparency Council granting only partial access to lobby documents submitted during elaboration of a controversial 2015 Law that imposes prohibitive taxes on use of home-produced energy (such as from solar power). Access Info Europe and the Platform for a New Energy Model in December 2015 had requested all documents submitted by third parties to the Ministry of Industry; the Ministry denied access on the grounds that the documents are “internal”, invoking one of the most problematic provisions of Spain’s 2013 Transparency Law. The Transparency