Thursday, 12 March 2009

European Union: Access to documents

Do you think that the citizens of the European Union should be kept in the dark, to allow the member states undisturbed freedom to deal behind closed doors in the Council? Do you think that the existing provisions on access to documents should be judiciously restricted? Should the media be spared unnecessary expense doing investigative work?

If your answer is yes, you have nothing to worry about.

The Commission and a Council majority are at work to keep ‘harmful’ content out of your reach and the media reporting on the EU soporific.

If, on the other hand, you believe in a European Union ‘in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen’, you may want to take a look at the Statewatch Observatory: the Regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-2009, where Professor Steve Peers analyses the positions of the EU institutions step by step and Article by Article (latest update 11 March 2009):


Cashman report

Yesterday 11 March 2009 the European Parliament voted on the Cashman report, but referred the matter back to the committee according to Rule 53(2) of the EP’s Rules of Procedure, meaning that the Commission has indicated that it is not going to accept all the amendments. The provisional version of the resolutions can be found here (with the resolution on the Cashman report starting on page 49):

The heading of the resolution:

P6_TA-PROV(2009)0114 Public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (recast) ***I
Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (recast) (COM(2008)0229 – C6-0184/2008 – 2008/0090(COD))
(Codecision procedure - recast)


Watching the watchmen?

Although the EP has generally come out on the side of openness, there is as usual a disconcerting detail about its attitude with regard to its own members.
In The Telegraph, Bruno Waterfield reports ‘Euro-MPs keep their expenses secret’ (11 March 2009):


About time for the editorialists of European media to wake up, don’t you think?

Ralf Grahn