Wednesday, 15 December 2010

EU Council: Why keep EU2020 implementation report secret? (Updated)

Yesterday I tried to follow single market developments and the Europe 2020 strategy (EU2020) by publishing two blog posts on Grahnlaw Suomi Finland:

EU Competitiveness Council on Single Market Act

Latest on Europe 2020 strategy

In the later post I mentioned the follow-up from the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union:

The document in question is probably 'Europe 2020 Strategy - Implementation report' (dated 7 December 2010, Council document 17574/10), sadly not public at this moment, but hopefully it will be published with the GAC conclusions today.

General Affairs Council

Today, 15 December 2010, we go to the press release from the GAC:

3060th Council meeting General Affairs; Brussels, 14 December 2010 (Council document 17871/10)

On page 26 we find the Europe 2020 strategy (interesting in itself and relevant to the Single Market Act). I regret to say that my hope for publication was dashed:


The Council took note of a report from the presidency on implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy for jobs and growth. --- The report will be submitted to the European Council with a view to its meeting on 16 and 17 December. It provides an overview of work undertaken since Europe 2020 was launched in June.

Meaning of openness?

I understand if the European Council wants to prevent its conclusions from being published ahead of time (although a greater problem would seem to be how to get even a few people to read them voluntarily at any time, i.e. without duty and salary).

But why on earth does the Council keep this report on implementation under wraps? Is not this implementation report o typical example of a document which could promote informed discussion about the grand strategy of the European Union for the decade until 2020?

Is it not important for openness (transparency) that the public is informed about facts and proposals before they are discussed officially and possible decisions (even if dull conclusions) are taken, especially by the most influential institution of the EU?

Update early hours 17 December 2010: Europe 2020 Strategy - Implementation report, addressed to the General Affairs Council (7 December 2010, document 17574/10) is still not accessible on the Council website.

Update two, 17 December 2010: Somehow, I feel that the lack of openness and response ties in with what Jon Worth wrote about the precipitated taking down of the #EUCO Twitter wall yesterday evening.

Update three, 30 December 2010: Sadly, in the dying days of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union, the EU2020 implementation report 17574/10 of 7 December and 17574/1/10 REV 1 of 13 December 2010 are still not accessible to the public.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Michael Geist's Blog tries to keep the interests of netizens and users at the forefront in a world where the critical distance between copyright lobbies on the one hand, and national governments and EU institutions on the other hand, still seems to be negligible.