Posts Tagged ‘access info europe’

New publication: recent case law impacts on the Council’s ability to negotiate in secrecy

Monday, May 25th, 2015
Recent cases at the Court of Justice on Regulation 1049/01 on public access to Parliament, Council and Commission documents set new limits to confidentiality in the Council’s legislative and international negotiations, as Vigjilenca Abazi and Maarten Hillebrandt argue in their recent case note article entitled “The legal limits to confidential negotiations: Recent case law developments in Council transparency: Access Info Europe and In ‘t Veld”, published in the Common Market Law Review.

Coalition of actors criticises Commission’s transparency initiative for falling short

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Recent days have seen a wave of criticism against the new Commission’s transparency initiative. 

Maarten Hillebrandt

The recent campaign of lobbying watchdogs and critical EU actors follows after a conference on the topic, organised by EP vice-president Guillaume and a activist coalition called ALTER-EU, was held on 23 April in the EP. The conference focused on the role and functioning of the EU’s lobbying register and the impact of lobbying in the Council.

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European Court of Justice upholds judgement in Access Info Europe appeal

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

The Court of Justice of the EU dismisses in full the Council’s appeal against an earlier judgement in the much publicised Access Info Europe case.

 

Pam_Helen_Council_FinalThe long awaited judgement of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in the Access Info Europe appeal was finally handed down last week, on 17 October. After losing a case against Access Info Europe (AIE) in front of the lower General Court, the Council appealed. The CJEU now has found that the General Court’s judgement was correct and must therefore be upheld. In total, three separate pleas in law filed by the Council were refuted.

 

On its website, AIE director Helen Darbishire commented: “If the Council applies this ruling to all similar documents, this would finally provide a similar level of transparency at the EU level as one would normally find in national legislative processes.” On Twitter, AIE spoke in equally superlative terms, saying that it was “More than satisfied! The decision we hope will open the door to a more participatory and transparency EU!” The Council, meanwhile, has not given the case any attention on its news homepage.

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Guide on exercising your access to documents rights in the EU

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Image AIE Guide on access Earlier this year, the Madrid-based transparency advocacy organisation Access Info Europe released a manual for those seeking access to European Union documents.

The Guide on Access EU Documents is particularly aimed at citizens and civil society, but also at academics and journalists. By explaining the administrative procedure underlying Regulation 1049/2001 (the EU’s law on access to documents) step by step, AIE seeks to “demystify” an opaque procedure which “remains underused by the population at large”.

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AG Opinion in Access Info Europe appeal: the transparency saga continues

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

logoLast week, Advocate General Cruz Villalón delivered his opinion in the Council’s appeal against the General Court’s Access Info Europe judgement of 2011. (For a background to this case, see an earlier post on this website.) AG Cruz Villalón’s opinion, which can be accessed here, marks another move in the longstanding debate about the role of transparency in the Council and, more broadly, in legislative procedures. The AG takes a principled stance in his opinion, which leads to an uncompromising, at times tough attitude towards the arguments put forward by the Council and its supporting intervenors (Czech Republic, Greece, Spain). In paras 59 and 60 of the opinion, the AG brings the crux of the matter down to a single question, which he immediately answers:

Fundamentally, the question at issue is therefore this: does the identity of the Member States submitting ‘amendments’ in a ‘legislative procedure’ constitute information that may be refused under the exception provided for in Article 4(3) of Regulation No 1049/2001?

The answer to this question must, in my view, be in the negative.

He then goes on to substantiate this position in the light of transparency’s contribution to the overarching principle of democracy.

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