Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

No Democracy in the European Union Without Transparency

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

The EU’s accession to the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents would help strengthen transparency’s supportive role of transparency, guest blogger dr. Miguel Angel Blanes Climent argues.

 

Citizens do not ask the government for measures against corruption or lack of transparency. There are enough. We just want them to be enforced. There is no use in having the most advanced and ambitious standards against corruption and transparency then if they are not implemented or if the means to exercise them do not work because they are desperately slow due to the lack of funds or they are very expensive in terms of time and costs.

We are still missing the most important thing, a sincere political will to be transparent. And this attitude does not always exist. Of course, without the constant pressure of citizenship, the current attitude of authorities, officials or entities managing public funds will never change.

The challenge is served. Citizens should be aware of the importance for their daily lives and the benefits they can obtain if they demand transparency to entities managing public funds: corruption will be reduced and the waste of our money will be avoided.

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Presentations on Council democracy & transparency

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Early March sees two presentations on the interactions between transparency, democracy, and governance in the Council of the EU, in Lausanne and Brussels.

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On Wednesday 4 March, Open Government in the EU team member Maarten Hillebrandt will give a presentation at the University of Lausanne with the title “Babylonian speech confusion? Transparency’s Role in EU Council Democracy”. The presentation will take place in the context of the spring seminar series “Politique Suisse – enjeux et dilemmes”, convened by the Laboratoire d’analyse de la gouvernance et de l’action publique en Europe (LAGAPE), where Maarten is currently a visiting researcher. See here for more information.

On Thursday 5 March, dr. Stéphanie Novak (Université Catholique de Lille/EHESS Paris) will present work on the relation between transparency and decisional efficiency at the ESPOL Lille/ULB Brussels conference on “The quality of democracy within institutions and organisations”. Click on the flyer for more information.

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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More secrecy and more summits means less democracy, says professor of European Law

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

An article by professor Deirdre Curtin of the Open Government in the EU research group was published yesterday in the Irish Times.

In the article, entitled “Secrecy at EU level is a challenge to democracy“, Curtin, director of the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance, argues that current trends in EU decision-making, partly set in motion by the crisis, partly through the growing role of the EU as a global actor, create an unhealthy level of secrecy accompanied by a lack of democratic deliberation. Below, some excerpts from the article are quoted.

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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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