Posts Tagged ‘ECHR’

General Court Orders Partial Disclosure in Access to ECHR Accession Negotiation Documents Case

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Law professor offers constitutional arguments for the disclosure of important Council documents. The General Court orders the Council to reconsider the scope of partial disclosure, but only on procedural grounds.

By Maarten Hillebrandt

besselink-leonard-fdr-hoogleraar-fotojeroenoerlemansOn Thursday 12 September, the General Court gave its judgment in Besselink v Council (T-331/11). In January 2011, Leonard Besselink (pictured), then Professor of Constitutional Law at Utrecht University, requested access to the documents relating to the EU’s negotiations to accede to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). In these documents, the Council discussed the strategic and substantive instructions to the Commission, which negotiated the accession on the EU’s behalf. The final draft of this draft accession treaty is currently going through the process of ratification. However, the Council refused access to the documents in which it instructed the Commission, on the basis of Article 4(1), third indent, of Regulation 1049/2001 on public access to EU documents. This article states that access must be refused where disclosure would undermine the public interest with regard to international relations.  (more…)

“EU Ombudsman Blasts EC for Denying Document Access”

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Issues of integration, especially of economic integration, and the attached debate on national sovereignty are ranking high among the EU’s perceived transparency gaps these days.

With integration under pressure, markets and civil society nervously follow the news. The UK’s current lukewarmness towards the European project and considerations to rephrase the terms of its engagement are one good example. This week, the European Ombudsman riposted the Commission for refusing to disclose a report assessing the access of UK citizens to fundamental rights stipulated in the European Charter of Human Rights (ECHR), FOIANet reports. The Ombudsman was quoted stating:

In view of the importance of the documents concerned for the rights of EU citizens, and the fact that the Commission failed to engage constructively with the detailed analysis put forward by the Ombudsman, this constitutes a serious instance of maladministration.

So far, the Commission has not come up with a response to the Ombudsman’s report, to the detriment of the requesting party, the NGO European Citizen Action Service.

 For the full article, click here.