Posts Tagged ‘revision’

Inch by inch, the Council crawls towards greater transparency

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Non paper April 2015A new internal note reveals renewed efforts by a small group of member states to take Council transparency forward.

By Maarten Hillebrandt

The embattled EU is currently dealing with issues within, beyond, and on its borders all at the same time. Within its borders, the fresh conservative government of prime minister Cameron has made its first steps to arrange a ‘new deal’ for UK membership, while Hungarian first minister Orban insists that it can -and shall- continue a political debate about the death penalty. Outside of its borders, conflicts in a host of neighbouring countries, particularly Ukraine and Syria, are putting the EU’s security policy under pressure. And on the borders, tens of thousands of asylum seekers and other migrants are attempting the dangerous Mediterranean sea-crossing hoping to reach Italian -and thereby, European- soil.

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New Presidency, New Round of Talks

Friday, August 10th, 2012

The Cyprus presidency has entered the EU transparency battlefield.

In an earlier post on this blog, I commented how the Danish presidency, in a race against the clock in the final weeks of June, failed to find a compromise on the transparency reform dossier that found sufficient support among both the member states and the European Parliament. (The latter having shown, over the years, much assertiveness in the area of what is known among lawyers as constitutional law, and among political scientists as oversight or meta-regulation.) The Danes failed miserably – its draft proposals for either a medium- and a light-version of a reformed Transparency Regulation were torpedoed and were criticised by transparency-friendly parties as a sell-out.

As of 1 July, Cyprus has taken over the presidency. From the early start, the Cypriots have shown a keenness to revive the talks and to start a fresh search for political compromise. A team under the experienced (and nicely-named) Cypriot senior diplomat Dionysis Dionysiou has enbarked on a new reconnaissance mission in bilateral talks to gauge the temperature among the various parties involved, bothinside among the Council members, and outside among the co-legislating EP and groups from civil society.

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Talks on access regulation collapse; Presidency to try an alternative route

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Talks on the revision of the European access to documents regulation have collapsed. The Danish presidency has been unable to reconcile the widely diverging views of parties around the table.

Last week, as the Danish presidency presented a compromise proposal, the atmosphere became particularly vicious. The ministers of justice of Sweden and Finland in an open letter stated that “needless to say” they rejected the Danish proposal and called on the EP to do the same. Days later, a Commission spokesman accused “nutty NGOs” of wasting officials’ time, calling on them to “grow up”. This in turn sparked off a response of indignation from transparency NGOs such as Access Info Europe, which is a longstanding advocate for more transparency in the EU. Over the weekend, talks between the Council and the EP collapsed over widely diverging views on what the reformed regulation should look like. Finally yesterday, the Danish presidency announced officially that it will abondon its efforts to promote the compromise draft.

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Denmark to revive transparency dossier

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

The Danish presidency which took over on 1 January, will attempt to make further progress with the embattled transparency dossier.

The Jack of transparency has been out of the box in the EU ever since the Commission presented a proposal to revise the current law on access to documents, in 2008.

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Dutch Access to Documents (WOB) Controversy

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Not only in the EU is a debate (or should we say, battle) still ongoing over the meaning and usefulness of transparency. Also in the Netherlands has a member of government sought to reopen a fundamental discussion on the current WOB-regime.

WOB is the Dutch equivalent of FOI and comes from the Dutch term Wet Openbaarheid van Bestuur (Law of Administrative Openness). A recent series of public statements made by the Dutch Minister for Home Affairs Donner suggest that the Dutch Government might consider rolling back the current arrangements. (more…)