EU spending watchdog OLAF loses access to documents case against Hungarian civil association after Court finds the protection of inspections cannot serve as a reason to refuse access after such inspections are closed.
Since September 2014, the Open Government in the EU blog scans English-language online news outlets for news on EU transparency. Below, you can find the news digest for 2020.
Central points in news coverage were the use of transparency to fight disinformation, transparency of measures and institutional changes related to the corona pandemic, as well as the German Presidency’s efforts to better regulate the visibility of Council decision making and lobbying activities.
That the transparency of relations between member states and EU Institutions can sometimes have unexpected and extreme consequences is proven by a current transparency row in Hungary.
Journalist Attila Mong recently published a letter from EU Commission President Barrosso to Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán of 19 December 2011 on his blog, and now faces prosecution. The Hungarian government interprets the publication of this leaked document a violation of the PM’s right of privacy of communication. Prosecution could lead to several years’ imprisonment.
Although the leaking of the document concerns an alleged offense under Hungarian law, several international advocacy organisations, among them Access Info Europe, the n-ost Network for Reporting on Eastern Europe and the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM) have expressed their concern. They have pointed out that the pending case creates an atmosphere of fear and that the Hungarian government’s position is not tenable under European law. –MH
Commission spokesman accuses “nutty NGOs” of wasting officials’ time, calling on them to “grow up”.