Feeds

Europe backs changes to FOI laws

Transparency rules to keep politicians on their toes

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

On Tuesday the European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee voted to support minor amendments to Commission's proposals to alter existing EU regulations on public access to EU documents. Both the Commission and the Committee want to update the regulations to reflect new access requirements to documents agreed under the Lisbon Treaty.

Following the Lisbon Treaty coming into effect in 2009 amendments were made to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which sets out the legal framework for EU institutions. Further changes were made to the Treaty of the European Union (TEU), which sets out the underlying principles for EU law-making.

Under the revised TFEU "any citizen of the Union, and any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a member state, shall have a right of access to documents of the Union’s institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, whatever their medium" – subject to certain principles and conditions.

Under the amended TEU "every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen".

The EU's regulations on public access to documents pre-exist the Lisbon Treaty amendments and have still to be updated. The regulations state that the public should generally have the "widest possible" access to files held by the European Parliament, Commission and Council of Ministers only.

Under the European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee-backed proposals, those regulations would be updated to "ensure" citizens have the "widest possible" access to documents from all EU institutions, subject to exceptions. The proposals were recommended in an opinion (6-page/151KB PDF) by Finnish MEP Anneli Jäätteenmäki.

"As stipulated in the current regulation, transparency is one of the most effective guarantees that the administration enjoys greater legitimacy and is more effective and more accountable to the citizen in a democratic system," Jäätteenmäki said.

European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said the Constitutional Affairs Committee's support meant EU citizens were "a step closer" to better rights of access to EU documents.

"The Commission welcomes this opinion as a step towards increasing the rights of citizens to hold European decision-makers to account," Šefčovič said.

"I hope it will pave the way for a two-step approach in improving the rules in this area. In the short term, we need to make the rules compliant with the new Treaty for the benefit of citizens. This will introduce greater transparency in those institutions and bodies which are not yet covered by the rules on access to documents. As a separate step, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission should agree on a deeper overhaul of the rules," he said.

Copyright © 2011, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.