Feeds

Europe backs changes to FOI laws

Transparency rules to keep politicians on their toes

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.