Feeds

Europe backs changes to FOI laws

Transparency rules to keep politicians on their toes

High performance access to file storage

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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
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.