EC Finds Fault With Spain’s New Information Access Law

3 February 2014

The European Commission Feb. 3 praised Spain for passing a law on access to public information, but said it needs improvement.

In particular, independent oversight should be added, the report said, and its implementation hastened.

The comments came in a wide-ranging report on Spain’s anti-corruption efforts.

The law adopted in December “represents a significant step forward,” the report states.

“It has a three-fold purpose: to expand and strengthen transparency of public activities, to recognise and safeguard the right to access to information, and to establish good governance obligations for public officials, including corresponding sanctions. It provides for compulsory quarterly publication of budgetary execution, allowing for irregularities to be identified and investigated,” the EC report summarized, also noting the planned creation of a transparency portal to serve as a single entry point to public information for citizens.

However, the planned Transparency and Good Government Committee to administer the law, appointed by the government and endorsed by the Parliament, lacks independence, the commission wrote.

In addition, the report says that “and further consideration could have been given to an enhanced sanctioning system and a narrower scope of exceptions from the principle of access to information.”

The Commission noted that the law’s entry into force is postponed for two years in a number of administrations, particularly regional and local ones. The law will not be in force at the national level until Dec. 10, 2014, and at the regional and local level not until December 2015.

Access Info Europe urged the Spanish government to act immediately on the recommendations. “A strong access to information regime is essential for fighting corruption and it’s once again clear that Spain is seriously lagging behind on transparency and will continue that way unless urgent measures are taken to strengthen the legal framework for access to information,” commented Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe, in a press statement.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: ,

Filed under: What's New