European Union

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  • 11 May 2017

    Access Info Europe Urges More EU Transparency

    On Europe Day, Access Info Europe is calling on the European Union to commit to and implement essential transparency and open government reforms to reverse the growing sense among European citizens that they are distanced from Brussels and that decisions are taken behind closed doors with little or no accountability. Access Info’s mapping, carried out with our […]

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  • 16 March 2017

    The risks of transparency in times of rising populism

    By Helen Darbishire The author is Executive Director of Access Info Europe where this article was first published. It’s not often that your own colleagues working on democracy issues actually question the wisdom of pressing for greater transparency, but this has happened to me a few times lately. Most recently, I’ve been asked about the […]

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News Archive

  • 10 November 2016

    EU HR Court Recognizes Limited Right to Information

    The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that there is a right to information under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. “It’s not a full recognition of a right for all people all the time,” wrote David Banisar of Article 19, “but in those cases where disclosure […]

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  • 23 June 2016

    Report Recommends Updating EU Access Regime

    European Union policies on access to documents are “seriously outdated,” according to a new report prepared for a parliamentary committee. A series of mostly critical recommendations were made by the two law professor authors: Deirdre Curtin of the European University Institute of Florence and Päivi Leino-Sandberg of the University of Helsinki. The report was commissioned […]

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  • 11 February 2016

    EU Open Data Efforts Only Halfway There, Study says

    More political will is necessary in Europe to advance access to open government data, according to a new report prepared for the European Data Portal project. The existing national data portals in EU countries are falling well short of their potential, according to detailed research by Capgemini Consulting in the report entitled “Open Data Maturity […]

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  • 3 February 2016

    Report Says EU Needs Stronger Transparency

    Transparency in the European Union needs strengthening, according to a new report by journalist Staffan Dahllöf. The report, “Transparency through tinted windows,” was published by the Organisation for European Interstate Cooperation, a think tank financially supported by the European Parliament. The report was published in Swedish and translated into English. Dahllöf examines the legal basis […]

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  • 8 January 2015

    EU Ombudsman Seeks More Trade Talk Transparency

    The European Commission on Jan. 7 issued more documents concerning the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the United States, a move welcomed by the European Ombudsman, who said even more should be disclosed. Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly issued an extensive report that includes numerous recommendations for the Commission, challenging the EC not to […]

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  • 6 November 2014

    ECB Releases Letter at Urging of EU Ombudsman

    The Governing Council of the European Central Bank Nov. 6 decided to publish a letter written four years by former ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet to then Irish Finance minister Brian Lenihan. The announcement said the release of the document “honoured” a request in March by the European Ombudsman that the ECB reconsider its previous refusal […]

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  • 14 October 2014

    Freedom of Information as a Fundamental Right

    By Aiden O’Neill The author is a member of Matrix Chambers in London. 1. Introduction 1.1 One aspect of the rule of law in the context of the information age is the ideal of transparency: that members of civil society should be able to ascertain the factual and legal bases on which official decisions are being […]

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  • 9 October 2014

    EU Discloses Document on Trade Talks With US

    The Council of the European Union Oct. 9 published its previously secret negotiating mandate for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States. “Although the directives empowering the European Commission to talk to Washington on the EU’s behalf were classified, they have in fact been freely available online since June 2013,” explained an article […]

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  • 25 September 2014

    Deadlocked EU transparency reform finds new impetus

    By James Crisp This article first appeared in At the end of the article are many links. EXCLUSIVE: The new European Commission must look again at the European Union’s deadlocked transparency regulation and push through long-delayed reforms, the EU Ombudsman, MEPs and activists have said. Embarrassing court defeats for the European Commission and Council, […]

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  • 25 September 2014

    European Union Institutions Need Transparency

    By Sophie in ‘t Veld  The author is a member of the EU Parliament from the Dutch social liberal party Democrats 66 and of the ALDE group in the European Parliament. This article first appeared in  Sir Humphrey Appleby to Prime Minister Jim Hacker: “Open government, Prime Minister. Freedom of information. We should always tell the press freely and […]

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  • 31 July 2014

    EU Ombudsman Presses for Trade Talk Transparency

    European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly July 31 said the Council of the European Union should publish the EU negotiating directives for the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the United States. In her letter to the Council, she raises doubts, based on a leaked document, that the directives should be kept secret. Commenting […]

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  • 24 July 2014

    The In ‘t Veld Ruling: Raising the Bar for Denying Access to EU Documents

    By Helen Darbishire and Pamela Bartlett Quintanilla The authors — Darbishire, Executive Director, and Quintanilla, Researcher and Campaigner, at Access Info Europe — analyze the wider consequences of the recent European Court of Justice ruling (See previous report). The July 3, 2014, pro-transparency ruling by the European Court of Justice in the legal battle for access to negotiations […]

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  • 3 July 2014

    European Court Supports Disclosure of Document

    The European Court of Justice has endorsed  disclosure of a document concerning European Union negotiations with the United States on the handling of citizens’ banking information. The court backed a July 2009 request by a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, Sophie in ‘t Veld, for access to a legal opinion prepared during negotiations that […]

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  • 6 June 2014

    EC Criticized for Demanding Addresses in Online Requests

    Access Info Europe on June 2 charged that the European Commission “is impeding the public’s right to submit access to documents requests via the web portal by refusing to register requests which are not accompanied by a postal address.” is run by Access Info Europe and forwards users’ requests via email, with requests […]

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  • 23 May 2014

    UK Agrees to Provide Document on EU Discussions

    Reversing course, the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has agreed to provide Access Info Europe with information on negotiations in Brussels to revise the European Union’s transparency rules. The changed position will end a four-year legal process arising from an information request made June 15, 2010, by Access Info Europe Campaigner Pam Bartlett […]

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  • 23 May 2014

    EU Right to Be Forgotten Ruling Sets Wheels in Motion

    The implications of the European Court of Justice ruling on the “right to be forgotten” are being widely discussed, with much uncertain about its practical ramifications, including for accurate public information. In early June, EU data protection authorities are expected to convene to discuss adopting a consistent approach across Europe. Google has been in contact […]

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  • 19 May 2014

    Access Info Europe Finds Delays in Council Responses

    The Council of the European Union responds to information requests in an average of 20 working days, above the 15 days under law, according to a study issued May 19 by Access Info Europe The Council also is applying too many extensions to requests and not informing all requesters of their right to appeal when […]

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  • 16 May 2014

    EU Ombudsman Continues Pressing Transparency Issues

    European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has raised transparency concerns in two areas, announcing an investigation May 14 into the composition and transparency of the Commission’s expert groups, and asking on May 16 about clinical trial data transparency. On expert groups, she asked interested persons and organizations for feedback “on how balanced the representation of relevant areas […]

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  • 25 April 2014

    Transparency International Scores EU Transparency

    An adequate legal foundation for transparency exists in the European Union, but it is undercut in ways that foster corruption risks, according to a new 248-page report by Transparency International. The EU Integrity System report issued April 24 evaluates 10 EU institutions and bodies regarding transparency, accountability, independence, integrity and other factors. A solid legal foundation, […]

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  • 4 April 2014

    EU Parliament Votes to Release Clinical Trial Data

    The European Parliament voted April 2 to make public information about clinical trials for drugs. The new law is expected to go into effect in 2016 and will affect only new clinic trials. (See Reuters report.) “The vote, which confirms an informal deal reached in December between Parliament and the European Union’s 28 member states, […]

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  • 3 April 2014

    FOI Notes: EU, OGP, Open Data, Journalism, Broadway

    European Union: StateWatch comments on access at three EU institutions, stating:  Frontex given until end of March 2014 to comply with the Ombudsman’s Recommendations to change its Management Board Decision putting into effect the Regulation on public access to EU documents  Eurojust seeks to avoid any compliance until some undefined point in the future  Europol […]

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  • 28 March 2014

    Secrecy Rules in EU Despite European Court Judgment

    By Staffan Dahllöf This article first appeared March 26 in Wobbing EU. EU ministers have postponed implementing a judgement on transparency and rejected disclosing alternatives discussed – and leaked. Six member states vote against secrecy. The European Ombudsman has been asked to step in. More than five months have gone since the European Court of Justice in […]

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  • 7 March 2014

    EU Ombudsman Says ECB Being Too Secretive

    European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has chastised the Governing Council of the European Central Bank for blocking disclosure of an ECB letter called on the Irish government to take swift action to protect the stability of the Irish financial system. “I regret that the Governing Council of the ECB has wasted an opportunity to apply the […]

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  • 21 February 2014

    EU Court Rules for ECB, Against Bloomberg News

    The European Union Court of Justice in a Feb. 6 decision rejected an appeal of a lower court decision saying the European Central Bank does not need to disclose its reports on how Greece used derivatives to hide its debt. The suit was brought in December 2010 by Bloomberg News. “European taxpayers, bearing the cost of […]

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  • 7 February 2014

    EU Council Obstructs Ruling on Transparency

    By Staffan Dahllöf This article first appeared in Wobbing EU on Feb. 7.  Dahllöf is a freelancer who regularly contributes to the website Wobbing EU.  ( reported on the referenced October ruling.) The Council of the EU has classified its own reaction to a landmark ruling on transparency by the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg. […]

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  • 22 January 2014

    EU Ombudsman Supports Disclosure of Legal Document

    The European Ombudsman has ruled that the European Council should not have denied access to a document drawn up in the context of negotiations between EU member states with an eye to finding arrangements for ensuring compliance with the balanced budget rule contained in the Fiscal Compact Treaty. “By failing to justify why it cannot […]

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  • 22 January 2014

    ECtHR extends case law on information on health risks

    By Lieselot Verdonck Lieselot is a Ph.D. candidate at the Human Rights Centre, Faculty of Law of Ghent University. More information on the author can be found here. This article first appeared Jan. 20 on the blog Strasbourg Observer, which comments on developments in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights Over […]

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  • 2 December 2013

    European Court Rules in Favor of Austrian NGO

    The European Court of Human Rights held Nov. 28 that an Austrian government body’s refusal to grant an Austrian nongovernmental organization access to official documents was unjustified. The majority ruling came in the case of Österreichische Vereinigung zur Erhaltung, Stärkung und Schaffung eines wirtschaftlich gesunden land- und forstwirtschaftlichen Grundbesitzes v. Austria (application no. 39534/07). The […]

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  • 17 October 2013

    Top European Court Rules in Favor of Transparency

    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) Oct. 17 ruled that the Council of the European Union can’t keep secret the identities of member states making proposals in the context of negotiations on EU legislation. “This is a significant victory for transparency and participatory democracy,” said Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access-Info Europe, the winning plaintiff. The final […]

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  • 3 October 2013

    European Advisory Group Backs Tshwane Principles

    A body of European parliamentarians that bills itself as “the democratic conscience of Greater Europe” has endorsed “reasonable limits” on the use of “national security” as a ground for secrecy. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Oct. 2 passed a Resolution on National Security and Access to Information. A person “who […]

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  • 2 October 2013

    EU Transparency: Where are we now?

    By P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, European Ombudsman The following speech was given by Diamandouros., the outgoing Euopean Ombudsman, at a seminar on Sept. 28, 2013, in Brussels. Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to this seminar on the occasion of the “International Right to Know Day”. It is the fourth time that the European Ombudsman organises such an event, […]

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  • 26 July 2013

    Summer Reading: Will the Public Interest Test Prevail?

    By Helen Darbishire Darbishire is Executive Director of Access Info Europe. For FOI Geeks interested in the application of the public interest test who also like a good quick read over the summer, there’s a recent decision that can compete with page-turning novels. There’s no sex, but we do learn about the intimate and very […]

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  • 3 July 2013

    European Parliamentarians OK Whistleblower Resolution

    The Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has adopted a resolution (provisional text) urging support for whistleblowers and access to documents. The resolution announced June 24 invites the Committee of Ministers to: – examine ways and means to promote the entry into force and speedy implementation […]

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  • 7 June 2013

    EU Court Backs Secrecy in International Trade Talks

    The General Court of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg June 7 upheld secrecy in trade negotiations and privileged access for business and trade associations. The plaintiff, the watchdog group Corporate Europe Observatory, said in a summary that the court “concludes that the European Commission did not violate EU rules when withholding information about […]

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  • 11 April 2013

    EU to Force Disclosure of Payment by Extractive Firms

    Extractive industries will be required to report payments to developing nations’ governments under an April 9 compromise between the EuropeanParliament and the EU member states. European companies will be required to disclose full information on payments of more than $130,000 (€100,000) including taxes on profits, royalties, and license fees, on a country and project basis. […]

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  • 25 March 2013

    European Court Backs Confidentiality for Trade Talks

    The Second Chamber of the European General Court March 19 ruled against an effort to obtain documents related to the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The decision went mostly against complainant Sophie in ’t Veld, a member of the Liberal Party Group in the European Parliament. The court agreed with her regarding some documents, but […]

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  • 22 February 2013

    EU Court Considers Appeal in Case Brought by Access Info

    The Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg held a hearing Feb. 21 on whether the Council of the European Union can prevent disclosing the names of EU states that supported proposals to limit EU transparency. Disclosure of the positions of different member states would undermine the EU’s “effectiveness,” according to the Council, but […]

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  • 10 January 2013

    EU Ombudsman Blasts EC for Denying Document Access

    European Ombudsman P. Nikiforos Diamandouros has blasted the European Commission for denying access to documents concerning its view of the United Kingdom’s decision to opt-out from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The ombudsman said the Commission “has breached the Charter of Fundamental Rights by wrongfully refusing to give public access” to the documents and […]

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  • 4 January 2013

    EU Court Rejects Appeal for Documents on NGO Projects

    The European Court of Justice has rejected efforts by an Israeli organization to obtain documents from the European Union on the funding of projects by human rights organizations in Israel. The court ruled on Nov. 27 against NGO Monitor and its president, Gerald Steinberg, a political scientist at Bar Ilan University. Concerned about EU influence […]

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  • 10 December 2012

    EU Court Denies Access to ECB Information on Greece

    The General Court of the European Union has denied a news organization access to documents of the European Central Bank concerning the financial situation in Greece. The ruling states that the ECB may refuse access to a document where its disclosure would undermine the protection of the public interest. (See Nov. 29 press release.)  Gabi […]

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  • 6 July 2012

    New Cypriot Presidency in EU Signals Interest in Access

    The new Cypriot presidency of the European Union has held meetings on access to information, showing interest in continuing work on the controversial topic, according to a person close the situation. The possible revival comes after the June demise of the Danish presidency’s attempt to broker a compromise. The last gasp of the Danish effort […]

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  • 6 July 2012

    EU Parliament Access Ideas From Finnish Member

    The European Parliament should take several steps to improve its own transparency, according to a Finnish parliamentarian who also lambasted the Danish presidency and the EU Commission for recently failing to compromise during negotiations on the EU access regulations. Finnish liberal Anneli Jäätteenmäki made her comments in a column published in Wobbing EU. She also […]

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  • 29 June 2012

    EU Ombudsman Flags Transparency as Official Goal

    The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has published a set of five principles” to guide the conduct of EU civil servants that includes transparency. The fifth principle states: 5. Transparency Civil servants should be willing to explain their activities and to give reasons for their actions. They should keep proper records and welcome public scrutiny of […]

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  • 21 June 2012

    Efforts to Revise Access Rules in EU Pronounced Dead

    By Staffan Dahllöf This article appeared June 14 in Wobbing Europe with headline “Game Over, Nobody Won.” When EU-ministers meet in Luxembourg June 26 for General Affairs Council there will be no recast of access rules for documents to discuss, let alone to decide upon. After more than a week of internal deliberations the Danish […]

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  • 15 June 2012

    Danish-Led Talks on EU Access Break Down

    By Staffan Dahllöf This article appeared June 14 in Wobbing Europe. Another report was done by the EU Observer. Late last week, the Danish proposals failed to gain approval at a key meeting, see previous report. While words like collapse, and breakdown make the headlines on news about the negotiations for access to documents in […]

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  • 11 June 2012

    EU Member States Reject Transparency Proposals

    By Staffan Dahllöf This report appeared in Wobbing EU on June 10. An update of a negotiating mandate dated June 4 failed to get backing from Member States’ representatives on a working party meeting between national experts four days later. The presidency had suggested amendments that in some respects would be a move in the direction […]

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  • 1 June 2012

    Finnish, Swedish Ministers Appeal for EU Transparency

    The ministers of justice for Finland and Sweden have written a letter titled “True friends of transparency?” that cautions against moves they say would undercut access to information in the European Union. The letter was received and described May 31 by the website Wobbing EU. Swedish minister of justice Beatrice Ask (conservative) and Finnish minister […]

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  • 21 May 2012

    Debate Accelerates on EC Council Access Proposal

    By Staffan Dahllöf Dahllöf wrote this article that appeared  May 21 in the blog Wobbing EU. Backed by a majority of member states, the European Union presidency will now engage in informal discussions with the Parliament on new rules for access to EU documents. The proposal said to enhance transparency, is not to be seen by the […]

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  • 11 May 2012

    EU Ministers Threaten Access to Information

    By Helen Darbishire Darbishire is Executive Director of Access Info Europe. The threat that the right of access to information from European Union bodies will be reduced moved a step closer to reality May 10 when the 27 Member States approved a document from the Danish EU Presidency which would add broad exceptions to the […]

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  • 13 April 2012

    Is Europe’s Top Court Finally Embracing Right to Know?

    By Darian Pavli Pavil is Senior Attorney, Open Society Justice Initiative On April 3, the top body of the European Court of Human Rights upheld the right of two social science researchers to access research data held by a public university. This is the first time that the Grand Chamber of the court, its top […]

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  • 9 March 2012

    Groups Detail Concerns With EU Access Stalemate

    More than 30 groups have signed a March 8 letter initiated by Access Info Europe to influence the outcome of behind-the-scenes discussions about access to documents in the European Union. The Danish Presidency of the European Union has circulated a “non-paper” in an effort to break a stalemate between the European Commission and the European […]

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  • 10 February 2012

    EU Presidency Seeks Solution on Controversial Access Rules

    By Staffan Dahllöf Dahllöf is co-editor of Wobbing Europe, where this article first appeared. The Danish EU-presidency has taken unusual steps to promote adoption of new access rules: Member countries have been summoned to conflict talks, before there is an open conflict. The aim is to facilitate an update of regulation 1049/2001, the soon to […]

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  • 15 December 2011

    EU Parliament Approves Transparency Rule Changes

    The European Parliament Dec. 15 voted 394-197, with 35 abstentions, to approve proposals to improve the EU’s access to documents rules. The 2-1 majority action advances the process to the stage of difficult negotiations with the EU Commission and EU Council. During debate Dec. 14, Maroš Šef?ovi?, the European commissioner for inter-institutional relations and administration, […]

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  • 12 December 2011

    EC Proposes to Update Public Data Directive

    The European Commission Dec. 12 proposed revisions to its 2003 directive on public sector information intended to encourage European governments to make more data available to the public. See the announcement and explanatory information. Other new elements of the proposal, according to the EC explanation, include: All public data that is not covered by one […]

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  • 9 December 2011

    Groups Rally Support for EU Transparency Reforms

    With the European Parliament scheduled to vote Dec. 15 on a package of transparency reforms, three civil society groups are seeking to ensure passage with a letter-writing campaign. The legislation is expected to pass, but more roadblocks exist. The largest group of votes in the EU parliament, though not a majority, is that of the European […]

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  • 25 November 2011

    EU Parliament Committee Approves New Access Law

    A committee of the European parliament Nov. 23 approved a proposal to improve access to European Union documents. The amendments from the Civil Liberties Committee will be put to a plenary vote in December, according to the committee’s announcement, which stated: The purpose of the amended version of Regulation 1049/2001 is to give the fullest […]

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  • 21 October 2011

    EU Parliament Committee Makes Small Changes in 1049

    A committee of the European Union Parliament has modified the scope of the access to documents Regulation 1049/2001 to slightly expand its scope. In addition, there are some signs that the larger debate over access to EU documents is being rekindled.  As amended by the Constitutional Affairs Committee opinion, the regulation will cover EU offices, […]

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  • 28 September 2011

    Web Portal to Facilitate Information Requests to EU

    A web portal to facilitate public information requests to the European Union was unveiled Sept. 28 by the pro-transparency human rights group Access Info Europe. “is designed to radically simplify the process by which the public puts requests to European Union bodies,” the group said in an announcement. An email is sent from the […]

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  • 9 September 2011

    Group Asks Countries Not to Support EU Council Appeal

    Access Info Europe is challenging European Union countries to not support the Council of the European Union’s appeal against the European General Court’s ruling that the names of the countries making legislative proposals should be disclosed. Member states have until mid-September to declare whether they will join the case decided in March. (See previous […]

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  • 29 August 2011

    Statewatch Says EU Report Makes Pitiful Reading

    The European Commission’s annual report on access to documents makes “very pitiful reading,” according to the public interest group Statewatch. The Report from the Commission on the application in 2010 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (pdf). The Commission’s annual report on public access to its […]

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  • 15 July 2011

    EU Proposes Tighter Controls on Access to Documents

    “The 27 EU-ambassadors in Brussels have agreed to make internal security rules for information binding law in the member countries,” according to an article in Wobbing Europe by Staffan Dahllöf. In addition, the 15 top members of the European Parliament have decided that information ”disadvantageous” to the EU shall not be disclosed to the public, […]

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  • 27 June 2011

    EU Parliament Bows to Court Ruling on Access to Report

    The European Parliament June 22 decided to surrender a report on the abuse of payments made to members of parliament. The so-called Galvin report was the subject of a court case recently decided in favor of the Irish lawyer who requested the document. (See previous report.) At the time of the ruling it was not […]

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  • 10 June 2011

    EU Court Rules Against Parliamentary Secrecy

    The General Court of the European Union June 7 ruled that the European Parliament should not have denied access to a sensitive report on allowances paid to parliamentarians. The case was brought by Irish lawyer, Ciarán Toland, who sought access to a 2006 internal audit of the Parliamentary Assistance Allowance, known as the “Galvin Report.” […]

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  • 27 May 2011

    EU Council to Appeal Transparency Ruling

    The European Union Council has voted to appeal a March court ruling that mandated disclosure of a document summarizing member countries’ positions on reform of the EU’s access to information rules (See previous report.) The May decision apparently was made without opposition, but Wobbing Europe’s Staffan Dahllöf  learned that some pro-transparency governments have reserved […]

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  • 21 April 2011

    European Parliament Holds Hearing on Transparency

    Pro-transparency members of the European Parliament last week called for an improved European Union disclosure policy, continuing to fuel a now long-running schism with the European Commission and Council. Action by a parliamentary committee on its proposals to change the European disclosure standard, Regulation 1049/2001, is not likely to occur until early summer, after a […]

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  • 25 March 2011

    EU Official Issues Guidance on Access to Personal Data

    The European Data Protection Supervisor March 24 issued a “background paper” on public access to documents containing personal data, to serve as guidance for EU institutions.  “The paper explains the updated EDPS position on the matter following the ruling of the European Court of Justice in the Bavarian Lager case on the reconciliation of the […]

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  • 23 March 2011

    EU Court Supports Disclosing Names of Countries

    The Council of the European Union was not justified in refusing to disclose the identities of countries taking positions on reform of the European Union’s access to information rules, the General Court of the EU has decided. The Court found that the Council had “in no way demonstrated” how publication of the country names would “seriously […]

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  • 10 March 2011

    Statewatch Criticizes EC Position on Access

    The European Commission’s recent indication that in March it will propose a limited amendment to the European Union’s regulation on public access to EU documents has drawn sharp criticism from a leading watchdog group. The Commission’s latest Work Programme for 2011 (Ref. No. 2011/SG/006, Page 33) includes the additional goal of: “Incorporate in regulation 1049/2002 […]

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  • 25 February 2011

    FOI Notes: EU Online Public Services, US Reports, New Journal

    European Union: A new report says the average availability of online public services in the EU went up from 69% to 82% from 2009 to 2010. Declaration: Activists gathered at the World Social Forum’s Assembly on the Right to Communication issued the following declaration Feb. 11, 2011. United States: The Aspen Institute Communications and Society […]

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  • 19 January 2011

    Groups Urge EU Parliament to Amend EC Access Proposal

    The European Union Parliament should amend the European Commission’s proposed amendments to Regulation (EC) 1049/2001 regarding access to documents held by EU institutions, according to a letter signed by more than 100 civil society groups, circulated by Access Info Europe. “The proposal would restrict access most notably by creating a narrower definition of what constitutes […]

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  • 14 January 2011

    FOI Notes: EU Case Summary, US FOI Day

    European Union:  New Statewatch Analysis: Case Law Summary: EU access to documents Regulation (142 pages, small pdf). Prepared by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex. United States: Transparency groups announce plans for Freedom of Information Day March 16 in Washington, D.C. Be Sociable, Share! Tweet

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  • 29 September 2010

    Ombudsman Urges More Transparency by EU

    European Ombudsman P. Nikiforos Diamandouros “called on the EU administration to be as transparent and citizen-friendly as possible,” according to a press release about his Sept. 28 speech in Brussels. “Only if European citizens feel that the EU administration is transparent, accessible and accountable, will they develop the necessary trust and willingness actively to participate […]

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  • 19 November 2009

    Access Info Unveils Question to Brussels Report on Requesting EU Information

    Brussels, Belgium — In April 2009, an internal guide from the EU Directorate General (DG) for Trade revealed that public officials were being given tips on how not to record information and how to avoid providing documents to the public. Access Info has launched a report on its follow-up investigations into the internal guides of 16 […]

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  • 14 April 2009

    European Court of Human Rights: Right to Information Essential to Free Expression

    Társaság a Szabadságjogokért v. Hungary a Landmark Decision in the Right to Know Strasbourg, France — In a landmark decision today, the European Court of Human Rights of the Council of Europe found in favor of Társaság a Szabadságjogokért, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, in its complaint against the Hungarian government over a submission to the Hungarian […]

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  • 19 April 2007

    European Commission proposes reforms, seeks public input on greater access to EU documents

    The European Commission yesterday published a Green Paper and launched a new public consultation process to reform existing rules on public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission records. This action represents an important step in the European Transparency Initiative, launched in November 2005 with the goal of a “‘high level of transparency’ to ensure […]

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Regulation No 1049/2001 Regarding Public Access to European Parliament, Council and Commission Documents (May 30, 2001)


Internal rules for the application of Regulation 1049/2001


Aarhus Convention on Access to Information (Sept. 2006)


Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents (2008) Historical Overview chart


Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information (June 25, 2013)


European Commisssion proposal to amend Regulation 1049/2001 (April 30, 2008)


EC staff report on public consultations on Regulation 1049/2001 (Jan. 16, 2008)


European Parliament proposals on Regulation 1049/2001 (March 11,2009)


Explanatory Note from the Commission on proposed changes to Regulation 1049/2001 (Jan. 2010)


The Cashman Report, European Parliament resolution, not finally adopted proposals (March, 2010)


Report by the European Commission on the application of Regulation 1049/2001 in 2009. (Aug. 14, 2010)



European Commission Transparency Website (Source of legal documents in other languages)


European Parliament


Council of the European Union


European Union Ombudsman



Access Info


State Watch (FOI in the EU page)


ClientEarth (Access to Information page)


Wobbing Europe



EU: Deepening the democratic deficit: the failure to “enshrine” the public’s right of access to documents(pdf) By Paul Bunyan, a Statewatch Analysis (2011)


Case Law Summary: EU access to documents Regulation. By Steve Peers, professor of law, University of Essex (2010)


ClientEarth Briefing: Recast of Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to European institutions' documents. (June 2010)


The Right to Open Public Administrations in Europe: Emerging Legal Standards, a paper prepared by Mario Savino, of Tuscia University of Viterbo (Italy) (2010)


Legal Leaks, a toolkit for requesters



Measuring Openness

Global Right to Information Rating
A country-by-country rating of laws by the Centre for Democracy and Law and Access Info.

Freedom House
The Freedom in the World report.

World Bank
Worldwide Governance Indicators

Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index
Measures perceptions of the degree of corruption.

Reporters Without Borders
The Press Freedom Index.