20th Oct 2016

Negotiators have second go at EU transparency rules

  • AccessInfo: 'If the member states get their way it will basically become a waste of time to even file a request' (Photo:

The Danish presidency will next week put forward a second draft of new rules on access to internal EU documents, as tensions rise.

The first draft fell by the wayside last week when EU parliament co-legislators said it goes too far on sheltering papers on legal advice to EU institutions, appointments of top officials, competition cases and infringement procedures.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

In an unsual move, the justice ministers of two pro-transparency countries, Finland and Sweden, wrote an open letter to MEPs on Thursday (31 May) urging them not to give in. The letter was publicised by Danish journalists on the website.

"The [first Danish] mandate is based on a compromise text which would, no doubt, lead to less transparency. Needless to say, our countries did not support that text," Anna-­Maja Henriksson and Beatrice Ask said.

"We trust that Denmark and the EP will see to it that no such proposal is even put on the table ... Who's with us?"

For her part, Pamela Bartlett Quintanilla from the Madrid-based pro-transparency NGO, AccessInfo, told EUobserver: "If the member states get their way it will basically become a waste of time to even file a request [to see documents]."

The Danes are to circulate their new ideas to EU countries on Monday (4 June) and to seek agreement on the new mandate from the EU Council on Wednesday before fresh talks with MEPs.

Finland and Sweden, along with Estonia and Slovenia, are in a small minority against pro-secrecy member states on the Council side.

If parliament takes Henriksson and Ask's advice and the new law falls by the wayside, an old regulation from 2001 - deemed to be more transparency-friendly - will stay in force.

For its part, the incoming Cypriot EU presidency had indicated that if Denmark cannot bring the two sides together, then it will have a go.

"The Cpriot presidency is interested in continuing the talks should there be no agreement by the end of June," an Cypriot diplomatic source told this website.


Cyprus seeks EU support on reunification

EU states should be "more vocal" with Turkey and play a more political role on reunification, Cyprus' EU ambassador told EUobserver.

News in Brief

  1. Commuters seeks compensation for Swedish ID checks
  2. EU needs 'firmness and dialogue' with Russia
  3. Moment of truth is coming on Ceta, says Belgian PM
  4. No immediate solution for EU-Ukraine deal, says Rutte
  5. Ceta could be last trade deal, Tusk warns
  6. Tusk: EU summit is no lion's den for British PM
  7. May: EU must stand against 'Russian aggression' in Syria
  8. Croatia appoints conservative Plenkovic as PM

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  2. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  3. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  4. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  5. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  6. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  7. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  8. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  9. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  10. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  11. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersFish Skin on Bare Skin: Turning Fish Waste into Sustainable Fashion