Ben Hayes on 19 Jan 2001 15:35:49 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] "CALL FOR AN OPEN EUROPE"


European Federation of Journalists and Statewatch launch call for an "Open Europe": Following the publication of "Essays for an Open Europe" <> (by Tony Bunyan, Deirdre Curtain and Aidan White) the EFJ and Statewatch are inviting civil society groups and individuals to sign up to support a call to the EU institutions for a democratic and accountable "Open Europe" on access to documents. To support the call either e-mail your name, group/organisation/position, postal address (a full list of those supporting the call will be put on the web but no contact details will be included) and any comment you would like to make. Alternatively, register on-line (or print form) at <>.

Our code: a model code of access to EU documents for civil society: Statewatch has proposed a code of access that would truly "enshrine" the citizens' right of access to documents and meet the commitment in article 255 of the TEC. It is based on the existing rights of citizens under the 1993 Decision on public access to documents as improved by cases taken to the European Court of First Instance and Ombudsman, current "best practise" in the operation of the code by the institutions and proposals that have emerged in the current positions of the institutions that would improve access <>.


French Presidency bequeaths Sweden a "poisoned chalice": At the meeting of COREPER (the body comprising the permanent representatives of the 15 EU governments in Brussels) on 18 December the French Presidency of the EU presented its final draft of the Council's common position on access to EU documents. The dilemna for the new Swedish Presidency (from 1.1.01) is how far it can reverse the current "consensus" among the EU member states and meet its own commitment to meaningful freedom of information. The article notes that each draft produced by the French was worse than the previous one.

"Solana Decision" extended to cover justice and home affairs, trade and aid: The "Solana Decision" of 26 July 2000 introduced the principle of excluding all documents covering foreign policy, military and non-military crisis management. In incorporating the Decision into the new code this blanket exclusion was then replaced by different procedures for "sensitive documents". However, the latest draft of the EU Council common position on the draft code extends the concept from "security and defence" to all areas of EU activity including justice and home affairs (policing, immigration, asylum, customs and legal cooperation), trade and aid etc.

Chair of EP Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights expresses concern over Council's draft common position: Graham Watson has written to the Council of the EU expressing strong concern that it has not even considered the EP's report on the draft code and furthermore, that the Parliament may reject the Council's common position. (Includes full-text of Council draft common position dated 1.12.00).

Monitoring the state & civil liberties in Europe
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