Oikeusasiamiehen kanssa avoimuudesta

Olen viime aikoina kirjoittanut useaan otteeseen EU:n avoimuudesta, mutta tästä kiinnostavasta tilaisuudesta en ole vielä raportoinut.

Järjestimme lokakuussa avoimuudesta keskustelutilaisuuden EU:n oikeusasiamies Nikoforos Diamandouroksen kanssa (keskustelijoina myös ministeri Heidi Hautala ja kansanedustaja Astrid Thors).

Keskustelun yhteenveto oli, että EU:sta puuttuu tällä hetkellä tahtoa edistää avoimuutta ja jäsenvaltioiden välillä on liikaa eroja sekä mielipiteissä että toimintatavoissa. Keskustelijat eivät uskoneet enää kovin paljoa avoimuusastuksen uudistamiseen (neuvotteluiden kariuduttua viime kesänä), vaan pikemminkin edes nykyisessä avoimuustasossa pysymiseen ja Lissabonin sopimuksen uusien velvotteiden toimeenpanoon (eli siihen, että avoimuus laitetaan koskemaan kaikkia EU-instituutioita). Voimavarat kannattaa nyt laittaa hyvän hallinnon asetuksen laatimiseen ja perusoikeuskirjan vahvistamiseen. Yksi yhteinen nettisivusto EU-asiakirjalle olisi mahdollista toteuttaa.

Kaiken kaikkiaan keskustelijat ja yleisöstä entinen EU:n oikeusasiamies Jakob Söderman muistutti kuitenkin, että aina voi tehdä enemmän ja paremmin kuin laki vaatii. Oikeusasiamies onkin julkistanut periaatteet EU-virkamiehille.

ALKUPUHEENVUORONI

Welcome!

We are here to discuss the transparency and access to documents in EU.

How EU could be more open and democratic? How citizens would be able to receive better information about the ongoing decision-making and then trust the EU better?

We know that EU has a regulation on access to documents (so called 1049) from 2001. The Commission proposed to change it in 2008. The European Parliament was not satisfied with this, because the proposal would have weakened access to documents by for example applying it only to registered documents, when it covers nowadays all EU documents. Contrary to this, the European parliament proposed (las year first with the report by Heidi Hautala and then with the report by Michael Cashman and Anneli Jäätteenmäki) amendments to the regulation to enhance EU’s oppenness. Unfortunately the negotiations between the council and the EP failed this summer and no new progress is now seen.

We have however some progress: Commission has promised to make its 823 expert groups (now representing a lot corporate interests) more transparent and EP is going to demand from the Commission an initiative on good administrations.

We are in a situation that we have quite a good regulation on access to documents, but it is not so well implemented. And the regulation would need itself revision. What should be done with this situation and what should be done on a general level to make EU more open. What are the biggest obstacles?

We have three speakers today. Our key note speaker is Mr Nikiforos P. Diamandouros, who is the European Ombudsman. Then we have two former Members of the European parliament who were key parliamentarians when adopting the 1049. Mrs Heidi Hautala, who is now the Minister for International development and then Mrs Astrid Thors, who is a Member of the Finnish Parliament and former Minister for Migration and European Affairs.

The discussion is organized by Heidi Hautala and the Green parliament group.

With these words I leave the floor to Mr Diamandouros. What are the recent successes and failures in regard EU transparency?

QUESTIONS

European parliament has been left aside when solving eurocrisis, what is the impact for EU’s openness? At the same time more decisions are made ad-hoc unofficially behing closed doors. How could the discussion be brought back in daylight?

European court of justice has decided that the documents don’t have to be analysed one by one when checking if they can be given to the person requesting to see them. Do you see a risk in this?

1049 is not well implemented (for eaxmple Access Info didn’t get the member states positions on changing the 1049!). What should be done?

What do you see are the biggest obstacles (the working groups of council and commission, the space to think, not following the principle, that the MS don’t have a veto)?

The space to think: The Lisbon treaty does not contain the demand on effectiveness of decision-making, therefore the only place to give room not to disclose documents in ongoing decision-making process is 1049 (the so called space to think). What do you think?

International treaties and negotiations. Did ACTA fall because of secrecy?

Should there be one single portal for documents and information? EP’s oeil could be a model for getting info on ongoin decisionmaking. From here you could get also advice on EU related questions. Could Your Europe-portal be developed in this way?

What should be done, when information is more and more in internet and some citizens don’t use computers?

Should the Ombudsman naming and shaming politics: to tell which member states, organizations, companies, politicians are the least open and who get the most complaints?

 

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