More transparency needed if EU to gain trust

Transparent euro15/12/2011. The European Parliament voted today to strengthen transparency within the EU institutions by broadening the right of access for citizens to EU documents.

Today’s report focused on the 2001 EU Regulation 1049/2001 on access to documents, which has fallen short of the expectations of Parliament, NGOs and European Court of Justice jurisprudence.

Anneli JÄÄTTEENMAKI (Suomen Keskusta, ALDE, Finland) said, “Europe is facing its biggest crisis since the Second World War. Not only the eurozone, but the whole EU is in danger. Citizens have less and less trust in the European institutions. It is clear that we need to increase transparency in the EU. Without transparency, democracy is impossible. Transparency requires that the decisions are open to public scrutiny. The report takes small but important steps forward in transparency. It also clarifies the rules”.

Sonia ALFANO (Italia dei Valori, ALDE, Italy) said: “Transparency and access to information and documents are the key to ensure that institutions work for their citizens and not behind closed doors evading democratic and media scrutiny. Transparency is also the key to prevent and fight corruption, and the EP report contains important provisions for financial and budgetary transparency providing for the beneficiaries of EU funds and grants to be made public and accessible via a database …..”.

Jaatteenmaki also notes that the European Commission proposal of 2008 is in contradiction with the Treaty, and says that, “It is unacceptable that the Commission has not presented a new proposal …. in a democracy the citizens simply have the right to know.”

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