Interest organisations, political parties, paid professionals, journalists, students or just interested people who approach the EU for the first time rarely experience a lack of information to be a problem. On the contrary, the difficulty is to sort and sift through all that is available.
Simultaneously, it is a recurring assertion that the EU is closed, secretive and therefore undemocratic. This assertion is almost as often confronted with a contrary claim. Institutional representatives can point to extensive online publications and a system established in 2001 to make it possible to request documents which aren’t directly accessible. Journalists based in Brussels happily point out that EU institutions leak like a sieve.
Both assertions and their contradictive claims are justified. The amount of information can be dazzlingly large but also irritatingly limited. Clearly the institutions leak but foremost and preferably to selected journalists and rarely with the purpose of being kind or accommodating. This report is an attempt to review the available kinds of documents the inquisitive is not served spontaneously during his or her first contact to the EU institutions, and for those who do not have access to ”insiders” within the system.
The report focuses on the Commission, which in a sense is the EU’s daily government and has a central role in legislative work, with a monopoly right to initiate new legislation. The rules on access to documents applicable to the Commission have since its inception also applied to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. With certain specified exceptions the Treaty of Lisbon now covers all EU institutions.
The first part of the report, which concerns background and development, is valid for all of EU while part two is about transparency in numbers as regards the Commission. Part three describes three specific examples and part four contains conclusions, which refer for the most part to the Commission. Transparency, or the lack thereof, in other institutions is to be dealt with in a possible report in the future.
Factual statements are, as far as possible, documented with references while the conclusions and opinions expressed in this report are the sole responsibility of the author, and not the OEIC.
You can read the report here: Transparency_report_Final_52p