The Commission has adopted a Green Paper on citizens’ access to the EU institutions’ documents, opening a three-month public consultation on the issue.
The EU has been criticised in recent years over its perceived lack of transparency. The Green Paper and the public consultation are the latest in a series of efforts under the Commission’s European Transparency Initiative, launched in November 2005 by Commission Vice-President for Administrative Affairs, Audit and Anti-Fraud Siim Kallas. The Transparency Initiative also includes a previous Green Paper and consultation on a public register for interest representatives or lobbying groups.
The European Parliament already adopted its own recommendations to improve access to documents in April 2006, in a Regulation on the Århus Convention granting public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.
The European Parliament received around 2,000 requests for access in 2006 – in more than 80% of cases, access was granted, compared with the Commission’s rate of around 66%.
The current review is part of the wider Transparency Initiative, which encompasses stricter rules on lobbying the institutions, better scrutiny of structural funds, and improved consultation standards.