A new EP report on public access to documents shows that real progress has been made by the EU institutions, but there are a number of shortcomings as regards transparency.
The report, prepared by MEP Michael Cashman (PES, UK) and adopted by the Citizens’ Rights Committee on 9 September, analyses the first year of full application of Regulation 1049/2001 on public access to documents. It states that the Council has a document access rate of 89.1 per cent, the Commission 68 per cent and Parliament 98.7 per cent.
However, the report also concludes that the situation is still unsatisfactory in many ways and urges the Council and Commission to give direct access to documents more often. The report finds fault with the following practices:
- The Council does not give full access to documents if they have not been subject to discussion in the Council of Ministers.
- It also does not allow the positions of national delegations to be identified when decisions are taken.
- The Council refuses applications for documents on anti-terrorism measures and has ceased to record certain meetings to avoid having to provide the tapes on request.
- The Commission should set up a single electronic register rather than several.
- Parliament’s committee secretariats should provide up-to-date information about their work on their websites and to operate in a fully transparent way.
The Commission is invited to incorporate in its report on the revision of the regulation the proposals made by Parliament in this resolution and to publish its report by 31 January 2004.