Press review, Wednesday 29 March 2000

Aamulehti (Tampere, 134 000) writes in its editorial that according to an interview of the European Ombudsman Jacob Soderman, published in newspaper Demari, Mr Soderman thinks that it is time to settle the dispute about the regulation on public access to documents with the Commission. The proposed regulation contains too many exceptions and gives the EU officials possibilities to retard decisions concerning publicity. Mr Soderman stated, in his pointed way, that in the worst case any document could be declared secret. Aamulehti continues that when interpreted mercifully, Mr Romano Prodi himself might not have understood all the details of the proposed regulation. If he did and still tries to push the regulation forward, the worse for his reputation and authority. Mr Soderman would like the European Parliament to make the next move by pushing forward real and effective reform of openness. The European Parliament has always worked for openness, but also there the South European traditions are strongly represented. It is clear that the proposed regulation should not be accepted as such. It is important because of the credibility of the EU. The attitudes of the citizens towards the Union should be made more positive. Mr Soderman knows that. Most of the complaints he receives concern the lack of transparency, Aamulehti concludes.