European Parliament to vote on amendments to report on access to EU documents

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On Thursday 16 November the plenary session of the European Parliament (EP) meeting in Strasbourg will be voting on a report by Michael Cashman (PSE) and Hanji Maij-Weggen (PPE) which will form the parliament's first reading response to the Commission's proposal for a new code on access to EU documents.

The Commission put forward a draft new code in January and following the parliament's adoption of its response the Council of the European Union (the 15 EU governments) will adopt a "common position" in December. Unless the Council agrees with the EP's report, which is unlikely, the Council's "common position" will be the basis of further discussion - the new code has to be agreed by May 2001.

At its meeting on Thursday the EP will have before it 16 amendments tabled by the Green/ALE group and the ELDR (Liberal) group - five of the amendments to the main report have been put forward jointly by the Greens and ELDR.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB), a federation of environmental groups in Europe, has put out a briefing to MEPs calling on them to support all the amendments being put forward (see below).

If these amendments were to be agreed and the interinstitutional provisions giving more powers to the institutions were to be deleted (Article 255 of the Amsterdam Treaty is solely concerned with the "rights of the citizen, not the "rights" of institutions) then the main report would be much improved.

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