"Brussels stitch-up" on the cards

The Council and the European Parliament rapporteurs, Michael Cashman (PSE) and Hanja Maij-Weggen (PPE), have agreed a "common text" for the new code of access to EU documents. The "deal" was done on 4-5 April when the EP delegation caved in and made three major changes to their report. The changes were:

i) wholesale incorporation of the Council article on "Sensitive documents" (classified documents)
ii) wholesale incorporation of the Council draft on public registers and direct access to documents (which has masses of loopholes)
iii) agreeing to the Joint Statement at the end of the text thus removing the application of the measure to cover agencies and bodies created by EU institutions (a "deal" negotiated by the three legal services).

Civil society groups reject "deal" between Council and European Parliament

The "deal" agreed in secret "trilogue" meetings and informal negotiations by officials has been condemned by civil society groups and academic commentators as fundamentally undermining existing rights under the 1993 code on access to documents and as a betrayal of the commitment in the Amsterdam Treaty to "enshrine" the citizens' right of access to EU documents. They have submitted to all the European Parliament rapporteurs a detailed analysis calling for 17 deletions and 6 amendments to the draft report or its complete rejection.


Updated 23 April 2001:

The "compromise/common texts" of the Council and the EP delegation:

Council version of "common text": Council (pdf) Council (html)
Cashman (PSE)/Maij-Weggen(PPE) version of "compromise/common text": Text (11.4.01, Word 97) Text (17.4.01, pdf)
More compromises - amendments to the amendments: 19.4.01: Cashman (PSE)/Maij-Weggen(PPE): Text (Word 97)

Amendments to the "compromise/common text"

Amendments to the "compromise text" from the Green/EFA group and the ELDR (Liberals): Amendments (Word 97)

The view of civil society

The position of Statewatch, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), European Citizens Action Service (ECAS), European Environmental Bureau (EEB) Professor Deirdre Curtin, Utrecht University and a member of the Standing Committee of Experts ("The Meijers Committee", Utrecht) and Ulf Oberg, Stockholm University: Critique of the Brussels stitch-up (html)

Do the proposed "common text" agreed by the Council and the EP delegation lower current standards? Analysis by Steve Peers, Reader in Law, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex: Lower standards


Update 23 April 2001

After the Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights on 11 April was circulated with a new draft set of amendments by Cashman (PSE)/Maij-Weggen(PPE) a deadline was formally set for amendments to be submitted by 12.00 (noon) on Wednesday 18 April. The Green/EFA group submitted a fundamental set of amendments (in the name of Heidi Hautala) and the ELDR group submitted a few amendments by the deadline.

However, Cashman/Maij-Weggen submitted a further set of amendments to their own amendments, dated 19 April. This followed further negotiations over the Easter weekend to meet further demands by the Council for changes to the text: More "com


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