EU-USA: "Frank and non-diplomatic language" censored

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- Statewatch denied access to document to hide EU views on US demands

Statewatch has been denied access to an EU document because the views expressed in a high-level committee uses:

"frank and "non-diplomatic" language"

in recording:

"in extenso" on positions taken by the US side"

The document in question is a report from the EU's Political and Security Committee Troika comprised of the past, present and next Presidency - which at the time in May 2004 was comprised of senior foreign ministry officials from the permanent Brussels-based delegations from Italy, Ireland (Presidency) and Netherlands. The Political and Security Committee has the unfortunate official acronym "COPS". The discussion in COPS was reporting on a meeting with the US in Brussels on 26 May 2004.

The letter refusing access to Statewatch from the Council says access would "undermine the protection of the public interest as regards the EU's international relations".

In contravention of the EU Regulation on access to documents (1049/2001) the document - CFSP/SEC/1153/04 - is not listed on the Council's register of documents.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"To say that it is not in the "public interest" for us to know about controversial differences between the EU and the USA takes secrecy to a new level of unacceptability. If proposals by the USA are so outrageous that high-level Brussels officials use "frank and non-diplomatic language", which is recorded in the official minutes of their meeting then we have an absolute right to know"

Text of the letter of refusal from Council (pdf)

See also: Rendition and removing refugees raise the same issue: Censored document reveals increased transit facilities for the USA to use EU airports to move people around the world

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