Ben Hayes on 19 Jan 2001 18:55:42 -0000

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European Federation of Journalists and Statewatch launch 
call for an "Open Europe": Following the publication of "Essays 
for an Open Europe" <<> (by 
Tony Bunyan, Deirdre Curtain and Aidan White) the EFJ and 
Statewatch are inviting civil society groups and individuals to sign 
up to support a call to the EU institutions for a democratic and 
accountable "Open Europe" on access to documents. To support 
the call either e-mail your name, group/organisation/position, postal 
address (a full list of those supporting the call will be put on the 
web but no contact details will be included) and any comment you 
would like to make. Alternatively, register on-line (or print form) at 

Our code: a model code of access to EU documents for civil 
society: Statewatch has proposed a code of access that would 
truly "enshrine" the citizens' right of access to documents and 
meet the commitment in article 255 of the TEC. It is based on the 
existing rights of citizens under the 1993 Decision on public 
access to documents as improved by cases taken to the European 
Court of First Instance and Ombudsman, current "best practise" in 
the operation of the code by the institutions and proposals that 
have emerged in the current positions of the institutions that would 
improve access <<>. 



French Presidency bequeaths Sweden a "poisoned chalice": 
At the meeting of COREPER (the body comprising the permanent 
representatives of the 15 EU governments in Brussels) on 18 
December the French Presidency of the EU presented its final draft 
of the Council's common position on access to EU documents. 
The dilemna for the new Swedish Presidency (from 1.1.01) is how 
far it can reverse the current "consensus" among the EU member 
states and meet its own commitment to meaningful freedom of 
information. The article notes that each draft produced by the 
French was worse than the previous one.

"Solana Decision" extended to cover justice and home 
affairs, trade and aid: The "Solana Decision" of 26 July 2000 
introduced the principle of excluding all documents covering foreign 
policy, military and non-military crisis management. In 
incorporating the Decision into the new code this blanket exclusion 
was then replaced by different procedures for "sensitive 
documents". However, the latest draft of the EU Council common 
position on the draft code extends the concept from "security and 
defence" to all areas of EU activity including justice and home 
affairs (policing, immigration, asylum, customs and legal 
cooperation), trade and aid etc. 

Chair of EP Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights 
expresses concern over Council's draft common position: 
Graham Watson has written to the Council of the EU expressing 
strong concern that it has not even considered the EP's report on 
the draft code and furthermore, that the Parliament may reject the 
Council's common position. (Includes full-text of Council draft 
common position dated 1.12.00).

Monitoring the state & civil liberties in Europe
Online news service: <>
Statewatch, PO BOX 1516, London. N16 0EW. UK
Phone: 0044-(0)20-8802-1882
Fax: 0044-(0)20-8880-1727

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