statewatch-off on 25 Sep 2000 12:39:42 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Netherlands takes EU Council to court over access to documents


The cabinet of the Netherlands government decided last Friday (22 
September) to take the Council of the European Union (the EU 
member states) to the European Court of Justice over its decision 
to change the EU code on public access to documents. (The 
"Solana/NATO Decision", which was taken on 26 July, extended 
the existing code to EU common foreign and defence policy but 
introduced blanket exceptions and greater secrecy across a range 
of other policy areas).

In a statement the Netherlands government said that it contested 
the way that the decision was made (with no consultation of 
national parliaments, the European Parliament or civil society). 
They are also opposed to the way in which the amended decision 
will affect public access to EU information and said that it 
contradicted the commitment in Article 255 of the Amsterdam 
Treaty to "enshrine" the public's right of access to documents.

On 13 September the Legal Affairs Committee of the European 
Parliament voted in favour of legal action against the Council over 
the Decision.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: 

Now the European Commission's demand that the so-called 
"space to think" for officials (public servants) is more important 
than the citizen's right to know how and why decisions are made 
has to be challenged.

A Statewatch briefing on the case against the Council of the EU, 
press release on the Netherlands decision, and full background on 
the Solana/NATO decision is available on the Statewatch website.

Statewatch: monitoring the state and civil liberties in Europe
PO Box 1516, London N16 0EW
tel: 0044-20-8802-1882

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