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Seminar “18 Sep 2000”
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- WORKING SEMINAR -
"Access to Documents of the EU Institutions:
the Key to a more Democratic and Efficient Union"

Agenda

Monday 18 September 2000

09h15
15h00
-
-
12h30
18h30
* * *
Rue Wiertz, 60
Altiero Spinelli Building, Room ASP 1G3
Brussels


09h15-12h30 - First half-day
“Role of access to documents for democracy and good administration”

 


09h15 Opening of proceedings by Michael CASHMAN, Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs.
09h30

Transparency and democracy:
the need for public supervision of the activities of the EU institutions

- role of public access to information for the protection of public interests, e.g. the protection of the environment,
- role of public access to information for the development of public opinion,
-  role of public access to information for the supervision of representatives to and officials of the EU institutions - role of the national parliaments,
- relationship with fundamental rights such as freedom of expression,
- limits of the present system and the opportunity for reform

       Three speakers- the following will be invited to speak:

  • Aidan WHITE, General Secratry of the European Federation of Journalists
  • Ralph HALLO, European Environmental Bureau
  • Amaryllis VERHOEVEN, Research fellow, Institute for European Law, Leuven
10h00 Debate
11h00

Transparency and “good administration":
impact on the internal functioning of the institutions

- meaning of “good administration”
- the relationship with the internal rules of procedure
- need for a register of documents and the classification of documents
- modalities for access
- scope of the “space to think for the institutions
- relationship with obligations of professional secrecy of the officials
- best practice in the Member States

     Three speakers - the following will be invited to speak:

  • Jacob SODERMAN, the European Ombudsman
  • David O’SULLIVAN, Secretary General of the European Commission
  • Hans BRUNMAYR, Deputy Director-General, Council
11h30 Debate
12h30 End of morning session
*    *    *


15h00-18h30 - Second half-day
“Scope and modalities of a right of access to documents”

 


15h00

Opening of proceedings by Hanja MAIJ-WEGGEN, Committee on Constitutional Affairs.

15h10

Presidency of the Council
French representative
Britta LEJON, Swedish Minister for Constitutional and Administrative Issues

15h15 The scope of Article 255 in the context of openness and transparency

- scope of Article 255 – a restrictive interpretation or a broad interpretation
- case-law of the European Court of Justice
- right to documents or a right to information
- the institutions subject to the obligation of access
- a right to appeal against the refusal of access
- the impact on national legislation giving access to EU documents

     Two speakers - the following will be invited to speak:

  • Prof. Deirdre CURTIN, Professor of the law of international organisations, University of Utrecht
  • Dr Richard BAXTER, PhD MA BSc, Visiting Fellow, University College London
15h45

Debate
16h30 Transparency versus the protection of other interests

- interests which should be protected,
- specific issues raised by the second and third pillars
- the harm test and balancing transparency against the interest to be protected,
- mandatory or discretionary exceptions
- scope of interests to be protected and whether the definition in national, international or EU law should apply

       Three speakers - the following will be invited to speak:

  • Hans BRUNMAYR, Deputy Director-General, Council
  • D HEIMANS, Head of Legal Affairs, EUROPOL
  • Tony BUNYAN, Statewatch
17h00 Debate
18h00

Tour de table - Conclusions from the seminar

  • Graham WATSON, Chairman of the Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs
  • Giorgio NAPOLITANO, Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs.
  • Michael CASHMAN, the Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice
    and Home Affairs
  • Hanja MAIJ-WEGGEN, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs
  • Heidi HAUTALA, the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market
  • Diemut R.THEATO, the Committee on Budgetary Control
  • Astrid THORS, the Committee on Petitions
  • Cecilia MALSTROM, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy
  • Ole ANDREASEN, the Committee on Culture, Youth, Education, the Media and Sport

 

18h30 End of the Seminar
*   *   *

Requests to speak should be presented by members of the national parliaments or of the European Parliament when each new item is announced, and will be granted at the discretion of the session Chairman if the established timetable permits.

Speakers are kindly requested to forward their contributions to the Secretariat, in English or French in advance of the seminar, so that copies of them can be made available.  Contributions from representatives of civil society and other interest groups should also be sent to the Secretariat and representatives should bring sufficient copies if they would like them distributed.

 

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