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Proċedura : 2008/0090(COD)
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Ċiklu relatat mad-dokument : A6-0077/2009

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A6-0077/2009

Dibattiti :

PV 10/03/2009 - 7
CRE 10/03/2009 - 7

Votazzjonijiet :

PV 10/03/2009 - 8.12
CRE 10/03/2009 - 8.12
PV 11/03/2009 - 5.14
CRE 11/03/2009 - 5.14
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Testi adottati :

P6_TA(2009)0114

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It-Tlieta, 10 ta' Marzu 2009 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

7. Aċċess tal-pubbliku għad-dokumenti tal-Parlament Ewropew, tal-Kunsill u tal-Kummissjoni (dibattitu)
Vidjow tat-taħditiet
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  Presidente. − L'ordine del giorno reca in discussione la relazione Michael Cashman, a nome della commissione per le libertà civili, la giustizia e gli affari interni, sulla proposta di regolamento del Parlamento europeo e del Consiglio relativo all'accesso del pubblico ai documenti del Parlamento europeo, del Consiglio e della Commissione (rifusione) (COM(2008)0229 C6-0184/2008 – 2008/0090(COD)) (A6-0077/2009)

 
  
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  Michael Cashman, rapporteur. − Mr President, I look forward to this debate, and particularly to hearing from those who are not so keen on enhancing transparency and public access to documents.

I wish to begin by thanking the seven ministers from the EU who have declared their support for my report. In particular, they are, and I quote: ‘therefore, glad to see that Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs adopted a report on 17 February 2009 that shares our vision of a more transparent Union’.

I find it staggering that, when we are trying to reconnect to our citizens, people do not support transparency and openness. I find it equally staggering that, when we are trying to connect the institutions back to the public, there is a lack of willingness to enhance public scrutiny and accountability.

Some Members have raised doubts about whether all the amendments that my report proposes are within the scope of the legal basis of the regulation – Article 255 of the Treaty. I should like to set their minds at rest: the object of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 is: ‘to give the public a right of access to documents of the institution which is as wide as possible. That right of public access to the documents of the institution is related to the democratic nature of those institutions.’ Do not simply take my word for it – I am quoting verbatim from the Turco judgment of the Court of Justice. It is in the spirit of that judgment that we must interpret Article 255 of the Treaty.

Take our Amendment 44 on classified documents. It is simply disingenuous to say, as the Commission has, that the classification of documents as confidential has no link with public access to such documents. Under the present version of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, documents may only be classified in order to safeguard the essential interests protected under Article 4(1). So the link is already there. What we have done is to draw the logical consequences from that link and incorporate rules on the classification of documents into the regulation itself. These rules, which are carefully modelled on the rules the Council and the Commission already apply, define limits on the public’s right to access to documents, just as Article 255 requires, and there is nothing in the Treaty to prevent the institutions adopting these in the regulation.

Take our Amendment 24, which refers to agencies and bodies created by the institution. Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, as amended, will lay down the principles, conditions and limits of public access to the documents of those agencies, but it will not in itself create obligations for agencies.

If you read our Amendment 29, for example, you will see that the regulation applies only to documents held by the institutions, although it does set the standards that agencies will be expected to follow in adopting their own rules on public access to their documents, in accordance, I might add, with the joint declaration adopted by the Council, the Commission and Parliament on 30 May 2001.

Let me also point out for those who cannot witness it, the sadness that the Council is not here to attach the due importance to this extremely important report.

I know some of you were also concerned that we went too far in seeking to ensure that Member States did not undermine the level of transparency the regulation aims at. I believe I have come a long way to meet concerns, as you will see from compromise amendments that remind the Member States of their duties under Article 10 of the Treaty not to stand in the way of the achievement of the Community’s objectives, including transparency and democracy.

The amendments by Mr Nassauer may bring some reassurances to his group and other MEPs who are concerned that some private information may get into the public domain. That will not happen and cannot happen under my report. There is still the space to think that personal and private data will remain protected, so I will listen with great interest as to why those who oppose this regulation do so.

 
  
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  Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the Commission. − Mr President, thank you for a very substantive report on the Commission’s proposal for a recast of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents. This is a very important and cherished subject and I appreciate the enormous work that has been done by Mr Cashman, as rapporteur, and also many other active, interested and skilled people in this House.

This is a subject that touches upon fundamental and sometimes conflicting rights of citizens, associations and undertakings. We need to look very carefully at the necessary changes to be made to this Regulation and we need to remain focused on openness. All three institutions have agreed that, overall, Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 has worked remarkably well for almost eight years now. Parliament, Council and Commission are much more open now than ever before. You could say that the change of rules led to a change of practice and to a change of minds and attitudes.

At the same time, Parliament, Council and Commission also agree that legitimate interests have received adequate protection. We should not forget that the EU institutions have granted access to a higher number of documents, while a decrease in the number and rate of refusals has been registered. So I hope you agree that Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 has proven its value. For this reason a complete overhaul is not necessary.

Having said this, even a good tool can always be improved. The legal base we have as our starting point is Article 255 of the Treaty, as has already been mentioned by the rapporteur. Following that, the Regulation shall define principles and the limits governing the citizen’s right of access to documents. As regards the report at hand, I note that some amendments go beyond the scope of Article 255 of the Treaty and therefore these amendments cannot be accepted. But – and this is an important ‘but’ – they point to important issues that may well be addressed in another context. The Commission will certainly look at that with a constructive, pragmatic and open mind.

It is good practice to assess from time to time whether legislation works well and achieves its objectives, and it is in this spirit that the Commission drafted its proposal for a recast of the Regulation. The use of the recast technique meets the objective of better lawmaking. Since this Regulation touches upon a fundamental right of citizens, it is of the utmost importance to adopt a single, clear and readable legal text.

The recast technique does not tie the hands of the legislator more than the traditional way of amending legislation. Irrespective of the choice of legislative technique, the Community legislator may not go beyond the aim of the proposal.

We are committed to continuing to enhance transparency and openness, and I firmly believe that this is a good way to do it. In this context, however, I have to mention that a number of the amendments concern provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 which the Commission did not propose to amend. We are not in a position to accept them because they go beyond the scope of the Commission’s proposal.

Having said this, the Commission is, of course, willing to take on board good ideas, although we are at the moment still in the early stages of the procedure. I would like to confirm that the Commission is willing to have discussions with the two co-legislators and that we want to try to find common ground in order to reach a balanced and workable compromise text. However, the Commission prefers to come forward with an amended proposal when the two co-legislators have stated their position. We cannot and will not prejudge or anticipate discussions or negotiations.

We should also bear in mind the changes that the Lisbon Treaty – if and when it enters into force – will bring about on this important issue. Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 will then apply to all institutions, bodies, agencies and offices of the European Union, albeit to a limited extent for the Court of Justice, the European Central Bank and the European Investment Bank. For citizens, the Lisbon Treaty will mean real progress when all EU bodies will apply a common set of rules on access to documents. Such a single set of rules ensures consistency, but at the same time it must be tailored to fit the great number of bodies with very different mandates and competences.

I would also like to repeat what I have said on previous occasions in this House and elsewhere. Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 is the cornerstone of a policy on transparency, but we also need to think about what we can do proactively outside the formal legislation. That is why I announced at the joint committee meeting of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of 20 January that I am taking the initiative to prepare an openness action plan. Improved registers, greater user-friendliness and accessibility, active dissemination, and quicker publishing of documents are some examples of what I want to address in this action plan and, of course, continue to discuss with the other EU institutions. This is a pragmatic and efficient way to mainstream transparency into all our policies. We need to lead by example.

In this spirit, we should also look at ways to make our institutions and the way they operate more understandable to citizens. We need an active policy of informing citizens and making them aware of how Europe-wide policies affect their everyday life. Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 is, of course, an important tool but, beyond the legal text, it is how we put this into practice that really counts.

To sum up the Commission’s position on Mr Cashman’s report at this stage of the procedure, I would like to say the following. There are some amendments the Commission cannot accept because they go beyond the legal base of Article 255 of the Treaty. There are other amendments we cannot accept because they go beyond the scope of the Commission’s proposed changes, but in some cases such amendments nevertheless point to important issues that may well be addressed in another context. Also, the Commission is always willing to take on board good ideas in whatever context it may be. Once we have Parliament’s and the Council’s positions, you will have the position from the third corner in the institutional triangle.

I look forward to an interesting and thought-provoking discussion to come. The subject deserves that, and our citizens are entitled to expect clear and well-functioning legislation on public access to our documents.

 
  
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  Monica Frassoni, relatrice per parere della commissione giuridica. − Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, ho un minuto per la commissione giuridica e uno per i Verdi, quindi cercherò di metterli insieme, anche perché le due cose sono abbastanza comuni in questo caso.

Presidente, noi alla commissione giuridica abbiamo discusso abbastanza di questa storia del recast. Dico subito che non ci piace per niente: pensiamo infatti che l'utilizzo del recast per questo tipo di atto è stata una decisione non particolarmente brillante, anche perché, come ha detto la Commissaria, il tema vero è quello di capire come un regolamento che ha funzionato abbastanza bene, ma che poteva essere perfezionato, può appunto essere migliorato. Ebbene, il risultato, sia attraverso l'utilizzo di questa procedura che attraverso le proposte concrete che sono state fatte, è sicuramente un passo indietro rispetto alla realtà. Quindi questo significa che noi dobbiamo in qualche modo correre ai ripari, e correre ai ripari con il recast è più difficile che con un mandato legislativo pieno.

La seconda cosa che volevo dire è che è inutile girarci intorno: io sono contenta che la Commissaria annunci delle simpatiche iniziative sulla trasparenza e sull'apertura, ma i fatti rimangono, e i fatti sono che la proposta della Commissione esclude dei documenti che oggi sono aperti e trasparenti dall'ambito dell'applicazione di questa legislazione. Questa è la realtà, tanto è vero che una serie di Stati membri, tra i quali il suo, lo hanno detto chiaramente, e hanno detto che questa cosa era inaccettabile.

Ora, il problema è che se noi vogliamo migliorare una legislazione non possiamo, noi qui tutti, metterci semplicemente in difesa dell'esistente, perché sennò noi corriamo dei seri rischi di essere meno trasparenti, meno comprensibili e anche, me lo lasci dire, meno democratici.

 
  
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  Anneli Jäätteenmäki, perussopimus-, työjärjestys- ja toimielinasioiden valiokunnan lausunnon valmistelija. − Arvoisa puhemies, avoimuus on demokratian perusta ja pohja. Valitettavasti Euroopan unioni ei voi kehua avoimuudellaan. Direktiivejä on muutettava, mutta myös asenteita, vai mitä sanotte siitä neuvoston lausunnosta, jossa neuvosto sanoo, että ulkopuolisille ei tule antaa lainsäätämismenettelyyn liittyviä oikeudellisia neuvonantoasiakirjoja. Siis kansalaisille, ulkopuolisille ei tule niitä antaa. En voi ymmärtää, että kansalaiset ovat Euroopan unionissa ulkopuolisia.

Siis asenteita on muutettava, on muutettava lainsäädäntöä, niin että sekä neuvoston, parlamentin että komission lainsäädäntöön liittyvät asiakirjat ovat avoimia, ja korostan sanaa lainsäädäntöön liittyvät asiakirjat. Jos vertaan tätä vaikkapa oman maani, Suomen parlamentin toimintaan, ei voitaisi kuvitellakaan, että Suomen eduskunnan perustuslakivaliokunnan lausunnot olisivat salaisia. Silloinhan se tarkoittaa sitä, että kansalaisille ei kerrota, mitkä ovat ne syyt, minkä vuoksi tämä ja tämä laki säädetään, ja neuvosto sanoo, että ei pidä sanoakaan, koska kansalaiset ovat ulkopuolisia.

Meidän tulee lainsäädännössä, direktiivien muotoilussa, kaikessa lähteä siitä, että avoimuutta lisätään, ja myös parlamentin äänestyskäyttäytymisessä on varaa parannuksiin. Meillä pitäisi olla koneäänestys...

(Puhemies keskeytti puhujan.)

 
  
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  David Hammerstein, Ponente de opinión de la Comisión de Peticiones. − Señor Presidente, señora Comisaria, ante este excelente informe no deberíamos desaprovechar la oportunidad de alcanzar un acuerdo en primera lectura —quiero decir, en esta legislatura— para crear una legislación que avance hacia la transparencia en el acceso a los documentos. No sirven las excusas, y espero que tengamos el tiempo y la sensatez para llegar a tal acuerdo sobre este excelente informe.

En el informe, y desde la Comisión de Peticiones, expresamos nuestra preocupación por el hecho de que en los procedimientos de infracción contra un Estado miembro, por ejemplo, un procedimiento iniciado por una petición ciudadana, un Estado miembro tenga derecho a negar el acceso a los documentos públicos que se utilizan dentro de ese procedimiento de infracción, cerrando así la puerta a la participación ciudadana.

También estamos bastante preocupados por la falta de interoperabilidad y por el bloqueo técnico que se constata en el Parlamento Europeo de cara a la utilización de documentos interoperables, documentos con estándares abiertos que no son compatibles con el software, con la plataforma técnica que el Parlamento Europeo utiliza en estos momentos, que es de una sola empresa.

Es cierto que actualmente las instituciones europeas no garantizan a los ciudadanos el acceso real al contenido de los documentos sin que haya una discriminación de carácter técnico. Esto es inadmisible, porque no es posible acceder a los documentos que estamos creando. Mientras yo hablo ahora mismo, no se puede acceder a estas palabras sin una plataforma técnica de una empresa concreta que establece un monopolio sobre la información. Esto sí que va en contra de la transparencia y en contra del acceso a la información.

 
  
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  Charlotte Cederschiöld, för PPE-DE-gruppen. – Herr talman! Vi delar helt Cashmans intentioner och engagemang för öppenheten, men vi ska inte glömma att det finns en förordning som nu revideras. Vi har gemensamt drivit igenom den nuvarande öppenhetslagstiftningen. De fyra nordiska medlemsstaterna skriver till utskottet om denna förordning att den ökar medborgarnas förtroende för EU och att den ger vidast möjliga öppenhet. Cashman och jag har alltid haft det bästa samarbete men denna gång blev tiden lite knapp att sortera ut alla oklarheter. Det är med andra ord ganska tidigt i processen men jag välkomnar många av förslagen och ser fram emot mer samarbete.

När öppenhetsförordningen beslutades var EPP:s ja-röster avgörande för den segern. Även denna gång torde EPP-rösterna få betydelse för den slutliga utgången, som antagligen kommer i ett nytt parlament. EPP vill använda sina röster för att stärka rättssäkerhet, förutsägbarhet och tydlighet när reglerna formas i den fortsatta processen. Vi vill ha ökad öppenhet, medborgarna ska kunna följa med i den demokratiska debatten. Vi anser att ärendet tarvar mer förberedelser, så att det finns enhetliga konsekvensbedömningar när det gäller institutionernas funktionssätt, till exempel.

Ett antal ändringsförslag, 40–50 stycken, som kringgår kommissionens initiativrätt har orsakat en del diskussion. Det enda vi vill lägga till är att det inte ska orsaka mera oklarheter, för det skulle strida mot syftet med revideringen. Det som ligger på bordet idag kommer troligen att modifieras på andra sidan valet. EPP vill då nå fram till en öppenhet som kan få stöd av alla EU:s medborgare och medlemsstater. Det förutsätter att intressenterna vet vad som gäller – det som var syftet med förslaget. Sanktioner kan inte heller användas om det inte finns tydliga instruktioner. När det gäller sanktioner finns det redan ett regelverk att ta hänsyn till. Vi ser således förslaget som en ännu inte färdig produkt, men vi håller helt med Cashman om att det ska leda till ökad öppenhet och det skriver vi också i våra ändringsförslag. Öppenhet är en viktig del av demokratin.

I have five minutes for the PPE-DE Group, so could I just say my last few words?

Vi säger ja till ökad öppenhet men vill undvika en naivitet som kan utsätta människor för fara eller missbruk.

Will the PPE-DE Group lose the three minutes, or what?

 
  
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  Presidente. − Non so risponderle. Nel nostro ordine dei lavori erano previsti due minuti ma sono certo che queste non saranno le sue ultime parole.

 
  
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  Costas Botopoulos, on behalf of the PSE Group. – Mr President, I will speak in English in honour of our rapporteur. With this very interesting report, Parliament is doing three things. First of all, it is taking realities into consideration. We are speaking now about privacy in the era of the Internet and not privacy as an abstract notion. We are taking into account the use of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, which has for some time been applied to problems but also with good use.

We are taking into account the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the proposals by the Ombudsman and other agencies, and the case-law of the Court. We are also taking into account the Commission’s real proposal with its possibilities and its drawbacks – and I think there are some drawbacks.

The second point – and this is very interesting – is that this report is based on principles and not technicalities; a balance between access to documents and the safeguarding of private life; a generalised access to documents but with very precise rules; a very important distinction between public and private interests and this notion of European public interest which is very important to those of us who love Europe; a distinction between legislative and non-legislative procedures which is also interesting; parity between EU transparency and Member State transparency.

Lastly, the most important thing is that this report tries to establish a complete system of transparency – not transparency for every institution separately, but transparency on an interinstitutional basis where all the institutions are taken into account and where the principles of good administration and the Charter of Fundamental Rights are also taken into account. There is also a very common set of classified information, albeit with spy movie names such as EU Confidential, EU Top Secret, but it is important to have a common set of rules in this matter also.

What we are trying to achieve here is transparency as a general rule, with exceptions where those exceptions are justified by the protection of other rights, but to have a common set of rules whereby transparency is the most important one but other exceptions are also taken into account.

 
  
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  Marco Cappato, a nome del gruppo ALDE. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, mi scuso se non potrò sentire la replica del Commissario. Credo che ci sia un'assenza importante in questo dibattito ed è l'assenza del Consiglio, che è stata per la verità un'assenza durante tutto il dibattito anche di commissione. E questo è il punto fondamentale: esiste, in particolare all'interno del Consiglio, una concezione di Europa, per la quale l'Europa è la sommatoria di governi, di Stati nazionali e quindi, conseguentemente, quando questi governi discutono insieme, anche con potere legislativo, questi sono affari – diciamo così – confidenziali, i cittadini poi devono vedere il risultato finale di questo.

Ecco, questo è semplicemente intollerabile, quando sappiamo che esistono dei poteri di legislatori nell'Unione europea e il diritto di conoscere, per i cittadini, è durante tutta la fase del processo legislativo. Come la sentenza del caso Maurizio Turco ha verificato e dimostrato, c'è il diritto dei cittadini di sapere le posizioni delle delegazioni nazionali in seno al Consiglio e anche dei pareri giuridici. Ecco perché c'è il nostro pieno sostegno alla relazione di Michael Cashman, che è la traduzione di una concezione dell'Europa, di una concezione della democrazia europea.

Credo anche che sia da sostenere Michael nel tentativo di fare delle proposte che vanno al di là e oltre le proposte della Commissione. Sbaglierebbe la Commissione europea se ci chiedesse di limitare la nostra azione di legislatore soltanto alle proposte che la Commissione stessa ha portato. Credo che anche i trattati ci diano ragione su questo, sul nostro diritto di ampliare il mandato. Spero che Michael vorrà accogliere le nostre proposte di emendamento, in particolare su una maggiore trasparenza finanziaria, e credo anche che come Parlamento europeo dovremmo dare il buon esempio.

Leggo oggi dalle agenzie che la nostra decisione di pubblicare le presenze dei parlamentari – non ha a che vedere con questo rapporto – ma le presenze dei parlamentari, decisione che avevamo preso in plenaria, ora sembra che ci siano problemi tecnici per fare questo prima delle elezioni europee. Non esiste alcun problema tecnico, perché è un lavoro che si può fare velocemente e facilmente, e spero che come Parlamento daremo anche su questo il buon esempio, oltre che sulle necessarie modifiche positive del relatore alla proposta della Commissione per un maggior accesso ai documenti e ci auguriamo che dalle sedie vuote del Consiglio prima o poi sentiremo qualcosa, almeno spiegare pubblicamente quali sono i motivi di resistenza alle nostre proposte, avere il coraggio di difendere pubblicamente un'idea di un'Europa che dovrebbe decidere in segreto sui propri testi legislativi, cosa che ritengo sarebbe assolutamente inaccettabile.

 
  
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  Eva-Britt Svensson, för GUE/NGL-gruppen. – Herr talman! Öppenhet och offentlighet i allt som rör lagstiftning och politiska beslut är en av de viktigaste faktorerna i ett demokratiskt samhälle. Öppenhet och offentlighet skapar delaktighet och tilltro till det politiska systemet. Motsatsen – sekretess och undanhållande av handlingar – skapar misstro att man inte känner sig delaktig, och kan ibland medverka till att skapa maktmissbruk och korruption.

Allt mer av den nationella lagstiftningen, med den offentlighetsprincip vi exempelvis har i Sverige, sker nu på EU-nivå. Besluten har förts över till EU-nivå, men öppenhet och offentlighet har inte följt med. Våra medborgare ser naturligtvis detta, och det är en orsak till varför vi har lågt valdeltagande i valen till Europaparlamentet. Medborgarna har svårt att tränga igenom och förstå beslutsgången i EU-systemet och upplever, med rätta, att beslut och lagstiftning tas på EU-nivån utan att de har haft en rejäl möjlighet att ta del av alla handlingar. Därför har de ingen möjlighet att diskutera, debattera och påverka beslutsfattarna.

Vi vill alla öka valdeltagandet till parlamentsvalet, men ska vi lyckas med det så räcker det inte med kampanjer och uppmaningar om att gå och rösta. För att det ska bli meningsfullt så måste vi göra allt för att medborgarna ska ha kunskap och information. Vi måste skapa dialog med medborgarna istället för en ensidig information uppifrån. Offentlighet ska vara huvudprincipen, sekretess ska vara undantag och ska beslutas i en särskild ordning, och det ska finnas starka skäl för att tillåta sekretess.

Jag och Förenade vänstern har lagt ändringsförslag som innebär bl.a. att definitionen av handlingar breddas, att fler handlingar blir offentliga och att en enskild medlemsstat inte ska kunna lägga in sitt veto. Kommissionär Wallström sa att ett bra instrument kan bli bättre. Tyvärr så leder detta betänkande faktiskt inte till förbättringar utan till försämringar men man kan göra det bättre genom att stödja mina och Förenade vänsterns ändringsförslag. Så för demokratins skull, rösta för Förenade vänsterns ändringsförslag och öka medborgarnas möjlighet att bli delaktiga.

 
  
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  Hanne Dahl, for IND/DEM-Gruppen. – Tak, hr. formand! Michael Cashman har skrevet en god betænkning, som jeg ønsker at udtrykke støtte til. Kommissionens revision af åbenhedsinitiativet fra 2008 gør offentlighedens adgang til dokumenter i EU vanskeligere. Hvis denne betænkning vedtages, rettes der op på meget. Der mangler dog stadig, at vi får indsigt i de rådgivende arbejdsgrupper i Kommissionen. Ifølge en opgørelse fra organisationen Alter-EU, der kom lige før jul, er der kun registreret fyldestgørende oplysninger om to tredjedele af medlemmerne af de arbejdsgrupper, der medvirker til at lave lovforslagene i EU. Dette er fuldstændigt uacceptabelt. Jeg er som borger nødt til at vide, om det er tobaksindustriens lobby eller sundhedsorganisationerne, der rådgiver Kommissionen, når der skal laves et initiativ til at forbedre folkesundheden. Ligesom at jeg er nødt til at vide om det er kemiindustrien eller miljøorganisationerne, der sidder med ved bordet, når der laves en vandmiljøplan i EU.

 
  
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  Hans-Peter Martin (NI). - Herr Präsident! Wir sind in die Globalisierungsfalle gefallen, gerade auch, weil es uns nicht geglückt ist, die Europafalle zu vermeiden. Die Europafalle besteht entscheidend darin, dass wir eben nicht nach den bewährten Prinzipien der Transparenz skandinavischer und anderer Staaten gehandelt haben und handeln.

Ich bin jetzt 10 Jahre in diesem Haus, und nicht durch Zufall habe ich, als ich hierher gekommen bin, – nicht mit dieser Absicht, aber doch ganz schnell gesagt Menschenskinder, Transparenz ist das entscheidende Problem, und deshalb bereits im Jahr 2000 die europäische Transparenzinitiative gegründet. Das wurde von der Kommission wortidentisch übernommen, nur der Inhalt ist weiterhin dürftig.

Frau Kommissarin, Sie können nachlesen, was ich schon Ihrer Kollegin aus Schweden, Anna Lindh, – damals in einer langen Rede zum Gipfel von Nizza – an dieser Stelle gesagt habe: Sie, als Schwedin, wissen doch, worum es geht. Sie wissen doch, was eigentlich zu tun wäre.

Aber in Wirklichkeit arbeiten wir hier in der Europäischen Union, was die Fragen der Transparenz betrifft, so wie mit einer Schneeschaufel zwischen einem Ort und einem anderen, an dem eine Lawine heruntergegangen ist. Da kommen wir nicht durch, und ständig kommt neuer Schnee hinterher. Um diese Europäische Union zu retten, gibt es nur eines: wirkliche Transparenz nach schwedischem Vorbild plus Freedom of Information Act der USA sofort und jetzt. Sonst werden Sie noch ganz andere Lawinen erleben, die dann allerdings auf bewohntes Gebiet abgehen werden.

 
  
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  Manfred Weber (PPE-DE). - Herr Präsident, Frau Kommissarin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Wir beschließen auf europäischer Ebene Gesetze für viele hundert Millionen Menschen, und deswegen ist Transparenz geboten. Im Ziel sind wir uns alle einig: Transparenz ist wichtig, und ich glaube auch, dass wir uns als Europäisches Parlament nicht zu verstecken brauchen. Wir sind unter Medienfokus, wir werden von Journalisten beobachtet, unsere Arbeit ist heute transparent.

Im Ziel sind sich alle einig, aber es darf erlaubt sein, über den Weg zu streiten. Und nicht jeder, der den Weg diskutiert und hinterfragt, ist gleichzeitig jemand, der alles im stillen Kämmerlein machen will, sondern jemand, der Fragen stellt. Bei uns in der EVP-ED-Fraktion gibt es viele kritische Fragen, z.B. zum Wettbewerbsverfahren im Rat, z.B. zur Frage, ob wir alle Dokumente des Juristischen Dienstes öffentlich machen müssen, z.B. auch zur Frage, ob die privaten Angelegenheiten eines Europa-Abgeordneten jetzt auch am öffentlichen Tisch erörtert werden sollen. Wir streiten für den Datenschutz unserer Bürger, aber die MdEPs sollen alles öffentlich machen. Solche Fragen zu stellen, ist erlaubt.

Der zentrale Punkt, warum es in unserer Fraktion auch viel Skepsis gibt, ist die Frage des legislativen Prozesses. Wenn wir namentlich abstimmen, kann jeder nachvollziehen, wie einzelne Abgeordnete abgestimmt haben. Jeder Abgeordnete muss auch verantworten, wie er abstimmt. Das ist heute schon nachvollziehbar. Aber in einem legislativen Prozess, im Trilog, wenn wir miteinander diskutieren, muss es auch Räume geben, wo wir Verhandlungen führen.

Wir wissen, wenn all das öffentlich ist, dann wird es die Form von Verhandlungen, die wir heute haben, nicht mehr geben, weil man gleich am Pranger steht, wenn man einmal versucht, politische Kompromisse zu finden und einzugehen. Deswegen herrscht bei uns nach wie vor große Skepsis zu diesem Vorschlag. Wir werden heute Abend in der Fraktion unsere endgültige Position klären.

Ich möchte aber für die Fraktion klarmachen: Transparenz ja, aber der Weg muss diskutierbar bleiben. Im Ziel sind wir uns auch alle einig: Wenn wir auf europäischer Ebene über die einzelnen Institutionen diskutieren, dann ist nicht das Parlament das Problem, sondern dann ist es der nicht anwesende Rat, der das Problem darstellt, weil wir leider Gottes überhaupt nicht wissen, was in den Arbeitsgruppen im Rat passiert.

 
  
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  Inger Segelström (PSE). - Herr talman, kommissionär Wallström! Jag vill börja med att tacka Michael Cashman och andra som medverkat att vi nu snart får ett nytt och efterlängtat steg för att göra vårt arbete mer tillgängligt för våra medborgare. Vice ordförande kommissionär Wallström har också kämpat intensivt och länge.

När Sverige blev medlem i EU var många oroliga över att handlingar skulle läcka ut via Sverige, som har en mycket stark offentlighetsprincip, men det har inte alls hänt. Det kan Michael Cashman berätta, för är man för offentlighet och tillgänglighet så vet man också var gränserna går för arbetsmaterial, sekretess och utlämnande.

I LIBE så la EPP ner sina röster. Jag hoppas ni nu är för att öka offentligheten i EU, så att det svenska ordförandeskapet med oss andra får utveckla denna så viktiga och centrala demokratifråga för alla EU:s medborgare. Men jag kan förstå att den konservativa gruppen är tveksam, ni var ju den grupp som såg till att vi påtvingades en hemlig omröstning då Turkiet skulle börja medlemsförhandla. Är det de som ni vill ha? Jag hoppas att parlamentet nu står enigt och att vi stolt kan säga till väljarna i EU-valet i juni att EU blir mer och mer öppet – att vi inte har några dolda agendor och vill bli granskade och bedömda för vad vi gör – och med en offentlighet som vi kan vara stolta över. Vi gör en massa bra saker och det vore bra om medborgarna bättre kunde följa det arbete vi gör.

 
  
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  Bogusław Rogalski (UEN). - Panie Przewodniczący! Jak wiadomo, instytucje i organy Wspólnoty muszą podejmować decyzje w sposób bardzo otwarty i jawny. Jest to podstawą demokracji. Obywatele i organy wybrane powinny mieć zgodnie z tą zasadą jak najszerszy dostęp do dokumentów będących w posiadaniu instytucji europejskich, również naszego Parlamentu. Tym samym umożliwi to rzeczywiste uczestnictwo obywateli w procesie politycznym oraz zwracanie się do władz publicznych o wyjaśnienie.

Mimo wysiłków podejmowanych przez instytucje europejskie w celu zwiększenia otwartości i przejrzystości, sytuacja ta pozostaje niestety daleko od zamierzonej. Komisja Petycji wyraża przekonanie, iż obywatele są świadomi wad oraz braku w stosowaniu tego prawa. Niezwykle ważne jest, aby obywatele podczas postępowania np. o naruszenie prawa, będącego często wynikiem petycji od obywateli, mieli zapewniony pełny dostęp do wszystkich dokumentów na każdym etapie dochodzenia swoich praw. Powinno to również dotyczyć dokumentów dostarczanych przez państwa członkowskie instytucjom europejskim. Z tym był duży problem, choćby w Komisji Petycji, przy tzw. sprawie niemieckiego Jugendamt, gdzie dostęp do informacji, wydawałoby się publicznych, był bardzo ograniczony.

Na sukces europejskiej inicjatywy na rzecz przejrzystości powinien się składać sprawny dostęp wnioskodawcy do potrzebnych informacji – raz jeszcze chcę to podkreślić. Tego wymagają zasady demokracji.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI). - Herr Präsident! Man ist sich in der EU der Entfremdung der Bürger gegenüber der Politik offenbar bewusst, daher versucht man ja auch immer wieder Bürgerfreundlichkeit zu demonstrieren. Dazu zählen auch regelmäßig wiederkehrende Ansätze, den Zugang zu den Dokumenten von Parlament, Rat und Kommission einfacher zu gestalten.

Da ist das Internet natürlich ein einfaches und kostengünstiges Mittel. Die Homepage der EU wurde zwar überarbeitet und ist immerhin logischer und übersichtlicher geworden als Vorgängervarianten. Bei ihrem Internetauftritt hebt die EU auch die Bedeutung der Vielsprachigkeit als wesentlichen Faktor für größere Transparenz, Legitimität und Effizienz der Union hervor. Sie trägt aber leider dem eigenen Ansinnen nicht wirklich Rechnung. In der Praxis könnte man nämlich bei konsequenter Anwendung der drei Arbeitssprachen Deutsch, Englisch und Französisch einen Großteil der Bevölkerung erreichen.

Auch der Internetauftritt des aktuellen Ratsvorsitzenden, der auf Englisch, Französisch und Tschechisch erstellt ist, nimmt nicht darauf Rücksicht, dass Deutsch mit einem Anteil von immerhin 18% die am meisten gesprochene Muttersprache innerhalb der EU ist und von 14% der EU-Bürger als Fremdsprache beherrscht wird. Es ist meines Erachtens Zeit, diesem Umstand endlich stärker Rechnung zu tragen!

 
  
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  Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE-DE). - Mr President, access to information is one of the cornerstones of democracy. People have to have the widest possible access to all information at the early stages of the decisions taken by the institutions, or on the background to these decisions, so that they can fully participate in the formulation of policies.

The EU aspires to be more democratic and accessible to its citizens, so granting the widest possible access to EU documents is crucial to the Union’s efforts to increase citizens’ confidence in its institutions and to the whole legitimacy of this institution. That is why I was rather disappointed at the Commission’s proposal regarding this regulation, although I would like to congratulate the rapporteur on the very good, dedicated and skilful work he has done in this context.

I would also like to thank Mrs Jäätteenmäki for her great efforts in this matter. Both of them have held to the guiding principles of openness and transparency where denying access to any document held by an institution is a definite exception. Such exceptions are in some cases necessary, but they should be limited to the smallest number on a clearly-defined basis.

I also welcome the initiatives to push for the more proactive and clear disclosure of documents through improved internet databases. Accessing documents is also a question of finding them. Often information exists online but is hiding behind complex databases, and there we certainly need a lot more further development.

Colleagues, we are defenders of democracy and, therefore, should have been more active already. We have to be very bold in defending broad access and transparency to all documents. I think that this is not the time to start compromising, or else we may compromise our status as good decision-makers in the eyes of our voters as well.

 
  
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  Andrzej Jan Szejna (PSE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Na wstępie chciałbym pogratulować panu Michaelowi Cashmanowi znakomitego sprawozdania, które dotyka jednego z najważniejszych aspektów europejskiej demokracji.

Unia Europejska podlega systematycznym zmianom i transformacjom. Niestety w dużej mierze komunikacja pomiędzy Unią a obywatelami za tymi zmianami nie nadąża. Podobnie jest w dziedzinie dostępu do dokumentów i informacji, których ostatecznymi użytkownikami są właśnie obywatele.

Zasada przejrzystości jest podstawową zasadą Unii Europejskiej, wyrażoną w art. 255 Traktatu ustanawiającego Wspólnotę Europejską. Każdy obywatel Unii, każda osoba fizyczna lub prawna mająca miejsce zamieszkania lub siedzibę w państwie członkowskim ma prawo dostępu do dokumentów Parlamentu Europejskiego, Rady i Komisji.

Zainteresowanie obywateli Europą oraz zaufanie, jakim obdarzają oni instytucje Unii oraz polityków europejskich i krajowych można budować jedynie dzięki pełnej oraz rzetelnej informacji. Naszym obowiązkiem jest zatem maksymalne zwiększanie przejrzystości i wydajności instytucji Unii Europejskiej. Powinniśmy skoncentrować się na ułatwieniu użytkownikom dostępu do informacji, dalszym upraszczaniem systemu oraz jego narzędzi.

Rozporządzenie, którego dotyczy niniejsze sprawozdanie to dobre podstawy prawne, które jednak wymagają udoskonalenia i uporządkowania. Dlatego ubolewam, że Komisja nie uwzględniła wniosku sprawozdawcy z 2006 r. dotyczącego przejrzystości.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE-DE). - Mr President, access to documents is one part of the process of transparency, but there are many other issues. The use of documents and information is key, and one of the big problems we have – and we acknowledge it, and the Commissioner in the Chamber currently is one of the best practised – is to get knowledge of the EU’s decision-making process out there, because people do not understand the process. During the Lisbon Treaty debate in Ireland people came up to me and said: ‘you are urging us to vote “yes” and you are going to lose your job’. They thought I was the Commissioner – perish the thought!

It is not enough to say that we give people loads of information, because in one sense that would lead to a lack of transparency: it just covers things up with mountains of paper but no clarity. I would prefer that people fully understood how this place works and therefore could engage with it. I dare say that there are many in this House who do not fully know how this place works. I rest my case.

 
  
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  Danutė Budreikaitė (ALDE). - Mėgindama spręsti Baltijos šalių energetinių salų problemą, ypač padidėsiančią grėsmę Lietuvos energetiniam saugumui po Ignalinos atominės jėgainės uždarymo šių metų pabaigoje Europos Komisija parengė Europos Sąjungos Baltijos jūros strategijos projektą. Aš kreipiausi į Europos Komisijos Energetikos ir Transporto direktoratą, kad jis suteiktų galimybę susipažinti su dokumentu. Man buvo atsakyta, kad su aukšto lygio grupe, rengiančia projektą, nebuvo diskutuota galimybė pateikti informaciją ir dokumentus viešumai, kaip buvo suformuluota atsakyme: Sharing with outside world. Europos Parlamentas vadinamas išoriniu pasauliu, kuriam informacija neteikiama. Apie kokias galimybes visuomenei susipažinti su Europos institucijų dokumentais mes kalbame nebe pirmą kartą? Jei piliečiams atstovaujantis Parlamentaras neturi tokios teisės? Tai yra tiesiog katastrofa.

 
  
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  Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the Commission. − Mr President, I should like to thank the Members for an interesting debate and for their many valuable comments.

Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 will now be updated to ‘version two’, one might say. It is important to point out again that we are not starting from scratch: we already have a good basis, and it is just a matter of improving on that. This will also be a version for the age of the Internet, as was mentioned in the debate. Electronic registers will now be included, and add to that active dissemination, as examples of these improvements.

The ideal situation would, of course, be for us to disseminate information so actively that no requests for access have to be made since everything is already out there – with some exceptions, of course. I can give you one example of what can be done, which is that I have already made my own correspondence register available on the Internet, so you can see my correspondence and documents.

It is not possible for me to go through all the comments that were made during the debate, but I want to comment briefly on a few crucial points, one of which concerns the definition of documents under Article 3. This is one of the articles of the Commission’s proposal that have been most discussed and, I admit, most criticised.

We maintain that the current definition leads to ambiguity and a risk of unpredictability and bad practice. Is this Post-It note a document, for example? Mr Cashman is saying it is, and according to the wide definition in the Regulation, it could very well be so – as could the other scribbles I have here. Sometimes it is not helpful to make a definition too broad. We still maintain a wide definition, but we will reduce the discretionary non-disclosure of documents. The definition that we propose is much wider than the notion of official documents often used in national legislation. It comes very close to the concept of information in the UK Freedom of Information Act and in the Dutch law on transparency, for example. The registration of documents is an obligation under internal Commission rules, but these do not determine whether a document falls within the scope of the regulation. So we clarified and helped with the definition of documents. This will also help citizens to know what is it you can and should ask for in order to get full information. A more precise definition of documents means safer administration and more clarity for citizens.

The Court has ruled that documents relating to an ongoing investigation are manifestly covered by an exception to the right of access and, therefore, that those files are currently not acceptable and this does not constitute additional restriction of the right of access. In no Member State do citizens have access to the files of the competition authorities – I just wanted to make that point.

I also acknowledge that we could have explained and phrased things better in Article 3. I believe we share the same goal, and thus it should also be possible to find a clear and unambiguous wording. This is an example of an area where we should be able to achieve a good compromise text.

Another fiercely discussed point is Article 5(2) concerning access to Member States’ documents. Let me be clear that the Commission’s intention has been to implement what the European Court of Justice has ruled, and Member States must effectively justify why they refuse access to one of their documents, just as the institutions do regarding all other documents. The bottom line will always be the rules in Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.

However, it is equally important that the Commission can have correspondence with Member States, for example in the field of infringements of EU law. We need to have the possibility to quickly find satisfactory solutions from the perspective of both the Commission and EU citizens, as codified by EU law. Those kinds of contacts need to remain confidential, and that is also what the Court has said.

Finally, I shall just comment on the ‘space to think’ under Article 4(3). If we think carefully, I guess most people would agree that Parliament, as well as the Commission and the Council, needs a certain space to think. Documents related to decisions that have not yet been taken, or reflecting internal discussions, are not the same as other documents. What about the records of political group meetings or preparations? You have yourselves identified a number of problems and limitations arising from refusing a space to think, considering, again, what would benefit citizens most and what would be most helpful.

I must say that I would have preferred the Council to be here – as many of you have said – just as I would have preferred a fuller House, because these are absolutely crucial issues for all of us. The big task for us all in the next few weeks or months is to find common ground. That is also true within this House, and today’s debate has shown that it is not always that easy. The more divisions there are, the more difficult it will be when the three institutions hold discussions. Parliament, the Council and the Commission each have their role, which should be respected, and I hope Parliament will speak with one strong voice, because that will benefit us all and benefit the end result, which I hope will be a balanced and workable compromise text.

 
  
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  Michael Cashman, rapporteur. − Mr President, those were interesting remarks, but I am afraid they have very little to do with the contents of my report.

I would point out that we have nothing to fear from public scrutiny and we have absolutely everything to fear as institutions from hiding information. We become more vulnerable. Commissioner, it is official documents which are accessible. Go back and look at the report. The space to think. Official documents. Within the notion of a space to think, that will not be official. Go back to the report. Accept our principles.

It has been an interesting debate but I have to say that the recast – which you defend – is not in the spirit of the interinstitutional agreement and it is not enough. You say it has worked well, but I am afraid the recast ignores vital jurisprudence on what actually needs to be done.

My reasons for delaying the final vote are so that we have absolutely maximum flexibility to negotiate with the political parties and with the institutions. I would further point out that there is nothing to prevent the Commission from amending its proposal at any time after the vote tomorrow, except perhaps institutional and political reluctance.

I find it somewhat patronising to be told that we will get action plans. Commissioner, I do not doubt your personal commitment to openness and transparency, but I do not want action plans for our citizens. I want rights enshrined in law which cannot be taken away – not gifts, but rights.

Parliament must therefore put political pressure on the Presidency to negotiate and it may be that we will have to negotiate without the Commission. Yes, Commissioner, I know the Council is not here, but I do not give up on one Council. I have been in politics long enough to know that you fight and you fight.

Let me finally quote this President, if you will allow me: ‘My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government’. So said Barack Obama on 21 January 2009. I await a comparable announcement from the Commission or, indeed, from President Barroso.

 
  
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  Presidente. − La discussione è chiusa.

La votazione avrà luogo mercoledì 11 marzo 2009.

Suspension 11.45 - 12.5

Dichiarazioni scritte (articolo 142)

 
  
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  Σταύρος Λαμπρινίδης (PSE), γραπτώς. Οι τροπολογίες του Ευρωκοινοβουλίου στον Κανονισμό για την πρόσβαση των Ευρωπαίων πολιτών στα Έγγραφα των Ευρωπαϊκών Θεσμών -- και ιδιαιτέρως σε έγγραφα που αφορούν στη νομοθετική διαδικασία -- αποτελούν καταλυτικό βήμα προς την κατοχύρωση της διαφάνειας και της συμμετοχικής δημοκρατίας στην Ευρώπη.

Ιδιαίτερα σημαντική κατά τη γνώμη μου είναι η απαίτηση για τη δημοσιοποίηση κάθε πρωτοβουλίας ή εγγράφου που αποσκοπεί στο να επηρεάσει με οποιονδήποτε τρόπο τη διαδικασία λήψης αποφάσεων.

Είναι γνωστό ότι τα διάφορα "λόμπι" επιχειρούν συχνότατα να επηρεάσουν τη νομοθετική διαδικασία, προωθώντας τα επιχειρήματά τους. Οι Ευρωπαίοι πολίτες έχουν κάθε δικαίωμα να γνωρίζουν αυτά τα επιχειρήματα και αυτές τις παρεμβάσεις. Πρέπει να μπορούν να κρίνουν την ουσία τους αλλά και να αξιολογούν την τελική στάση που τηρούν οι κυβερνήσεις τους, η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή και, φυσικά, οι ευρωβουλευτές τους.

Το ίδιο τουλάχιστον επίπεδο διαφάνειας, θα έπρεπε να παρέχεται και σε εθνικό επίπεδο από τα κράτη μέλη προς τους πολίτες τους, βάσει ρητής απαιτήσεως της έκθεσης του Ευρωκοινοβουλίου. Μια προτροπή, την οποία εύχομαι πολύ σύντομα να υιοθετήσουν οι Κυβερνήσεις και τα εθνικά Κοινοβούλια.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: Edward McMILLAN-SCOTT
Vice-President

 
Aġġornata l-aħħar: 26 ta' Mejju 2009Avviż legali