Testo integrale 
Procedura : 2008/0090(COD)
Ciclo di vita in Aula
Ciclo del documento : A7-0426/2011

Testi presentati :


Discussioni :

PV 14/12/2011 - 14
CRE 14/12/2011 - 14

Votazioni :

PV 15/12/2011 - 9.2
CRE 15/12/2011 - 9.2
Dichiarazioni di voto
Dichiarazioni di voto

Testi approvati :


Mercoledì 14 dicembre 2011 - Strasburgo Edizione rivista

14. Accesso del pubblico ai documenti del Parlamento europeo, del Consiglio e della Commissione (discussione)
Video degli interventi

  President. − The next item is the report by Michael Cashman, on behalf of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (recast) (COM(2008)0229 – C6-0184/2008 – 2008/0090(COD)) (A7-0426/2011).


  Michael Cashman, rapporteur. − Madam President, can I start by thanking colleagues that have worked with me on this dossier for what seems a very long time now. There may be some differences between most of us and the European People’s Party but I am sure that we can overcome those differences in the long term.

I will put this debate in context, because it is not only about access to documents. The debate is about the pre-condition of democracy: access to documents is, according to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, fundamental to citizens and therefore any exceptions to that right have to be narrowly defined and justified. Only through transparency can citizens participate in an informed way in the democratic process, which is even more important in the current crisis.

What we are talking about is a right that allows citizens and their representatives outside Parliament and the institutions to make sure that we are accountable: parliamentarians accountable for what we do in their name; the Commission accountable for what they do; and equally the Council of Ministers accountable too.

As we know, meetings of the Council of Ministers currently take place behind closed doors. If we knew how our Ministers and our Prime Ministers vote in their secret meetings, we would be able to hold them to account in the national parliaments – hold them to account not on how they report but what they say in those meetings and how they vote. It would also, I believe, destroy the media myth that unpopular measures from Brussels are imposed on national governments, whereas the contrary is true. National governments have to agree.

It is also about building trust between the EU and its citizens, whereby a mixing of concepts from Member States and EU should be avoided. That is why I believe that at EU level we should become a model for our Member States on transparency. I will use the remaining amount of my time at the end of the debate to respond to any points and to any questions that arise during the debate.


  Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission. − Madam President, public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents is an important right for citizens and it is our responsibility to make such access as broad and as easy as possible. At the same time, we are the guardians of other fundamental rights, such as the privacy of individuals or the protection of intellectual property rights. None of these rights can claim precedence over the others, and we must protect them all; therefore our institutions have the responsibility to strike the right balance amongst sometimes competing interests. Our proposal from 2008 reflects this delicate balance.

Two-and-a-half years ago we discussed the first report presented by rapporteur Mr Cashman. At that time the European Parliament decided not to vote on the draft legislative resolution and to refer the report back to the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. Regrettably, no real progress was made since, despite my standing offer to have a genuine dialogue on the core elements of our proposal.

In the meantime the Lisbon Treaty has entered into force and required adjustment to the 2008 Commission proposal. This was duly highlighted in our communication on the consequences for pending proposals of the entry into force of the Treaty, where we suggested that these adjustments were included in the ongoing legislative process.

As there was no progress, the Commission decided in March this year to submit a separate proposal with a view to making the current regulation compliant with the new Treaty. Let me be very clear. The extension of the scope to all institutions, bodies, offices and agencies is a legal obligation under the Treaty and therefore should not be controversial. This is why I have suggested a swift and separate discussion on this rather technical amendment, leaving the door open for further discussions on other changes to the regulation.

I regret that this pragmatic and constructive two-step approach has not been followed by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and that the report we are discussing today actually merges the two Commission proposals. This means that the implementation of the legal obligations under the Treaty, the actual creation of a new right for citizens, is now being postponed until the three institutions agree on full-scale review of the regulation.

In the meantime citizens will have no full, formal access to documents coming, for example, from the European Council or the External Action Service. This agreement risks taking time and I am afraid that, given the amendments proposed in the report, agreement on changes to the regulations is not within reach. I cannot of course anticipate the position the Council will take on the proposed amendments but many of them cannot be accepted by the Commission.

Firstly, and because the Lisbon Treaty has extended the principle of access to documents to all institutions, bodies, agencies and offices of the EU, any common set of rules needs to feed a greater number of bodies with very different mandates and competences and this requires a sufficient degree of flexibility.

The proposed amendments do not go, however, in this direction and some of the amendments would even significantly weaken the protection of legitimate interests. For example: no exception to refuse access would apply to legislative documents. It means we would need to grant access to early drafts of legislation and to legal opinions. The institutions would simply have no space to think. This is going too far in our view and we cannot rule out the need to protect a document a least temporarily.

Another example concerns non-legislative documents where legal advice would no longer be protected if the rapporteur’s amendments are carried through. Finally, it would also be impossible to protect personal data or sensitive documents after 30 years. Besides protecting legitimate interests and a space to think we must also ensure that the regulation is used to disclose documents to the public in the public interest, and I would underline and repeat: in the public interest. This is its ultimate objective.

From our experience, however, the regulation is regularly misused by lobbyists or law firms with a view to obtaining information serving their own private interests. As these requests mostly concern very voluminous files – 50 000 pages is not an exception – the Commission considers that the handling of such requests is excessively resource-consuming, with no added value for citizens. Therefore the Commission proposes some clarification to the scope of the regulation. These proposals would not affect legitimate requests and our estimates would not impact on the numbers of the requests granted. They are aimed at better protecting public resources and a well functioning administration but they have now been simply removed from the report with no clear justification.

Finally, a substantial number of amendments concern provisions of the regulation which the Commission did not propose to amend. We are not adopting a new regulation but amending an existing one, using recasting. I simply recall that the scope for substantive changes open to the legislator is bound to follow those parts included in the Commission’s proposal. Such is the agreement between the three institutions on recasting, which dates from 2003.

To sum up the Commission will look carefully at the amendments that will be voted by this Parliament but, let me be very clear, many cannot be accepted by the Commission.

Though disappointed by the lack of progress so far, I hope that a real constructive dialogue can take place between the three institutions after the vote, with a view to reaching an agreement. I would also like to repeat what I have said on previous occasions. The regulation is part of the EU policy on transparency but we can do a lot beyond formal legislation; we can improve registers; we can improve user-friendliness and accessibility; we can be more active in dissemination and documents can be published faster. I can bring some more examples. The real objective of transparency is to bring our institutions closer to citizens through an active policy of informing them and making them aware of how Europe-wide policies are elaborated and may affect their daily lives.

I look forward to the constructive and thought-provoking discussions to come. The subject deserves it and our citizens are entitled to expect a clear and well-functioning legislation on public access to our documents.


  Anneli Jäätteenmäki, perussopimus-, työjärjestys- ja toimielinasioiden valiokunnan lausunnon valmistelija. − Arvoisa puhemies, haluan kiittää mietinnön esittelijää Michael Cashmania hyvästä yhteistyöstä mietinnön laatimisen aikana.

Viime vuodet ovat osoittaneet meille, että on hyvin vaikeaa edetä avoimuudessa EU-tasolla. Reilut kaksi vuotta sitten voimaan astunut Lissabonin sopimus korosti avoimuutta, mutta valitettavasti se ei ole tullut vielä käytännön tasolle. Erityisesti valitan sitä, että kaikesta komission avoimuutta korostavista sanoista huolimatta komissio ei ole suostunut antamaan sellaisia esityksiä, jotka olisivat lisänneet avoimuutta, vaan päinvastoin vuonna 2008 tullut esitys olisi rajoittanut ja laskenut avoimuuden tasoa. Minusta se oli hyvin valitettavaa.

Parlamentissa kaikesta huolimatta olemme päässeet muuttamaan tätä komission esitystä, ja nyt emme kuitenkaan mene taaksepäin vaan tämänhetkisen valiokuntaesityksen mukaan ottaisimme muutamia pieniä askeleita eteenpäin. Valitettavaa on se, että Euroopan parlamentin suurin ryhmä EPP vastustaa näitä esityksiä ja vastustaa avoimuuden lisäämistä sekä äänesti koko mietintöä vastaan. Mutta toivottavasti huomenna, kun äänestys on, tilanne muuttuu.

Minun mielestäni on tärkeää, että kansalaiset saavat tietoa. Komission jäsen Šefčovič otti täällä esille jo, että ongelmana on esimerkiksi huippukokousasiakirjojen saatavuus. Tällä hetkellä haluaisin ottaa esille toisen ajankohtaisen asian eli tämän Euroopan vakausmekanismin avoimuuden: esimerkiksi Euroopan tilintarkastustuomioistuimella ei ole mahdollisuutta saada sen asiakirjoja eikä tehdä tilintarkastusta, eli sieltä puuttuu avoimuus, kuten monissa muissakin asioissa.

Toivotaan, että otetaan pieniä askeleita eteenpäin ja että tulevissa neuvotteluissa avoimuus ja tällainen julkinen toimintatapa korostuisivat ja löytäisimme yhteisymmärryksen.


  Ágnes Hankiss, A Petíciós Bizottság véleményének előadója. − Üdvözlendő minden olyan kezdeményezés, amely az átláthatóság tágítását és a jó adminisztrációs technikák kidolgozását szorgalmazza. Válságokkal sújtott időszakban a polgárok elemi érdeke, hogy világosan lássák azt, hogy milyen szempontok és tények állnak a politikai viták és az intézményi döntések hátterében. Ugyanakkor azonban, ha az információhoz való hozzáférést az égvilágon mindenre kiterjesztenénk, és némileg propagandisztikus túlzásokkal kívánnánk megvalósítani, akkor a nemes szándékok könnyen visszájára fordulnának.

A dokumentumok megismerése nem válhat parttalanná. Nem terjedhet ki olyan esetekre, amikor az információhoz való hozzáférés más alapjogokat sért, gondolok itt elsősorban a kényes személyiségi jogokra, más oldalról pedig a biztonsághoz fűződő közösségi jogokra és érdekekre. Tehát, hogyha ezeket sértené vagy gyengítené, akkor visszájára fordulhatna maga az eredendően értékes törekvés. Alapvető jogainknak az egyensúlya nem borulhat fel, hiszen az az európai demokráciák egyik garanciális eleme. Ezért is őszintén sajnálom, hogy Cashman úr egyébként fontos és tiszteletreméltó jelentését megítélésünk szerint sok ponton túlzó és egyoldalú koncepciója miatt nem tudjuk támogatni. De ezt őszintén sajnálom, mert az alapcélkitűzése nagyon fontos.


  Renate Sommer, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin! Es gibt keinen Zweifel, dieses Hohe Haus setzt sich für Transparenz und für Offenheit gegenüber dem Bürger ein. Das tut natürlich auch meine EVP-Fraktion. Aber der vorliegende Bericht geht weit über das eigentliche Ziel hinaus. Bestehende Gesetzgebung und interinstitutionelle Vereinbarungen werden ignoriert, der Schutz von Wettbewerbsverfahren, sensiblen und persönlichen Daten wird missachtet. Das verstößt unter anderem massiv gegen den Datenschutz, für den wir uns doch an anderer Stelle immer so sehr einsetzen. Sollen wir nun die Privatsphäre der Weltöffentlichkeit preisgeben? Genau diese Gefahr besteht mit dem vorliegenden Bericht, weil Verwaltungsvorgänge und Entscheidungen, die zum Beispiel ja auch Personalfragen umfassen, veröffentlicht werden sollen. Gleiches gilt für den Schutz von Geschäftsgeheimnissen und sensiblen Informationen im Rahmen von Zulassungsverfahren, Gerichtsverhandlungen und Wettbewerbsverfahren.

Mit seinen schwammigen, unklaren, viel zu weit gefassten Definitionen erlaubt der Bericht den öffentlichen Zugriff auch auf derartige Dokumente. Denn als Dokument werden alle Daten und Inhalte definiert, die in irgendeinem Zusammenhang mit den Politiken, Maßnahmen, Entscheidungen aller Organe und Institutionen der EU stehen. Dazu zählen weitgehend auch vorbereitende, vertrauliche und geheime Dokumente sowie alle damit zusammenhängenden Informationen. Damit umfasst diese Definition eben nicht nur Dokumente, sondern Informationen. Auch Informationen aus laufenden interinstitutionellen Verfahren wie z. B. aus informellen Trilogverhandlungen müssten veröffentlicht werden.

Wissen Sie, Herr Berichterstatter, denn wirklich, was das bedeutet? Es bedeutet öffentlichen Zugang zum Verfahren! Es bedeutet öffentlichen Einfluss auf das Entscheidungsverfahren! Dann könnten wir doch gleich die Lobbyisten an den Tisch setzen und verhandeln lassen! Will das denn der Bürger? Ich kann es mir nicht vorstellen.

Zusätzlich sollen dann auch noch Dokumente im Zusammenhang mit nichtlegislativen Verfahren veröffentlicht werden, Maßnahmen der internen Verwaltungsorganisation etc. Wo ist da das öffentliche Interesse? Oder würde es nicht vielmehr unsere Arbeit behindern?

Dieser Bericht ist nicht im Sinne unserer Bürgerinnen und Bürger. Er würde eine Flut von nutzlosen Informationen herbeiführen. Er würde unsere Arbeit unmöglich machen, und vor allen Dingen ist er für die anderen Institutionen nicht akzeptabel, weil er gegen geltende Regeln und Gesetze verstößt. Sie wissen das, Herr Berichterstatter, und im Grunde genommen arbeiten Sie damit gegen weitergehende Transparenz und gegen den Bürger.


  Monika Flašíková Beňová, za skupinu S&D. – Na rozdiel od predrečníčky ja sa domnievam, že transparentnosť legislatívneho procesu Európskej únie je podľa našej skupiny niečo, bez čoho sa nedá hovoriť o legitimite európskych inštitúcií a aj demokratickosti Európskej únie ako takej.

Dnes musíme žiaľ skonštatovať, že Komisia v aktuálnom návrhu nariadenia nie dostatočne reaguje na nový rámec Lisabonskej zmluvy a v niektorých aspektoch návrh nariadenia obmedzuje oproti predchádzajúcej verzii. Najvýznamnejším krokom je opätovné vymedzenie pojmu dokument v článku 3, ktorý tvorí jadro nariadenia. Namiesto zúženia vymedzenia pojmu dokument by sa jeho rozsah mal podľa nás rozšíriť, aby zahŕňal oficiálne informácie. Prístup žiadateľov k určitým informáciám by totiž umožnil požadovať sprístupnenie osobitných informácií presnejším, cielenejším a komplexnejším spôsobom. Pritom by sa zabránilo prijímaniu veľkého množstva nepotrebných údajov, ktorých poskytovanie by znamenalo dodatočné náklady. Nové vymedzenie by tiež uľahčilo získavanie čiastočného prístupu k určitým tajným dokumentom a umožnilo by jasné rozlišovanie medzi neoficiálnymi a oficiálnymi informáciami.

Vážený pán viceprezident, ja vôbec nepochybujem, že aj pre vás je mimoriadne dôležité, aby sa zabezpečil úplný prístup ku všetkým dokumentom týkajúcim sa uzavretých konaní. Návrh Komisie, ktorý dáva členským štátom právo na zamietnutie prístupu k dokumentom na základe ich právnych predpisov je však z nášho pohľadu v rozpore s jurisdikciou Európskeho súdneho dvora, a je preto pre nás neakceptovateľný.


  Sonia Alfano, a nome del gruppo ALDE. – Signora Presidente, desidero anzitutto ringraziare l'onore Cashman per l'eccellente lavoro svolto e soprattutto per la pazienza dimostrata.

Come ben tutti sappiamo, la democrazia si basa sul rendere pubblici i lavori legislativi, sulla trasparenza del processo decisionale, sul diritto dei cittadini a conoscere per decidere. Per questo la Carta dei diritti fondamentali e i Trattati europei hanno proclamato il diritto fondamentale all'accesso ai documenti e alle informazioni.

Questo diritto deve essere garantito a tutti i cittadini a tutti i livelli, da quello locale a quello internazionale, per assicurare che le istituzioni svolgano il compito per il quale sono state create: lavorare per i cittadini in maniera trasparente. La trasparenza è fondamentale per prevenire e lottare contro la corruzione e le infiltrazioni della criminalità organizzata e dei poteri forti nelle istituzioni a tutti i livelli.

Sono particolarmente soddisfatta perché la relazione sulla modifica del regolamento 1049/2001 sull'accesso ai documenti ha accolto alcuni importanti emendamenti da me depositati, in particolare quelli sulla trasparenza finanziaria e di bilancio, sui beneficiari dei fondi europei, su come vengono spesi i soldi comunitari e su come vengono implementate le politiche europee – il tutto accessibile attraverso un data base su Internet.

Altri emendamenti da me depositati sono contenuti nella relazione, stabilendo norme per l'accesso alle informazioni in formato elettronico contenuto nei data base europei, norme per la limitazione delle eccezioni all'accesso ai documenti, in particolare quando sono relativi alle procedure legislative europee, e norme per il superamento del potere di veto degli Stati membri alla pubblicazione dei documenti.

Il gruppo ALDE voterà quindi a favore della relazione Cashman e spero che la maggioranza di questo Parlamento la appoggerà, nonostante l'opposizione di alcuni deputati che hanno portato il loro gruppo a seguire gli interessi delle lobby economiche, industriali e burocratiche o asserragliati nella difesa della casta e dei suoi segreti.

Come gruppo ALDE, chiediamo alla Commissione europea e al Consiglio di accettare le proposte del Parlamento europeo e di lanciare con decisione i negoziati sotto la Presidenza danese, per compiere finalmente quei passi avanti per affermare il diritto fondamentale e democratico dei cittadini a conoscere per poter deliberare.


  Judith Sargentini, namens de Verts/ALE-Fractie. – Voorzitter, democratie is niet eenvoudig. Een democratie vraagt om openheid. Democratie vraagt erom dat mensen kunnen controleren of het besluit wat voor ze genomen is het juiste besluit is. We hebben tegenwoordig geen directe democratie meer, we hebben volksvertegenwoordigers en we hebben ministers in bijvoorbeeld de Europese Raad. Maar het is nog steeds van het grootste belang dat wat wij doen door een ander gecontroleerd wordt. En het lijkt erop dat de christendemocraten in dit Huis nog een soort ouderwetse vorm van bestuur willen, namelijk "Gaat u maar rustig slapen, wij zorgen wel voor u en alles komt goed".

Maar juist in een Europa van 27 lidstaten, of misschien 26 lidstaten plus één, is het zeer cruciaal dat we kunnen afwegen welk land of welke groep voor welk belang staat. Fouten kunnen gemakkelijker gemaakt worden achter een dichte deur dan achter een open deur. Dus zullen we de Europeanen toegang moeten geven tot besluitvorming. Een dichte deur leidt ook tot meer euroscepsis. Hoe weet je nu zeker dat jouw minister voor jou het beste gedaan heeft? Dat kan hij je thuis wel vertellen, maar je kunt het niet controleren. En dat is waar dit Europees Parlement voor moet staan.

Dat de Commissie en de Raad en ook de christendemocraten uitstralen "nee hoor, dat is eigenlijk alleen maar lastig en daar willen we de Europeanen niet mee lastigvallen, dat kost alleen maar tijd en we zouden de lobbyisten aan tafel noden", dat vind ik naïef. De lobbyisten zitten aan tafel, en ik zou graag weten aan welke tafel welke lobbyisten zitten en wie zich erdoor laat beïnvloeden. Daarom vraagt het Europees Parlement én vragen de Europeanen om openheid van zaken.


  Tadeusz Cymański, w imieniu grupy ECR. – Pani Przewodnicząca! Projekt rozporządzenia, który jest przedmiotem naszej dyskusji, ma szansę poprawić w oczach obywateli przejrzystość funkcjonowania instytucji europejskich. Jeśli zasadą transparentności obejmiemy również organy, urzędy i agencje Unii, to, analizując ich pracę, poprzez łatwiejszy dostęp do wydawanych dokumentów, sami obywatele być może dojdą do wniosku, że w niektórych przypadkach rozbudowana unijna biurokracja jest przerostem formy nad treścią, a jej utrzymywanie nie zawsze znajduje uzasadnienie, zwłaszcza w dobie kryzysu.

W tym kontekście nie wydaje mi się również słuszne tworzenie nowych stanowisk urzędniczych, to jest urzędników do spraw informacji. Starania, aby każda osoba fizyczna czy prawna w Unii Europejskiej miała dostęp do pełnych, wyczerpujących informacji powinny być prawem i wysiłkiem każdego pracownika w zakresie jego kompetencji. Jednocześnie, w celu zwiększenia przejrzystości technokratycznego stosowania prawa i stanowienia prawa, pozytywnym postulatem projektu rozporządzenia jest poszerzenie dostępu obywateli także do dokumentów stanowiących akty delegowane. Szczególną ochroną należy objąć informacje dotyczące względów bezpieczeństwa.


  Cornelis de Jong, namens de GUE/NGL-Fractie. – Voorzitter, laten we ons niets wijsmaken. Voor ons Europarlementariërs mag Brussel het middelpunt van ons werk zijn, voor de gemiddelde burger ligt Brussel erg ver weg. Uit recent onderzoek blijkt bovendien dat in heel Europa de burgers steeds minder vertrouwen krijgen in het Europees beleid. Meer dan de helft van de burgers ziet de armoede in Europa toenemen als gevolg van Brussel.

De traditionele reactie is dan om het de burger nog eens uit te leggen. Het voorlichtingsbudget van de Europese instellingen is gigantisch, maar al dit zenden werkt niet. De burger van tegenwoordig is geen passieve ontvanger meer. Hij wil gehoord worden en wil dat zijn stem ertoe doet. Hij bepaalt zelf wat hij wil weten.

De rapporteur heeft in zijn voorstel gekozen voor een sterke inhoudelijke aanpak die de burger meer - en niet zoals de Commissie wil, minder - recht op informatie geeft. Ik ben hem dankbaar dat hij mijn voorstellen heeft overgenomen om ook documenten over onderhandelingen in de Raad niet bij voorbaat ontoegankelijk te maken voor het publiek. Juist in de onderhandelingsfase wil de burger zijn stem laten horen. En we mogen hem niet van die mogelijkheid beroven.

Het zullen zware onderhandelingen worden met de Commissie en de Raad, waarvoor de rapporteur de steun van het gehele Parlement nodig heeft. Ik hoop dan ook dat met name de christendemocraten tijdig bij zinnen komen en kiezen voor de burger, in plaats van te berusten in achterkamertjespolitiek.


  Auke Zijlstra (NI). - Voorzitter, we spreken vandaag over openbaarheid. Openbaarheid van documenten, van processen, van besluitvorming. Openbaarheid is noodzakelijk voor een democratie. Openbaarheid is het fundamentele verschil tussen een democratische samenleving en dictaturen.

Je kunt je dus afvragen hoe het kan dat de gewenste openbaarheid niet al vanaf het begin onderdeel was van het Verdrag van Lissabon. Kan het zijn dat de reden is dat het Europese project een elitair speeltje is dat geen openbaarheid verdraagt? Dat direct zou mislukken als de burgers zouden weten wat zich hier allemaal afspeelt? Hoe dan ook, voor hun lidmaatschap van de Unie betalen de Nederlandse burgers jaarlijks maar liefst 5,7 miljard euro. Zij willen op zijn minst weten wat er met hun geld allemaal wordt uitgespookt.

Voorzitter, nu de waarheid rond een aantal lidstaten bekend is geworden, wankelt de Unie. De waarheid over enorme financiële tekorten, over het toenemend gebrek aan democratie. De burgers keren zich af van een Unie die hun welvaart bedreigt en hun stem niet wil horen.

Het Verenigd Koninkrijk heeft nu terecht gekozen voor het nationaal belang, het belang van zijn burgers. Het belang van de burgers zou immers het uitgangspunt van iedere regeringsleider en van de Europese Unie als geheel moeten zijn. Openbaarheid van besluitvorming is noodzakelijk, maar zal de huidige Unie niet meer redden. En daar, Voorzitter, kunnen we nu al open over zijn.


  Simon Busuttil (PPE). - Madam President, to put things into perspective, the first thing we should say is that the EU institutions are already amongst the most transparent institutions in the entire European Union. The EPP Group is committed to transparency and we have shown this recently in a vote we took in favour of the Hautala-Sargentini report on public access to documents. But unfortunately the report we are debating is a case of a good thing taken too far. Instead of increasing transparency, it risks undermining the work of the institutions and therefore it does not serve the interests of our citizens. Let me explain why.

According to this report, the minutes of the negotiating meetings we hold when we make laws with the Council and the Commission – trialogue meetings – would have to be made public. Now, if we do this, none of the negotiating parties involved will want to adopt a flexible approach for fear that what they say will be reported in public and will weaken their negotiating position. How will this benefit citizens, may I ask? It would make weaker laws, not better laws, because those involved would not take a flexible approach out of fear that what they say will be publicly reported in the name of transparency. They would not be allowed the space to think, the space to present different negotiating options and the space to adopt constructive positions.

So, despite its good intentions, this report will not lead to further transparency. It will just undermine the institutions’ work in favour of citizens. It turns a good idea into a bad one. That is why the EPP Group will vote against this and continue to work constructively in favour of more transparency that makes sense.


  Tanja Fajon (S&D). - Spoštovani, živimo v času, ko je zaupanje naših državljanov na kocki. Zato je bolj kot kdajkoli doslej nujno, da naše institucije delujejo čimbolj transparentno.

Čestitam poročevalcu Cashmanu za njegova vztrajna prizadevanja, da povečamo dostop javnosti do dokumentov v vseh institucijah Unije. To je v javnem interesu.

Slovenija je bila v skupini isto mislečih držav, ki so zagovarjale potrebo po čim večji transparentnosti. Državljani zaslužijo, da so primerno obveščeni. Z dobrim zgledom na evropski ravni bomo lahko občutno vplivali tudi na pravico dostopa do informacij javnega značaja na nacionalni ravni.

S podporo poročilu bomo podprli odločitve sodišča Unije, ki je večkrat odločilo v prid transparentnosti. Zavrnili bomo možnost nepogojnega veta članic glede dostopa do dokumentov, ki so jih same poslale institucijam, in zagotovili hiter pritožbeni postopek v primeru zavrnitve dostopa do dokumentov.

Prepričana sem, da boljši dostop javnosti do naših dokumentov nikakor ne bo ohromil našega dela. Odprta vrata, kolegi, krepijo zaupanje, zaprta vrata pa na žalost vodijo v izolacijo.


  Sophia in 't Veld (ALDE). - Madam President, the Commission, the Council and the EPP talk a lot about transparency, but they seem to be paying lip service only. I find quite shocking the contrast between the debate on transparency and the ceremony we had earlier when granting the Sakharov Prize. Ms Sommer just said in German – I wrote it down – that she is against

„öffentlichen Einfluss auf das Verfahren“.

In other words, we cannot have citizens actually influencing procedures. Ms Sommer, I think that is precisely the point: to give citizens the power to influence the procedure. Secrecy is the legacy of the old Europe that was shaped by diplomats. In the Europe of today that is a political union, a union of the citizens, we need to give them the instruments to shape the European Union themselves.

Finally, transparency may also be awkward for ourselves. We should not only be talking about the Commission and the Council: this House should lead by example and show a culture of transparency and accountability.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))


  Renate Sommer (PPE), Frage nach dem Verfahren der blauen Karte. – Frau Präsidentin! Das kann ich so nicht stehen lassen. Ich habe nicht gesagt, dass der Bürger auf laufende Legislativverfahren keinen Einfluss haben soll. Ich habe gesagt, das Lobbying wird sich da einhaken. Das ist etwas völlig anderes, Frau Kollegin. Ich lasse mich nicht in dieser Weise von Ihnen verunglimpfen. Ich bin sehr dafür, dass wir dem Bürger unsere Politik klarmachen, aber ich bin dagegen, dass Sie hier so einen Unsinn verbreiten und versuchen, uns vorzuführen, wie überhaupt das Ganze hier eine bittere Komödie ist. Es ist die große Show gegenüber dem Bürger. Es ist der blinde Populismus, der im Endeffekt aber unsere Arbeit hier unmöglich machen wird.


  Sophia in 't Veld (ALDE), Blue-card answer. – Madam President, first of all, Ms Sommer says that lobbyists should not have influence on the procedure, but what are lobbyists? A human rights organisation or an environment organisation – are they not lobbyists acting on behalf of the citizens? Or lobbyists may be representing interests of patient organisations, for example.

Secondly, I still do not understand her point. We are arguing for more transparency in order to make the current lobbying, including industries, visible where now it is taking place behind closed doors. They are influencing policy-making today, which is not a bad thing, but it should be visible.


  Gerald Häfner (Verts/ALE). - Frau Präsidentin! Noch vor wenigen Jahrzehnten galt in weiten Teilen Europas: Der Einzelne ist nichts, der Staat ist alles. Der Bürger war nichts anderes als ein rechtloser Untertan der staatlichen Institutionen. Woran wir hier beständig arbeiten – und hier ist der Zugang zu Dokumenten nur ein Argument von vielen – ist, dieses Verhältnis zwischen Bürger und Staat umzukehren und auf eine neue Grundlage zu stellen. Der Zugang zu Informationen, die Transparenz sind notwendige Voraussetzungen für Demokratie. Bürger können ihre staatsbürgerlichen Rechte nicht wahrnehmen, können sich nicht politisch einmischen, ihren Willen äußern, ohne dass sie diesen Zugang in ausreichendem Maße haben. Das heißt auch, dass die Institutionen begreifen müssen: Sie sind nicht Vorgesetzte der Bürger, sondern sie sind Dienstleister für die Bürgerinnen und Bürger.

Wobei ich gerne zugebe – das ist an Vizepräsident Šefčovič und auch an andere gerichtet, die das gesagt haben: Nicht jedes Husten muss transparent gemacht werden. Es gibt auch Vorgänge, bei denen die Vertraulichkeit berechtigt ist. Aber das kann man nicht einfach behaupten. Man kann nicht einfach klassifizieren: „vertraulich“, sondern dafür braucht es ein sauberes Verfahren. Im Streitfall, wenn dies angezweifelt wird, muss man das vor Gericht entscheiden können. Das ist einer modernen, demokratischen Gesellschaft und einer rechtsstaatlichen Verfahrensweise angemessen.

Wir haben eine Entwicklung, dass immer öfter Lobbyinteressen, Firmeninteressen direkt Einfluss auf politische Entscheidungen nehmen. Wir können Vertrauen erst wieder schaffen, wenn die Bürger wissen, dass sie umfangreich Zugang zu den Dokumenten haben.

Während wir das hier regeln, beobachten wir, dass immer mehr Institutionen außerhalb der Verträge geschaffen werden. Worum es also für dieses Parlament und die Kommission gehen muss, ist, das, was im rechtsfreien Raum jetzt außerhalb passiert, auf den Boden des Gemeinschaftsrechts zu stellen und das, was wir hier beraten, für alle Organe geltend zu machen.


  Angelika Werthmann (NI). - Frau Präsidentin! Die Entscheidungen der EU sollen offen und bürgernah getroffen werden. Die Überarbeitung des Rechtsrahmens über den Zugang zu Dokumenten der EU-Institutionen war der Lackmustest für die europäische Transparenzinitiative. Die Änderungsanträge bezüglich der im Rechtstext abgesteckten Definitionen und der festgelegten Ausnahmen sind zu unterstützen.

Ich möchte hier auch die Sicherstellung des Zugangs zu Dokumenten ansprechen. Auch sie muss im Sinne der Auffindbarkeit gewährleistet werden. Wir alle wissen, was für eine Unmenge an Informationen und Dokumenten wir täglich produzieren. An der Suche nach einem bestimmten Dokument sind auch wir schon fast verzweifelt. Den Bürgern und Bürgerinnen geht es ebenso. Daher müssen wir für unsere Bürger die Informationen einfach und transparent vermitteln.


  Hubert Pirker (PPE). - Frau Präsidentin, Herr Kommissar! Wäre ich Menschenhändler, wäre ich Terrorist, wäre ich ein Gegner eines erfolgreichen Europäischen Parlaments, oder wäre ich ein Gegner demokratischer Strukturen und Entscheidungsprozesse, dann würde ich für diesen Bericht von Michael Cashman stimmen. Da ich aber weder das eine noch das andere bin, werde ich aus voller Überzeugung gegen diesen Bericht stimmen.

Wir alle treten für Transparenz in politischen Entscheidungsprozessen ein. Wir alle treten für einen besseren Zugang der Bürger zu den Dokumenten ein. Aber Cashman geht hier mit seinem Bericht und mit der Unterstützung von Ihnen viel zu weit. Sehen Sie sich die Definition von „Dokument“ an, wo er meint, dass alles, was in irgendeinem Zusammenhang steht mit Politik, mit Maßnahmen oder Entscheidungen aller Organe oder sonstigen Institutionen der Union, ins Netz gestellt werden muss. Das heißt, geht es nach Cashman, dann stehen alle Diskussionen, die wir irgendwo im Rahmen unserer Entscheidungsprozesse in Fraktionen, in Delegationen führen, im Netz. Wenn wir strategische Vorbereitungen treffen, um die Interessen des Parlaments z. B. gegenüber dem Rat durchzusetzen, dann ist das ins Netz zu stellen. Der Inhalt des informellen Trilogs, auch im Interesse des Europäischen Parlaments, oder strategische Planungsüberlegungen bei Europol oder Frontex müssten im Netz stehen, geht es nach Ihnen und geht es nach Michael Cashman.

Das heißt, wer diesen Bericht unterstützt, der verunmöglicht erfolgreiche politische parlamentarische Arbeit, der reduziert die Durchsetzungskraft des Europäischen Parlaments, und der hilft verbrecherischen Organisationen bei ihrer Arbeit. Wer für diesen Bericht stimmt, erhöht nicht die Transparenz für den Bürger. Er unterstützt vielmehr politische Naivität und in Teilbereichen auch die Missachtung von europäischen Gesetzen.

Herr Kommissar, Ihre Stellungnahme hat mich gefreut, und Sie werden sicher die Unterstützung der Europäischen Volkspartei haben. Sie hingegen mit allem Nachdruck nicht.

(Der Redner ist damit einverstanden, eine Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“ gemäß Artikel 149 Absatz 8 Geschäftsordnung zu beantworten.)


  Sophia in 't Veld (ALDE), Blue-card question. – Madam President, I would like to know if Mr Pirker considers it normal parliamentary manners to equate colleagues who are going to support a report with criminals?


  Hubert Pirker (PPE), Antwort auf eine Frage nach dem Verfahren der blauen Karte. – Frau in 't Veld, Sie machen bei mir das Gleiche, was Sie bei Frau Dr. Sommer gemacht haben. Sie drehen einem das Wort im Mund um. Ich habe klargestellt, aus welchen Gründen wir gegen diesen Bericht stimmen, weil es nicht sein kann, dass man etwa die strategischen Überlegungen und Besprechungen einer Organisation, die Verbrechen zu bekämpfen hat, publiziert und in die Öffentlichkeit stellt, weil man so nicht Verbrechen bekämpfen kann.


  Michael Cashman, rapporteur. − Madam President, I am afraid that was a deliberate attempt to mislead this House. It is quite clear to me from the opposition that is coming from the EPP Group, that they have failed to read the entire regulation. You cannot select one article or one recital; because there are checks and balances.

Mr Pirker, I ask you to go back, read the regulation in its entirety and look at the exceptions covered in Article 4. All of the concerns raised here this afternoon are a mere camouflage because of the fact that you do not want to give citizens their right of access and accountability.


  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D). - Pirmiausia noriu padėkoti kolegai M. Cashman'ui, nes iš tikrųjų jis atliko labai didelį darbą ir linkiu sėkmės kovojant už tai, kad Europos Sąjungos piliečiai galėtų visiškai susipažinti su dokumentais. Iš tiesų, man kyla klausimas, kodėl į Komisijos pasiūlymą nebuvo įtrauktos nuostatos dėl papildomų paraiškų informacijai gauti, gero ir atviro administravimo principo įgyvendinimo pereinamuoju laikotarpiu, nuostatos, uždraudžiančios bet kokią diskriminaciją, bet taip pat nuostatos, draudžiančios atsisakyti teikti piliečiams informaciją dėl galimų techninių nesklandumų ar galbūt kitų nesutapimų. Todėl man kyla klausimas, nuo ko bandoma apsisaugoti ir ką mes bandome apsaugoti. Pagaliau, ko mes bijome? Ar mes bijome savo piliečių, kurie mus išrinko ir vardan kurių mes turime dirbti? Pagrindinių teisių chartija, įsigaliojusi kartu su Lisabonos sutartimi, aiškiai numato, jog Europos Sąjungos piliečiai turi teisę susipažinti su Europos Sąjungos institucijų bet kurios formos dokumentais. Taigi mūsų, kaip piliečių atstovų, užduotis yra užtikrinti, kad ši teisė būtų ir tinkamai, ir skaidriai įgyvendinta.


  Margrete Auken (Verts/ALE). - Fru formand! Tak til Michael Cashman for en god betænkning. Og prøv lige at lægge mærke til, at det trods alt er os her i Parlamentet – det vil jeg sige til hr. Šefčovič – det er os i Parlamentet, der repræsenterer borgerne. Og det er os, der ved, at hvis ikke borgerne får mere tillid til vores system, taber vi kampen om EU og EU’s troværdighed og EU’s indflydelse. Vi er faktisk på et meget kritisk punkt i øjeblikket, og da er det nedslående for Kommissionen og for enkelte af medlemmerne her at høre, at det var, som om det var embedsmændenes og politikernes tryghed, det gjaldt. Det var, som om det var dem, vi skulle sikre, og os, vi skulle sikre – og ikke borgerne. Det er borgernes tillid, det her drejer sig om!

Der er undtagelser. Jeg har arbejdet med offentlighed i masser af år, også i det danske Folketing. Der er selvfølgelig undtagelser. Det er altid en kamp at få disse undtagelser defineret, så de ikke bliver alt for voldsomme. Det er ikke noget, der bare er givet i sig selv – det er altid en kamp for at sikre åbenhed og tryghed. Den tryghed, som vi skal give embedsmændene, er da, at de er i et system, hvor man har tillid til hinanden. Der kan godt være plads til fejl, uden at man af den grund bliver slået ihjel. Men der er ikke plads til fejl i retning af at give borgerne åbenhed. Så jeg håber altså meget, at der sker bevægelse i Kommissionen og for den sags skyld også i Rådet.


  Димитър Стоянов (NI). - Г-жо Председател, към Европейския съюз наскоро се присъединиха 12 нови страни членки, които направиха много големи жертви, когато се присъединяваха към Съюза. Старите 15 също направиха много големи жертви във връзка с европейската интеграция. Това беше направено с идеята за една по-голяма солидарност, за това как народите, които бяха на изток от „желязната завеса“ ще получат много големи преимущества.

Аз мога да Ви кажа, обаче, че най-обикновените граждани на моята страна – на България, изпитват затруднения да използват своите права в Европейския съюз. И това е, защото те не могат от никъде да разберат как да го правят. Сегашната ситуация създава една евроолигархия, където от права се ползват само тези, които имат вътрешен достъп до тази информация. Това е лошо и трябва да бъде прекратено.

И затова тези изменения, които са поставени пред нас сега (които не са на г-н Cashman – те са резултат от дългогодишната работа на четири парламентарни комисии) са по-добри от предложението на Комисията и аз Ви призовавам да ги подкрепите.


  Elena Băsescu (PPE). - Transparenţa este esenţială pentru legătura dintre cetăţeni şi Instituţiile europene. Ea contribuie la consolidarea legitimităţii Uniunii. De altfel, Tratatul garantează dreptul de acces public la documentele Parlamentului European, Consiliului şi Comisiei însă, pentru exercitarea lui, este nevoie de un cadrul legislativ adecvat.

Deşi sprijină creşterea transparenţei, grupul politic PPE din care fac parte nu poate susţine raportul domnului Cashman în forma sa actuală. Unele propuneri depăşesc prevederile Tratatului, dar şi acordurile interinstituţionale în vigoare. Pot apărea efecte negative importante dacă se impune accesul public nelimitat la toate documentele şi informaţiile instituţiilor europene. În cazul procedurilor legislative în derulare, vor fi afectate negocierile necesare de multe ori pentru a ajunge la un acord.

Transparenţa este importantă dar nu trebuie realizată în detrimentul securităţii şi respectării vieţii private. Consider că, în forma propusă, datele cu caracter personal, secretele comerciale, informaţiile clasificate sau sensibile nu beneficiază de o protecţie adecvată. În plus, din punct de vedere practic, implementarea riscă să fie foarte dificilă, având în vedere numărul extrem de ridicat de documente vizate.


  Phil Prendergast (S&D). - Madam President, the European institutions’ administrative practices need to be open to greater public scrutiny and such scrutiny will undoubtedly improve citizens’ confidence in their European pubic bodies.

Commissioner, in my own country the Freedom of Information Act 1997 has revolutionised the ways decisions are made by public bodies and by public officials. If a decision-maker believes that his or her determination may be the subject of a freedom of information request, he or she will be much more diligent in ensuring that proper procedure is followed. This is what legal scholars term the virtuous cycle of public administration.

However, notwithstanding all of this, the fees incurred by individuals under the current freedom of information system in Ireland acts as a barrier to full access to pubic information. These fees can be up to EUR 150 per request, and EUR 20 per hour if the document has to be searched for and retrieved. So, whatever system is decided upon, I would encourage my colleagues to take cognisance of the problems in the Irish context concerning fees when deciding on practical issues in this proposal. I welcome the fact that this legislation is intended to cover not only Parliament, Commission and Council but all EU public bodies, excepting the derogations in relation to the banks. Thank you Commissioner for listening.


  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). - Madam President, I believe that this 2001 regulation must be updated. Article 1 of the Treaty provides that decisions should be taken as openly and closely as possible to the citizens. I am in favour of a more inclusive list of EU institutions being covered by the new regulation.

Every European citizen has the right to access EU documents and this right should be respected. The exceptions must be subject to guidelines that are harmonised across all EU institutions and justified in the public interest. These guidelines must be clear, accessible, predictable and easy to understand and implement.

I would like to make a second point about lobbyists. All information relating to lobbyists must be made public. Otherwise we are speaking about corruption and not about lobbying.

I would like to make a third comment. I take this opportunity to again request the Commission to ensure real transparency concerning the beneficiaries of the EU funds in the Member States, on its website, in one of the three working languages, and on the basis of common criteria. This is also access to information, and we need to know how EU money is spent in the Member States.


  Marita Ulvskog (S&D). - Fru talman! Det är tio år sedan EU fick sin första öppenhetsförordning. Idag när medborgarnas förtroende för EU och för politik är illa skadat är det viktigare än någonsin att vi öppnar upp så mycket som möjligt. Michael Cashmans förslag är bra. Det innehåller ett antal viktiga förbättringar, t.ex. att varje dokument, varje handling måste bedömas var för sig och inte i klump, att öppenhet ska vara huvudlinjen/huvudregeln och sekretess undantag samt att skyddet av personuppgifter aldrig får utnyttjas som en ursäkt att neka tillgång till handlingar.

Den säkerhetsklassificering som finns i förslaget ser jag däremot problem med. Den kan utnyttjas som en smitväg för att överklassificera dokument. Jag vill följaktligen gå längre än de flesta andra talarna. Det gör jag därför att vi har nått så långt med öppenheten i ett antal medlemsstater. Hos oss fungerar öppenheten alldeles utmärkt och den stärker demokratin. Jag har en fråga till er som inte vill gå ett endaste steg på vägen. Vad är ni rädda för?


  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE). - Madam President, in times when there is sometimes the feeling that Europe is complex and far away, it is even more important for us to give a clear commitment on transparency and openness. The message we send to the people of Europe is that we have nothing to hide that concerns them and their lives.

In fact, we encourage them to be involved in what we are doing. We want them not only to follow but also to participate in what we are doing; not only to accept the final result of our deliberations but also, prior to that, to take part in the decision-making. On our draft proposals, they can influence us by their views. We encourage public debate on our work. We really care that they get a picture and that they have a chance to understand, if they so wish, what is going on in the Strasbourg and Brussels buildings. They decide what is relevant for them. They pick and choose. Most importantly, they have the right to check and to hold us accountable for what we do and say when we represent them on their behalf.

Bridging the democratic gap with our citizens has to be done in a responsible way. Privacy, personal data, personal integrity should not be put at risk by disclosing informal information. In Sweden we have a strong tradition of access to documents, but it is also normal to have some information that is classified. A climate of confidence is necessary to achieve complex negotiation like trialogues. Widely displaying pieces of information is not openness. Openness does not mean WikiLeaks.


  Jaroslav Paška (EFD). - Prístup verejnosti k dokumentom Európskej únie treba vnímať ako základné právo občanov – voličov orgánov Európskej únie na prístup k informácii o práci inštitúcií, ktoré ich zastupujú.

Ja rozumiem postupu Komisie, ktorá ponechala v legislatívnom procese prepracované znenie nariadenia 1049 z roku 2001 a doplnila ho v marci tohto roku o druhý návrh zavádzajúci rozšírenie práv verejnosti na prístup k dokumentom všetkých inštitúcií, orgánov, úradov a agentúr Únie podľa článku 15 Zmluvy o fungovaní Európskej únie. Vnímam takto zvolený postup Komisie ako úsilie o rýchlejšie dosiahnutie požadovaných zmien. Súhlasím aj s pripomienkami sformulovanými v menšinovom stanovisku v súlade s článkom 52 ods. 3 rokovacieho poriadku, pretože niektoré pozmeňujúce návrhy v správe pána Cashmana mierne presahujú potrebný rámec zverejňovania informácií na dosiahnutie potrebnej miery verejnej kontroly. Som presvedčený, že dobrý úmysel Komisie na rozšírenie prístupu verejnosti k dokumentom Únie je potrebné kvalifikovane rozvinúť a nepokračovať v kontraproduktívnych sporoch o zverejňovaní diskrétnych informácií, ktoré z rozličných dôvodov skutočne nie je vhodné rozširovať.


  Andrew Henry William Brons (NI). - Madam President, freedom of information was one of those universally popular objectives, or at least I thought so until this afternoon, although few contemplate the justified exceptions and even fewer choose to exercise this right. Possibly one reason might be lethargy or lack of interest, but another might be ignorance that there is anything to look for. I think it was Donald Rumsfeld who distinguished between what we know we don’t know and what we don’t know we don’t know. In the case of the former, we can employ our knowledge to seek the unknown, but in the latter case we cannot seek a document the existence of which we are entirely ignorant.

Perhaps there should be a publicly accessible register of documents, or some proactive attempt to make sure that lobbyists know of them. There is also the problem that discussions which are very sensitive, but not classified or legally restricted information, might take place without a paper or electronic record or that discussions by email might be routinely deleted. Is it anticipated there might be any rules preventing documents being destroyed or prescribing that record should be taken and should not be destroyed?


  Nicole Sinclaire (NI). - Madam President, you, I and the rapporteur Mr Cashman are, according to Ms Sargentini, from the ‘plus one’. Well, let us hope that is ‘minus one’, and according to most of this Chamber you will probably be most happy.

I welcome the strong approach taken in this report; it is right and proper that transparency is given its correct importance. I am unsurprised by Mr Cashman wanting this because for the pro-Europeans in the UK it is becoming a much more difficult job trying to sell the European Union and the secrecy of the European Union: its unaudited accounts or unsuccessfully audited accounts have for many years been a difficult sell within the UK. Something will need to be done.

I would point out that it was the Labour government who brought in the Freedom of Information Act in 1997 in the UK and it ultimately caused them a lot of problems. I am unsurprised that they are hoping to put the Conservative Party in a difficult position in the Council, although they were very disingenuous when they were in power. I do sound a note of caution though on what I hear from the Commission, which is that they have no intention of being transparent, nor does the EPP when they are talking about undermining institutions and about a legitimate report. Who will decide what a legitimate report is? They will never allow transparency because they do not want it.


  Anna Záborská (PPE). - Máme v čerstvej pamäti schvaľovanie smernice o ochrane pri práci tehotných žien, žien, ktoré porodili a ktoré koja. Tzv. smernica o materskej dovolenke. Európsky parlament pozmenil text smernice až tak, že po takmer troch rokoch nie je možné nájsť konsenzus medzi inštitúciami a je to v neprospech občanov Európskej únie. Som presvedčená, že tento text podľa signálov z Európskej komisie a Európskej rady postihne rovnaký osud. Ak ľudí na letiskách vyzlečieme donaha, lebo ich budeme upodozrievať, že pod svojimi šatami alebo nohavicami majú výbušninu, prestanú používať lietadlá. Teraz predkladáte text, aby inštitúcie, agentúry a iné organizmy sa prechádzali pred svetom nahé. Je to osviežujúce, niečo nové, ale nie veľmi nápomocné. Jedine, žeby sme chceli odradiť občanov od federatívnej Európy, v tom prípade by som to podporila.


  Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission. − Madam President, I would like to thank the honourable Members for a very lively debate, which clearly demonstrates the importance of ensuring clear rules for citizens’ access to EU documents. This is the objective of the regulation and I am very glad that it was underlined by several speakers, starting with Ms Sommer.

The discussion was wide-ranging. Of course I will not be able to respond to all the comments or all the points raised, so allow me to take this opportunity to set the record straight on some of the critical remarks on the Commission’s proposal.

First I would like to give Ms Monika Flašíková Beňová and Ms Jäätteenmäki assurance as to the definition of ‘documents’. The proposed regulation would not lead to fewer documents being disclosed than is the case today; a more precise definition of ‘documents’ means safer administration and more clarity for the citizens. As I have already stated, many requests for competition files running to thousands of pages are made by lawyers of the companies concerned for reasons that have nothing to do with the aim of transparency. These requests do not lead to the public disclosure of documents, but create a huge administrative burden and search. These requests are made in order to create a competitive advantage over competitors or to circumvent investigation. This burden is very great in the files related to the protection of the single market.

Therefore we believe that our proposed definition mainly clarifies the situation. On the exceptions relating to the legislative process: I believe – as do many speakers in the House – that to have a limited space to think is necessary, as was pointed out by several speakers, Mr Pirker, Mr Busuttil and others.

Here in the European Parliament several of you reflected on what consequences the proposed amendments by Mr Cashman would have on the proceedings of the Conference of Presidents or ongoing trialogues, for example. I believe that you will agree that internal discussions must be frank, which requires a certain degree of confidentiality as regards the opinions expressed. This confidentiality must be balanced against the public interest of transparency on a case-by-case basis, as was pointed out by Mr Alfano.

A few words on the next steps. As I have stated, the Commission is looking forward to discussions with the co-legislators and will participate actively with a view to reaching a balanced compromise. In light of the progress of these discussions, the Commission will decide on further steps and will do its utmost to contribute to finding common ground between the co-legislators.

In the meantime the Commission will continue to work proactively on increasing transparency. I cannot accept some of the claims that the Commission is against transparency; that we are trying to get a rollback on transparency. That is definitely not true. We are very much continuing with our transparency initiative. I truly believe that the EU institutions and the Commission are among the most transparent in the world. They would stand comparison in this respect to any Member State in the European Union.

Take the transparency register for example. We have already more than 4 600 companies registered and more that 22 000 people covered. I would very much welcome the support of the European Parliament in being even more proactive in raising awareness of the transparency register. Help us to get more law firms registered in the transparency register so that they send us fewer letters asking for documents which the Commission has to study very carefully if they are not related to ongoing investigations. They should be enrolled in the register. Why are they refusing? Help us there and I think we will do a greater service to transparency in the European Union.

Next year, thanks to the great assistance and help from this Parliament, we will start with the European Citizens’ Initiative. I think that this will be another test for all of the EU institutions: how we can react, how we can communicate and how we can exchange views and reconnect with European citizens. I think this will be further proof of how the European Commission and how the EU institutions communicate with citizens.

I would like to thank all the honourable Members for their active discussion on this file. I am open for constructive cooperation and I believe that, if we really focus on the balanced approach, we can achieve this goal.




  Michael Cashman, rapporteur. − Madam President, I look forward to negotiating with the Commission. That will be a first, so let us meet soon.

I would just like to address some of the points. We actually enshrine the concept of a space to think; we do not diminish it. We actually enshrine the concept of classified documents, Mr Pirker, so it is absolutely clear that documents that are restricted, classified or confidential cannot be made public. Equally, we deal with the issue of documents coming from Member States. Member States would like to have a veto so that they cannot be placed in the public domain, whereas there are cases where they should be, such as documents in competition law proceedings and for businesses. I believe that if Articles 4(2) and 4(7) of the current regulation are used appropriately, then there are sufficient guarantees for competition cases and for businesses.

This approach is not about unrestricted access. We have to be clear about definitions, clear when documents cannot be made accessible, and equally clear when they can. We must reflect the jurisprudence that has been handed down, and we must balance data protection and privacy.

Let me say that it is entirely wrong to say that privacy and personnel maters will not be respected. They are absolutely respected and the data protection supervisor says that in our report we have got the balance absolutely right. I would remind you that there is also a directive on data protection which cannot be overridden here. There is also the Members’ Statute about political meetings, about the conduct of MEPs and about personnel which cannot be overridden within this regulation.

It is either mischief or it is ignorance that causes people to propose such suggestions. Can we please stop treating our citizens, and indeed the NGOs that represent them, as children? They want to be engaged in the political process, and if they do not know what we are doing in their name, and what the Commission and the Council is doing, how on earth can we call ourselves ‘democratic’? Democracy is based on openness and accountability and, if we can only negotiate in secret, where is the democracy in that?

We negotiate on the basis of principle and on what we wish to actually defend for our citizens and indeed our political parties. If we can only do that in secrecy, I am not one of those politicians and I do not belong to one of those political parties that concur.

You can criticise this but, Ms Sommer, I have begged you time and time again to work with me and to bring forward compromises, but comprises came there none. Where there are problems, I am happy to address them on behalf of the entire Parliament because the brilliant thing is that whether this gets voted through or not tomorrow is neither here nor there. Whether the Commission accepts this is irrelevant. Whether the Council negotiates on this is irrelevant, because what you cannot do, which is what the Commission and indeed the Council are trying to do, is to diminish the rights they gave to citizens in 2001. So even if we reject the entire proposal, the rights that were enshrined in 2001 under the Swedish Presidency will remain.

I think I have covered most of the points. Can I say that inflexibility in democracy is actually a weakness. Flexibility is a strength, and we show that in our committees when we negotiate with one another and we reach compromises. Thank you, Ms Macovei, thank you, Ms Bildt, for your constructive comments. I would say to Nikki Sinclaire that the Labour government actually supported these measures in 2001 in Council and the Labour Government continued to do so while it was in office. If we are pro-European, let us actually get rid of the secrecy because then it is much more difficult to misrepresent the truth.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))


  Renate Sommer (PPE), Frage nach dem Verfahren der blauen Karte. – Ich möchte eins klarstellen. Der Berichterstatter hat sinngemäß gesagt, ich hätte als Unterhändlerin der EVP-Fraktion Kompromisse verweigert. Das ist nicht richtig. Wir haben viele Schattenberichterstattertreffen gehabt, aber die Kompromissvorschläge des Berichterstatters gegenüber mir als Vertreterin meiner Fraktion sahen so aus, dass ich quasi das Angebot hatte, seine Meinung mitzutragen. Der Berichterstatter hat alle Vorschläge der EVP zu Kompromissen verweigert und uns zuletzt explizit sogar in ganz banalen Dingen außen vor gehalten. Das ist eine Wahrheit, die auch gesagt werden muss.

Eine zweite Sache: Der Berichterstatter hat gerade gesagt: „Die Richtlinie zum Datenschutz kann mit diesem Bericht nicht einfach außer Kraft gesetzt werden.“ Also, wenn Sie den Text Ihres Berichts lesen, steht in Erwägung 18: „In Anbetracht der Tatsache, dass diese Verordnung Artikel 15 AEUV sowie Artikel 42 der Charta direkt umsetzt, sollten die darin festgelegten Grundsätze und Einschränkungen für den Zugang zu Dokumenten Vorrang haben vor allen anderen Vorschriften, Maßnahmen oder Verfahrensweisen, die auf einer anderen Rechtsgrundlage von einem Organ, einer Einrichtung oder sonstigen Stelle angenommen wurden und mit denen zusätzliche oder strengere Ausnahmeregelungen eingeführt werden als in dieser Verordnung vorgesehen.“ Also, soviel Wahrheit muss schon auch noch sein.


  Michael Cashman, Blue-card answer. − Madam President, I welcome the comments by Ms Sommer.

We often accuse technology of many things, but I have never received one compromise amendment from the EPP Group. If you have them, even as late as today, I will consider them this evening and, if necessary, adjust my voting list because, as you know, Ms Sommer, I am always reasonable.

On the issue of data protection and the balance, can I just say to you, do not take my word for it but take the word of the European Data Protection Supervisor who believes, looking at the Bavarian judgment case, that we have got the balance absolutely right. I would refer you to my Amendments No 10 and No 40, which balance absolutely the right of privacy and data protection.

As I started, let me finish again: thank you very much for your comments. If you have compromise amendments, as late as this evening, I would still like to review them.


  Presidente. − La discussione è chiusa.

La votazione si svolgerà giovedì 15 dicembre 2011alle 11.30.

Dichiarazioni scritte (articolo 149)


  Zuzana Brzobohatá (S&D), písemně. Dlouho trvající proces zvyšování otevřenosti veřejné správy má kořeny v roce 1998, kdy byla podepsána tzv. Aarhuská úmluva. Předložená zpráva o nařízení usiluje o minimalizování dokumentů, na které veřejnost nemá nárok, a zavadí maximální míru informovanosti a otevřenosti rozhodovacích procesů. Základní zásadou uvedeného nařízení je princip tzv. aktivní otevřenosti, tedy princip spočívající v aktivním zveřejňování všech dokumentů tvořených orgány EU. Novelou nařízení je zavedení povinnosti každého generálního správního oddělení ustavit jednoho pracovníka odpovědného za poskytování informací na základě žádosti občanů. Dále je zavedena povinnost aktivního zveřejňování dokumentů a nově také zavedení společného rozhraní pro propojení rejstříků dokumentů jednotlivých orgánů Evropské unie. Toto opatření by mělo umožňovat propojit jednotlivé rejstříky, čímž by se měl zvýšit přístup občanů k dokumentům. Nově je zavedena povinnost zpřístupnit veškeré informace o rozhodovacích procesech, a to v každé fázi rozhodování. Závěrem bych ráda podtrhla, že v duchu Aarhuské úmluvy musejí být všechny informace poskytovány bezplatně, čímž se nebudou tvořit žádné další bariéry k větší otevřenosti a informovanosti.


  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE), per iscritto. La relazione Cashman sull'accesso del pubblico ai documenti delle Istituzioni europee prende in considerazione un valore fondamentale, sancito dal Trattato, che é quello della trasparenza. Le previsioni per l´implementazione di questo diritto si trovano nel Regolamento 1049/2001, che si intende emendare con la presente procedura legislativa. Nella sua proposta la Commissione esprime una posizione "aperta", che ritengo il relatore voglia ampliare ben oltre l´obiettivo della trasparenza, mettendo a rischio la protezione dei dati personali e sensibili. L´on. Cashman definisce, inoltre, "documento" tutti i dati e contenuti che siano collegati in qualche modo alle politiche, alle misure e alle decisioni di tutte le istituzioni dell´UE, ricomprendendo anche documenti preparativi, confidenziali e informali, cioè, ogni pezzo di informazione. Lo "space to think" é quindi reso minimo. Ritengo fondamentale il valore della trasparenza e della partecipazione democratica del cittadino alla vita delle Istituzioni, ma esso dovrebbe conciliarsi con altri fondamentali valori, quali la protezione dei dati personali e sensibili e riguardare i documenti ufficiali e non anche "la procedura

Note legali - Informativa sulla privacy