Justice ministers warned against draconian move on access to documents

10 April 2012

Friends of the Earth Europe, as part of a coalition of civil society organisations led by Client Earth, have written an open letter to the Ministers of Justice, and the Danish Presidency, to express serious concerns about plans for changing rules on access to documents. These changes would make it more difficult for citizens, journalists and civil society organisations to scrutinise and challenge the policy-making processes of the European Union institutions.

The Council of the European Union wants to make huge areas of information exempt from existing access to documents laws, which would make the European institutions more opaque, thereby restricting public participation and running contrary to the Lisbon Treaty's requirement for increased openness. By changing the definition of a "document", the Council is proposing an Orwellian move away from transparency, which creates no obvious benefit and threatens the fundamental right of public to access information.