Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

EFIL: EP Conference on transparency and access to do

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date:          Tue, 30 Mar 1999 18:01:25 +0200
From:          Ulf Oberg <>
Subject:       EFIL: EP Conference on transparency and access to documents
Reply-to:      "European Freedom of Information List" <>

Monday, 26 April 1999

"Opening doors for democracy in Europe"
- Conference on transparency and access to documents


European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
Group of the Party of European Socialists (PSE)
Group of the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR)
The Green Group in the European Parliament (V)

"Opening doors for democracy in Europe"
- Conference on transparency
and access to documents


The conference will address two key concerns:

* the transparency of the decision-making process in the Council of Ministers,
the European Commission and the European Parliament.

* access to documents by the citizen, the European Parliament and national

Under the Amsterdam Treaty, the existing Code of Conduct and Council
Decision (both adopted in December 1993) are to be replaced by a new
code (under new Article 255 of the TEC). This new code has to be
agreed by, and will apply to, the European Parliament, the Council and
the Commission. The conference will review the existing practices and
consider what the new code should cover.

The conference is divided into two sessions: in the morning there is
the perspective of the institutions - the Council, Commission,
European Parliament, the European Ombudsman and the Court of Justice.
In the afternoon there is the perspective of "Citizens and civil
society" with presentations by journalists, NGOs, and individuals who
have taken cases to the Court of Justice and the European Ombudsman.
Workshops in the afternoon around each of the "three pillars" will
allow for more detailed discussion by the participants.

Through the Amsterdam Treaty it is essential that EU institutions
finally become democratic fora where proposals (and all background
material), the decision-making process and new reports, measures or
legislative acts are available to citizen and parliaments alike at
each stage.

Openness and transparency are prerequisites of a democratic Europe.


Draft programme

Morning Session: The Institutional Perspective

9.30-9.45	Welcome addresses by:
  Chair: Astrid Thors, MEP, ELDR and Tony Bunyan, Editor of

9.45-10.15	Keynote address by:
 _	Jacob Söderman, European Ombudsman
   "Openness means accountable governance"

10.15-13.00  	Addresses by:
 _	Mary E. Preston, Head of Unit, European Commission
  "Openness and transparency at the European Commission:
past, present and future"
 _	Hans Brunmayr, Deputy Director General, Council of the EU
   "Transparency and the Council's experience"
 _	Maj-Lis Lööw, MEP, PSE
  "The European Parliament's position on the principles of

 _	Deirdre Curtin, Professor, Utrecht University
 "A draft regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on the
general principles and limits of the right of access of the citizen to
documents of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission"

13.00-15.00 	Lunch on individual basis, EP visitors' restaurant, self
service, rue Wiertz

Afternoon Session: Citizens and Civil Society

15.00-15.30	Journalists:
 _	Björn Månsson, EFJ Steering Committee member
 _	Maurice Frankel, Campaign for Freedom of Information (to be
 _	Michael Stabenow, Chair of API (to be confirmed)

15.30-16.15	The experience of applicants for documents, case studies:
  _	Tony Bunyan
   _	Steve Peers,Essex University
  _	Heidi Hautala, MEP, the Green Group in the EP
  _	Achim Berge, Humanistische Union
  _	Alf Lindberg, EFJ Steering Committee member

16.15-16.30	Coffee break

16.30-18.00	Workshops:
  I pillar: Internal Market / co-chair: Steve Peers, Achim Berge
  II pillar: CFSP / chair: Heidi Hautala
  III pillar: Justice and Home Affairs / chair: Tony Bunyan
  Contribution: Gert Vermeulen, Academic Assistant Criminal
Law, University of Gent

18.00-18.30 	Final panel:
  Tony Bunyan, Statewatch, and Aidan White, General
Secretary, IFJ/EFJ

18.30 		Reception

19.30		Dinner on individual basis

Interpretation will be available in French, German, Dutch, Italian,
English, Swedish and Finnish.

Practical information:

Registration: Participation in the conference is free of charge.
Participants are, however, asked to registrate in advance, by 21th
April at the latest, by using the enclosed registration form. There
will be no confirmation of receipt.

Workshops: As part of the afternoon session discussions will be held
in three workshops, following the EU 'pillar-structure'. These
workshops will provide an opportunity for the participants to discuss,
exchange information and possibly co-ordinate their
transparency-related activities.

Topics for discussion can be suggested during the workshops or be
prepared in advance. Short presentations are welcome. If you wish to
give a presentation, please indicate it together with a possible topic
and title in the registration form. Please also indicate which
workshop you wish to attend.

Meals: One coffee break as well as an evening reception will be
provided by the organizing partners of the conference. For lunch and
dinner participants are free to make their own arrangements. The EP
visitors' self service restaurant will be at the participants disposal
for lunch.

Transport: There is a regular train connection between the Brussels
Zaventem airport and the city center.

Accommodation: Hotel information will be provided by the organizers on

Further information: Please contact (tel. / fax / e-mail)
EFJ/ Isabella Haaf: +32-(0)2-219 2528 / 219 2976 / EP/ Hannariikka Nieminen: +32-(0)2-284 5446 / 284
9446 /

Registration form:

To be returned asap and before 21th April, indicating "Transparency
conference", by fax: +32-(0)2-284 9446, e-mail: or mail: European Parliament, LEO 8G306, Rue
Wiertz, B-1047 Brussels