|Author (Person)||Shelley, John|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.4, 25.1.01, p3|
EU INSTITUTIONS face a possible legal tangle in the European Court of Justice as diplomats grow increasingly pessimistic about the chances for a deal on rules governing access to Union documents.
The 1997 Amsterdam treaty committed member states and MEPs to guaranteeing the public's right to see internal EU documents by the end of April this year. But they have yet to find common ground and if no agreement is reached by that time citizens or civil liberties groups could take the matter up with the courts.
"People could start bringing actions in the Court of Justice and they might very well succeed," said one EU official.
The Swedish presidency last week launched intensive new efforts to resolve the deadlock, but even in transparency-friendly Stockholm the hopes of getting a deal by May are muted.
Swedish officials say despite a gruelling schedule of meetings - including 16 of them between member state officials - there was simply not enough work done on the dossier before they took it up at the start of this year. "It is the responsibility of the presidency to show everybody that they are working towards the deadline but it is very probable they won't reach agreement in time," said one EU official.
Currently member states do not even agree among themselves on how much access the public should have to official documents. They are not likely to get any closer to consensus when they begin examining the views of MEPs, who tend to favour more rather than less openness.
Euro-MPs are already criticising member states for failing to take their views into account in talks at the end of last year. EU governments, on the other hand, point to delays caused by an internal turf war in the Parliament over which committee should be responsible for drafting the institution's opinion.
EU institutions face a possible legal tangle in the European Court of Justice as diplomats grow increasingly pessimistic about the chances for a deal on rules governing access to Union documents.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|