|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.25, 21.6.01, p8|
THE European Commission has released two environment papers - which it had previously refused to publish - after the Ombudsman accused it of excessive secrecy.
The independent reports, focusing on waste handling and protection of endangered habitats in the UK, have been handed to green organisation Friends of the Earth.
Environment officials had previously only allowed the group to see versions with key paragraphs blacked out, arguing that their content risked prejudice to legal proceedings over the UK's alleged non-compliance with EU rules.
Ombudsman Jacob Söderman dismissed this argument, saying the reports were prepared before the proceedings and that the Union executive was in breach of its code of conduct on access to documents. "Access can only be refused on the basis of strictly applied exceptions," said an Ombudsman spokesman. "An interpretation. . . as first suggested by the Commission in this case, could mean that whole categories of documents whose content relates to member states' compliance with community law could be barred from public access. "
Friends of the Earth welcomed the decision. "The whole point of the Ombudsman's process is to help patch up the democratic deficit," said its legal advisor, Peter Roderick.
The European Commission has released two environmental papers, which it had previously refused to publish, after the Ombudsman accused it of excessive secrecy.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|