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Double the secrecy for half the transparency in the Council

Yesterday, the Working Party on Information of the EU Council discussed the Council mandate for the informal negotiations with the European Parliament for the reform of the EU access to documents law (agenda).

On the agenda of that meeting, there were a number of documents containing the details of this possible mandate. According to the press (second half of the article), the outlook for the Council side is bad. Basically, most member states want to suppress access to EU documents.

What is problematic is that the documents on the agenda containing the draft mandate – documents DS 1397/12DS 1404/12 and DS 1405/12 – which probably contain the proposals of the Danish Presidency are “DS” documents. Why is that problematic? DS documents are not listed in the public register of the Council.

Hence, even when one day the negotiations for the reform of the EU access to documents law are over, they will not be made available online automatically as happens normally with “normal” Council documents that were kept away from the public during negotiations.

Looks like the Council is playing with double the secrecy to reach half the transparency. Great job, Danish Presidency!

Update: has one of the documents and analysed it. See here. Hat tip Erik.

2 Responses to Double the secrecy for half the transparency in the Council

  1. avatar Martin Holterman says:

    According to my (2004) document on the coding of Council Documents (SN 2519/04), the code DS is used for: “Meeting documents: ephemeral documents setting out the position of a delegation, or the Secretariat, for a meeting.) Given the traditional sensitivity of individual Council Members’ positions – as opposed to their collective opinion – you can see why DS documents are not automatically public. But in a case like this, you should be able to get them…

  2. avatar Ronny Patz says:

    The point is not that they are not immediately public, it is that they are not in the public register at all. That is, if you search for them even after the end of a decision-making process, you cannot find them.

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