statewatch-off on 25 Sep 2000 14:37:11 -0000

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<nettime> Netherlands takes EU Council to court over access to documents


The cabinet of the Netherlands government decided last Friday (22
September) to take the Council of the European Union (the EU member
states) to the European Court of Justice over its decision to change the
EU code on public access to documents. (The "Solana/NATO Decision", which
was taken on 26 July, extended the existing code to EU common foreign and
defence policy but introduced blanket exceptions and greater secrecy
across a range of other policy areas).

In a statement the Netherlands government said that it contested the way
that the decision was made (with no consultation of national parliaments,
the European Parliament or civil society).  They are also opposed to the
way in which the amended decision will affect public access to EU
information and said that it contradicted the commitment in Article 255 of
the Amsterdam Treaty to "enshrine" the public's right of access to

On 13 September the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament
voted in favour of legal action against the Council over the Decision.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

Now the European Commission's demand that the so-called "space to think"
for officials (public servants) is more important than the citizen's right
to know how and why decisions are made has to be challenged.

A Statewatch briefing on the case against the Council of the EU, press
release on the Netherlands decision, and full background on the
Solana/NATO decision is available on the Statewatch website.

Statewatch: monitoring the state and civil liberties in Europe
PO Box 1516, London N16 0EW
tel: 0044-20-8802-1882

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