So what did you do on Wednesday to celebrate International Right to Know Day? Well the European Ombudsman Professor Nikiforos Diamandouros, called on the EU administration to be more transparent.
An EU official calling for more transparency is like a vicar calling for more sin.
“I am concerned about the consistently high number of transparency-related complaints I receive every year,” says Professor Diamandouros, “many EU institutions are still too reactive in their approach to public access and some even seem to be defensive in their thinking.”
Spot on or what? I’d like the EC to publish their accounts, the ECB to tell us how broke the banks are, the Agricultural Commissioner to tell us how much of the CAP goes on fraud, the EU accounts department to tell us how many MEPs fiddle their exes, the policy committees to tell us how many facts come out of MEPs’ ‘fact-finding’ trips and the EU President to tell us why the EC won’t accept democratic votes like that of Ireland’s first vote on the Lisbon Treaty.
The Ombudsman calls for ‘citizen-friendly, online registers of documents that not only inform citizens of the documents available, but, wherever possible, make those documents directly accessible to the public’.
The idea being to have documents freely accessible, rather than accessible only after an application for access.
In the US, says Professor Diamandouros, the government is developing a website bringing together all rulemaking proposals from nearly 300 federal agencies.
Right to Know Day has been celebrated for 8 years in over 40 countries and gets its name from the Universal Declaration on Human Rights which mandates free speech.