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'Access to Documents and Transparency in the EU: a practical guide & the future of EU transparency law'

Dublin, 24 February 2011 - With the EU playing a greater role in Irish domestic affairs, there is an ever-growing need to make effective requests for documents held by EU institutions. 

'Access to Documents and Transparency in the EU: a practical guide & the future of EU transparency law', is a public event jointly hosted by Transparency International Ireland and the Irish Society for European Law (ISEL).

 

Date Thursday, 24 February 2011
Time 6.30pm
Attendance Attendance fee for this public event is €10 and free for members of TI Ireland and ISEL.
Venue Law Library Distillery Building 145-151, Church St, Dublin 7.
Booking Email RSVP to communications@transparency.ie or call 01 612 7067

 

Resource Documents

Marc Maes (Commission)
Ombudsman Diamandouros

 The event offered journalists and lawyers:

  •  a practical guide to requesting information from the EU;
  •  the remedies and applicable law; and,
  •  a political discussion on current proposals for reform of EU transparency law.

Chair:

  •  Nikiforos Diamandouros, European Ombudsman

    Panelists:

  • Dr. Bart Driessen, Legal Service, Council of the EU; author, "Transparency in EU Institutional Law: A Practitioner's Guide";
  • Marc Maes, Head of Unit, Transparency, Relations with Stakeholders and External Organisations, Secretariat-General, European Commission;
  • Ronny Patz, Lecturer in Politics and Governance, University of Potsdam; Advisor, EU Liaison Office, Transparency International; blogger, Polscieu - Ideas on Europe (polscieu.ideasoneurope.eu);

In particular, the focus of the session was:

Practical application of Regulation 1049/2001 (in pdf) (the EU equivalent of Irish Freedom of Information legislation), including:

  • how to make requests for documents;
  • costs and time involved;
  • free internal appeals against initial refusal;
  • subsequent remedies by litigation in the EU Courts and/or by free complaint to the European Ombudsman;

Recent developments in EU transparency law , including:

  • developments in case-law, including restrictions on certain documents and extensions in respect of documents prepared in the legislative process;
  • decisions of the European Ombudsman;
  • approaches of the institutions to requests for documents;
  • the Lisbon Treaty (with special consideration of the Charter of Fundamental Rights);

Proposed repeal of Regulation 1049/2001 including its replacement by a new legislative framework currently before the European Parliament.
 

Contributor Biographies

European Ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamandouros

P. Nikiforos Diamandouros is, as of 1 April 2003, the European Ombudsman. From 1998 to 2003, he was the first National Ombudsman of Greece. He has also been Professor of comparative politics at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of the University of Athens since 1993 (currently on leave). From 1995 to 1998 he served as Director and Chairman of the Greek National Centre for Social Research (EKKE).

He received his B.A. degree from Indiana University (1963) and his M.A. (1965), M.Phil. (1969) and Ph.D. (1972) degrees from Columbia University. Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Athens in 1988, he held teaching and research appointments at the State University of New York and Columbia University respectively (1973-78). From 1980 to 1983, he served as Director of Development at Athens College, Athens, Greece. From 1983 to 1988, he was Program Director for Western Europe and the Near and Middle East at the Social Science Research Council, New York. From 1988 until 1991, he was the Director of the Greek Institute for International and Strategic Studies, Athens, a policy-oriented research organisation established with joint funding from the Ford and MacArthur Foundations. In 1997, he held an appointment as Visiting Professor of political science at the Juan March Centre for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (Madrid).

He has served as President of the Greek Political Science Association (1992-98) and of the Modern Greek Studies Association of the United States (1985-88). In 1999 and 2000, he was appointed member of Greece?s National Commission on Human Rights and the National Council for Administrative Reform respectively. In 2000, he was a participant in the Bilderberg Conference. Since 1990, he has been co-chair of the Subcommittee on Southern Europe of the Social Science Research Council, New York, whose activities are funded by a grant from the Volkswagen Foundation. He is also joint General Editor of the Series on the New Southern Europe published by the Johns Hopkins University Press and the recipient of Fulbright and National Endowment for the Humanities research grants.

He has written extensively on the politics and history of Greece, Southern Europe and Southeastern Europe and, more specifically, on democratisation, state and nation-building, and the relationship between culture and politics.

Dr Bart Driessen, Legal Service, Council of the EU; author, "Transparency in EU Institutional Law: A Practitioner?s Guide";

Dr Bart Driessen has been a member of the Legal Service of the Council of the EU for the last ten years. Previously a lawyer in private practice at the Brussels Bar, Dr Driessen has also worked as an assistant to an MEP at the European Parliament and at the European Commission.

Dr Driessen has published widely on EU law, including on matters relating to transparency. In 2008 he published, amongst other things, Transparency in EU institutional law?A practitioner?s handbook. A second edition of that book is currently in preparation.

Marc Maes, Deputy Head of Unit, Transparency, Relations with Stakeholders and External Organisations, Secretariat-General, European Commission;

Since May 2006, Marc Maes is deputy head of the unit 'Transparency, Relations with Stakeholders and External Organisations'; this unit is responsible for: public access to documents; overall coordination of relations with stakeholders, in particular as regards compliance with minimum standards on consultation; and the public register on lobby groups.

Prior to this role, Marc was working with the Commission and was in charge of public access to documents which included, amongst other tasks: handling appeals against refusals to grant access; and preparing the public consultation on the review of the Regulation and the subsequent proposal for amending the legislation.

Between 1991 and 2000, he filled several roles including: liaison officer with the Economic and Social Committee; liaison officer with the Committee of the Regions; and liaison officer with the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament. From when he joined the Commission in 1980 through to 1991 Marc was responsible for the management of the CELEX database on Community law.

Marc studied law at the University of Louvain (Belgium) before beinning his career at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1978.

Ronny Patz, Lecturer in Politics and Governance, University of Potsdam; Advisor, EU Liaison Office, Transparency International; Euroblogger

Ronny Patz is a political scientist, blogger and adviser on matters of EU integrity such as access to EU documents and EU budget transparency to the Transparency International EU Liaison Office in Brussels. He lectures at the University of Potsdam at the Chair for German and European Government and Politics.

Ronny blogs at ?Polscieu? (polscieu.ideasoneurope.eu) exploring the interface between political science and political practice in EU matters; he is a co-editor at Bloggingportal.eu which syndicates content from over 700 individual & collective blogs about the EU.

Previously, Ronny worked as a Project Assistant (Trainee) for the Council of Europe on pre-electoral assistance in Moldova and for the German EU Council Presidency at the Council of Europe (Strasbourg).

Ronny?s primary degree is an integrated MA in Political Science at the Free University Berlin and he is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Potsdam since May 2009, which is supported by the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation since Jan 2010."

 

Access to Documents and Transparency in the EU: a practical guide & the future of EU transparency law
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