“The PRESIDENT [Barroso] prefaced his remarks by strongly criticizing the fact that one of the documents concerning the package of measures on the single supervisory mechanism had been leaked on the Internet before it had been discussed by the Commission, an unacceptable move that undermined the Commission’s reputation and the exercise of its right of initiative” (Source)
That statement was made on 11 September during a European Commission meeting, one day before the State of the European Union speech in which President Barroso asked for more power, but not for much more accountability. It was the beginning of the discussion on the crucial Banking Supervision proposal before the package was finally presented to the public the next day. If you go to the source, you can actually re-read the whole discussion in the Commission at the time.
The leaked draft Barroso refers to was published by an Italian news organisation some days before and circulated on Twitter, where it also came to our attention. One can argue whether leaks are the right way to circumvent the European Union’s shortcomings in providing public access to EU documents, but a leak published online at least provides a level playing field for civil society actors and corporate lobbyists alike, with the latter often appearing better equipped to access European Union draft proposals early on.
In fact, we would prefer a European Union which, by default, gives out more information to the public to allow scrutiny of EU law-making instead of hoping for leaks. And we would prefer to have a proper European Commission public document register, instead of this one which only lists titles, instead of having to search for documents on Twitter. But there is quite some way to go and it would be good to see President Barroso criticising the lack of public access to EU documents as he criticises the leak of documents.
But that’s old news. What’s in other news these days that we’ve heard through the grapevine?
- Today, the European Commission updates the Council (working level) about its preparations for 2013 EU anti-corruption report.
- Yesterday, the report on reforming the structure of the EU banking sector (‘Liikanen Report‘) was published. We made suggestions on the same topic back in June.
- Still yesterday, the Council (working level) discussed a new questionnaire on freedom of information legislation in EU member states. From the outside, it looks like the Cypriot Presidency is trying to buy time in the reform of the respective EU law – such a questionnaire could have been sent out years ago, couldn’t it?
- Next Monday and Tuesday, the European Parliament Budget Control Committee has an interesting agenda, voting on the reform of OLAF, discussing with Commissioner Semeta about fraud and corruption involving EU money and learning about a new study how investigative journalism can prevent EU funds corruption. A meeting we’re going to watch for sure.
- Also next Tuesday, the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee has the first discussions on the new general and financial rules for European Political Parties on its agenda. Rapporteurs for the two legislative proposals related to this reform are Marietta Giannakou and Enrique Guerrero Salom. The Committee will also tackle the Commission’s recent banking supervision proposal (the one leaked to the displeasure of Barroso).
- Next Wednesday, the European Commission will most likely publish its Enlargement Progress Reports and Strategy for 2012-2013, including the monitoring report for Croatia in advance of its planned accession in July 2013.
Did we miss anything? Should we be aware of something that’s coming up? Feel free to make us aware of interesting events via Twitter or in the comments!