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Council must stop acting behind closed doors!

Despite numerous efforts from EU institutions in the past years to increase transparency and access to documents, critics have long complained that the Council of Ministers continues acting behind closed doors when acting in its legislative capacity. In June 2005 Tony Blair told the European Parliament that there was a “strong case” for the Council to legislate in public. Yet no on-the-record statement has been made by the UK government since then. Early September 2005, MEPs of the five UK parties issued a declaration and wrote to The Times, describing secret legislation as "unacceptable" and calling for debates on new laws to be televised.

On Monday 24 October 2005, the Civil Society Contact Group launched a call for action urging the Council to stop acting behind closed doors. At EU level, several actions were undertaken:

  • letter to Tony Blair, reminding him of his June commitment,
  • letter to Member States' representations to the EU,
  • letter to MEPs, asking them to support the UK MEPs' initiative.

While the Civil Society Contact Group is following up this action at EU level, it is equally imperative that national organisations target their national governments, since the change could be brought about by a mere change in the Council's internal rules, to be adopted by 13 out of 25 Member States.
The CSCG Secretariat has written a draft letter to be sent to national governments, asking them to support the proposal (“Letter to Foreign Affairs, EU ministers, Council transparency”). Please translate it and send it to your Foreign Affairs and EU Affairs Minister (EU Affairs Ministers were appointed in only some Member States).

You can find more details in our detailed Call for Action.


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