Poll shows citizens want more EU transparency!

Brussels, 1 February 2013 – A majority of people across Europe want increased transparency of the European Union and are concerned about ethics and lobbying in policy-making, according to a new opinion poll.

The poll conducted by TNS opinion under the auspices of the EU Citizens project, and completed by over 6,000 people in Austria, Czech Republic, France, UK, Netherlands and Spain, reveals that there is a huge demand for greater transparency. 85% of respondents think that full information about Member States’ negotiations should be open to the public.

In the context of the response to the financial crisis, 84% of people find it important that full documentation about what the European Central Bank is doing is publicly available; this is currently not the case. In Spain, a country with particular financial strain on public spending at the moment, 88% of respondents feel ECB documentation should be made available to the public.

The most important documents to be made available according to the results of the poll (86%) are the financial reports and evaluations on how EU money is spent by Member States. This is highest in Spain (89%) and Czech Republic (90%), net-recipients of EU funds, as well as in Austria (89%).

Three quarters (74%) of respondents thought that the legal advice given to EU officials and policy makers by EU lawyers should be made publically available. Publication of this information is important as the legal advice of lawyers at the EU level has an impact upon the drafting of EU policies and their implementation in Member States.

Other questions in the survey demonstrated that three quarters (73%) of respondents are concerned that lobbyists representing the business sector have too much influence on EU decisions and 80% believe there should be mandatory regulation of lobbying to ensure a balanced participation of different interests in decision-making.

The results come at the beginning of the European Year of Citizens, which aims to stimulate dialogue between governments and society, and thereby better engage citizens in debates and decisions that affect them. [2]

“This survey confirms the findings of the EU Citizens project conducted over the past year, namely that members of the public are hungry for more information about what is happening in Brussels, and specifically that they want to know about decision-making and spending” said Helen Darbishire, executive director of Access Info Europe.

This survey is part of the EU Citizens project, a joint project between the following organisations: Access Info Europe, Aitec, Environmental Law Service, Friends of the Earth Europe, Health Action International, Spinwatch. The opinion poll is supported by Arbeitskammer Europa (AK Europa).

The full survey results, including country-by-country figures, are available at: www.eu-citizens.org and www.access-info.org

Published by AsktheEu.org.