Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-12-17-Speech-2-323"

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"Mr President, I want to thank the rapporteur for having fought like a lioness for access to environmental information. I might say that if I abstained in the vote by the conciliation delegation it was certainly not on account of the rapporteur’s or Parliament’s endeavours, but because the Council was clearly unwilling to actually update the directive on environmental information and propose ambitious targets regarding the Århus goals for access to environmental information. I believe that Parliament succeeded in preventing the Council’s worst aims to allow Member States a very loose framework for interpretation, for example, regarding the exceptions contained in the directive, on the grounds of which it is possible to refuse to provide the public with information. It is absolutely typical that the administrative authorities in the Member States should want to have the power to interpret such matters, so that they could then refuse to provide information. I believe, however, that in this case the worst was able to be prevented. On the other hand, regarding payments, we can be pleased that the principle of non-chargeable information has been established. I might nevertheless say that, where a guarantee of information made to the public requires some rummaging around in archives and data to be compiled the authorities will still be able to impose charges. I do not know if a member of the public should be obliged to pay for the government doing what it is expected to do anyway. Finally, I would like to cite a case. The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, Antonio Tizzano, recently stated that the public were not able to be given information by virtue, for example, of the Directive on gene packaging labelling. I would just like to say that this directive is now being tested as regards whether we have a sufficiently broad definition for environmental information. It mentions, for example, the food chain, and I hope that this really will guarantee that we will be able to provide our citizens with such information in the future."@en1

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