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A few Members of the European Parliament started a Written Declaration for open and collaborative government. Gianni Pittella, Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, Marisa Matias, Katarína Neveďalová, Marietje Schaake. Written Declarations are documents which could get co-signed by other Members of Parliament. They get adopted when they reach a majority. Written Declarations could be perceived as petitions within the European Parliament and civil society groups often pressure MEPs to sign a Written Declaration that suits their interests. Here it would be rather difficult to get them to endorse the document WD 0019/2012. The reason is simple: instead of “unrestricted” they drafted “current”. That single phrase makes the declaration appear like a Trojan horse.

0019/2012
Written declaration on open and collaborative government
The European Parliament,
– having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Aarhus Convention enshrine the right to good administration, the right to have access to documents and the right to impart information;
B. whereas citizens have increasing expectations of institutions in terms of transparency, credibility and efficiency;
C. whereas interactivity should be strongly encouraged between citizens and governments, as well as European institutions, to further enhance trust and transparency;
D. whereas Parliament aims to lead by example in providing access to information and cooperating with citizens;
1. Asserts that public sector information is a public good and must be freely available and permanently accessible online in a machine-readable, searchable and current format, consistent with personal data protection and national security interests;
2. Asserts that the Commission’s Open Data Strategy is an important step towards greater transparency and stresses that Member States need to develop such policies for transparency and accountability;
3. Asserts that the public must have the opportunity to participate in policy-making, information collection, policy development and decision-making;
4. Asks Member States and governments to collaborate with civil society to develop processes and platforms for meaningful citizen engagement in consultation and policy innovation, and report on the results;
5. Supports the Commission in developing further policies and platforms on open data and collaborative governance;
6. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Commission and Member States of the European Union.

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