The European Union took a step towards open data this week, after a UK MEP’s proposal to extend citizen access to EU documents was backed by European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee.
Public access legislation currently under consideration by the European Parliament proposes that EU citizens should be allowed to access documents from the European Parliament, Commission and Council.
But Michael Cashman, Labour MEP for the West Midlands, proposed an amendment to the legislation that would extend its remit to any EU institution, and expand the definition of the word ‘document’, which he claims is currently restrictive.
"What we are talking about is a right that allows citizens to make sure that we are accountable; parliamentarians accountable for what we do in their name, the commission for what it does in their name," wrote Cashman in a statement.
The Civil Liberties Committee voted 33 to 17 in favour of Cashman’s amendment.
"A battle has been won today," Cashman said. "We voted to open up Europe to her citizens. Next month the [European] parliament will have an opportunity to send a clear message to the Commission and the European Council and support my proposals to make the EU more accessible and relevant to the public."