SP: ‘Put an end to back room politics in Brussels’

15 December 2011

SP: ‘Put an end to back room politics in Brussels’

The European Parliament today voted by a large majority to extend the right of the citizen to information. Commenting on the vote, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said: 'The European Commission wants to furnish the citizen with less information, even though many members of the public already complain that they find Brussels to be a “black box”. The EP must put pressure on the Commission to put an end to back room politics, by which lobbyists from major corporations always have a head start when it comes to being informed and thus disproportionate influence.’

In the debate preceding yesterday’s vote, De Jong said: “The citizen determines what he or she wants. While Brussels spends millions and millions on PR, the Commission is much more reticent when it comes to giving information if a member of the public wants, for example, to know how negotiations are going on a particular proposal. Such an attitude only leads to more criticism, and quite rightly.”

During the debate it became clear that amongst the bigger groups only the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) would support the Commission. One of their arguments was that overburdening the citizen with too much information must be avoided. In De Jong’s view “this is really a very strange line of reasoning, when you think that the EPP, including our own Christian Democrats, have supported every increase in the EU’s information budget. If we were to use that money for once to answer some direct questions from the public, they would be getting less information that they have never asked for and don’t want and more that they very clearly do want.”

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