Journalists Condemn Brussels Deadlock over Open Government

Europe's largest group of journalists, the European Federation of Journalists, has condemned the failure of lawmakers in Brussels to fulfill promises to create open Government within the European Union.

Leaders of the EFJ say that last-minute talks between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers will not establish rules that create transparency within institutions of the European Union by May 1st, the deadline for an agreement on a code for open government set by the Treaty of Amsterdam.

The EFJ says proposals on the table do not fulfill the promises of Amsterdam. "We deplore the fact that the procedure has meant the legal process is being carried out in secrecy", says the EFJ statement which calls for a "fresh start where the question will be dealt with openly and with proper consultation."

The patience of journalists has finally snapped, says the EFJ. "The EFJ has made strenuous efforts to encourage and assist the internal discussions within the EU on this issue, but we now demand the Commission proposals are reviewed".

The EFJ has confirmed the minimum criteria for a new code of public access to EU documents and is calling on all its members in Europe to press their governments to intervene to rebuild confidence in the Amsterdam commitment to open government.

Protests are also being sent to Commission President Romano Prodi, President of the European Parliament, Nicole Fontaine and Göran Persson, Prime Minister of Sweden who is currently President of the EU Council of Ministers.