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05.22.09

2 Months and No Disclosure from the European Parliament

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 10:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Budapest parliament

German parliament building at night

Summary: The illusion of transparency lingers on

THIS is the latest part in a series that explores Microsoft’s invasion into EU panels and the Commission’s unwillingness to allow transparency. To list previous posts chronologically (for context):

It has been two months and here is where we stand. They keep denying, procrastinating, and acting as though they don’t understand simple requests. The latest correspondence (anonymised) is below.

I hereby file a confirmatory application on grounds of Article 7(4) EC/1049/2001.

> Dear Mr. Schestowitz,
>
> Thank you for your e-mail of the 20th of March registered on 23rd of March applying for a copy of documents in accordance with Regulation (EC) N° 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
>
> Your application will be dealt with within the prescribed delays. You have requested access to the documents as follows:
>
> “I hereby request electronic access to all documents related to the Towards the European Software Strategy process in the posession of the EU-Commission, in particular access to the following documents:
> * the list of participants in the industry expert group
> * the list of WGs, WGs sleaders and observing Commission officials
> * draft contributions of all industry Working groups on a the European Software Strategy
> * draft input to all WG prepared by the Commission
> * the participant list of the related meeting on January 20th in Brussels
> * all submissions from industry to the ESS consultation under the applicable provisions of regulation 1049/2001 which grant me a right of access to all documents mentioned above.”
>
> However, as we notified you previously (see our email dated 15th of April) we are unable to identify the documents refereed to in the sixth item “all submissions from industry to the ESS consultation”. Please could you clarify your request so that we may continue to process this item. You have previously clarified item 4 on your list but not item 6.
>
> We are currently collecting the other requested documents and expect that we will be able to forward them to you shortly.
>
> Yours sincerely,
>
> [anonymised]
>
> —–Original Message—–
> From: Roy Schestowitz [anonymised]
> Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 5:47 PM
> To: [anonymised]
> Cc: s@schestowitz.com; [anonymised]
> Subject: Re: Gestdem 2009/1562 FW: Document access application purpusant to Article 6 EC/1049/2001 (D/116606)
>
> —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
> Hash: SHA1
>
> “Draft input to all WG prepared by the Commission” means the documents
> the chairs of the working groups or participants received from the
> Commission to guide the work in a particular group.
>
>
> – –
> ~~ Best of wishes
>
> Roy S. Schestowitz
> http://Schestowitz.com | GNU/Linux | PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E
> Freelance journalist @ http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/
>
>
>> Dear Mr. Schestowitz,
>>
>> Thank you for your e-mail of the 20th of March registered on 23rd of March applying for a copy of documents in accordance with Regulation (EC) N° 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
>>
>> Your application will be dealt with within the prescribed delays. You have requested access to the documents as follows:
>>
>> “I hereby request electronic access to all documents related to the Towards the European Software Strategy process in the posession of the EU-Commission, in particular access to the following documents:
>> * the list of participants in the industry expert group
>> * the list of WGs, WGs sleaders and observing Commission officials
>> * draft contributions of all industry Working groups on a the European Software Strategy
>> * draft input to all WG prepared by the Commission
>> * the participant list of the related meeting on January 20th in Brussels
>> * all submissions from industry to the ESS consultation under the applicable provisions of regulation 1049/2001 which grant me a right of access to all documents mentioned above.”
>>
>> However, we are unable to identify the documents refereed to in the fourth item “draft input to all WG prepared by the Commission” and the sixth item “all submissions from industry to the ESS consultation”. Please could you clarify your request so that we may continue to process it.
>>
>> Yours sincerely,
>>
>> [anonymised]

They cannot deny access for much longer. This are already well overdue. According to the rules:

Article 7

Processing of initial applications

1. An application for access to a document shall be handled promptly. An acknowledgement of receipt shall be sent to the applicant. Within 15 working days from registration of the application, the institution shall either grant access to the document requested and provide access in accordance with Article 10 within that period or, in a written reply, state the reasons for the total or partial refusal and inform the applicant of his or her right to make a confirmatory application in accordance with paragraph 2 of this Article.

2. In the event of a total or partial refusal, the applicant may, within 15 working days of receiving the institution’s reply, make a confirmatory application asking the institution to reconsider its position.

3. In exceptional cases, for example in the event of an application relating to a very long document or to a very large number of documents, the time-limit provided for in paragraph 1 may be extended by 15 working days, provided that the applicant is notified in advance and that detailed reasons are given.

4. Failure by the institution to reply within the prescribed time-limit shall entitle the applicant to make a confirmatory application.

Article 8

Processing of confirmatory applications

1. A confirmatory application shall be handled promptly. Within 15 working days from registration of such an application, the institution shall either grant access to the document requested and provide access in accordance with Article 10 within that period or, in a written reply, state the reasons for the total or partial refusal. In the event of a total or partial refusal, the institution shall inform the applicant of the remedies open to him or her, namely instituting court proceedings against the institution and/or making a complaint to the Ombudsman, under the conditions laid down in Articles 230 and 195 of the EC Treaty, respectively.

2. In exceptional cases, for example in the event of an application relating to a very long document or to a very large number of documents, the time limit provided for in paragraph 1 may be extended by 15 working days, provided that the applicant is notified in advance and that detailed reasons are given.

3. Failure by the institution to reply within the prescribed time limit shall be considered as a negative reply and entitle the applicant to institute court proceedings against the institution and/or make a complaint to the Ombudsman, under the relevant provisions of the EC Treaty.

They have no clue about the time limits of 1049/2001 and think they may discuss this ad nauseam. The process involving Ombudsman might be interesting.

On a related note, earlier today we were made aware of attempts in the UK to bring Free software to the government. Will the process be equally opaque?


UK citizens and MEPs support Europe-wide Free Software Pact

London, UK – Friday May 22, 2009 – The Free Software Pact initiative calls
upon UK citizens and MEP candidates to stand up for the principles of a
free society by backing free software in the upcoming European
Parliament elections on June 4, 2009.

The Free Software Pact is a European initiative to allow candidates for
the upcoming European elections to show the voting public that they
favour the development and use of free software, and will protect it
from threatening EU legislation. It is also a tool for citizens who
value free software to educate candidates about it’s importance and why
they should, if elected, protect the European free software community.
The European Parliament is the venue for crucial talks concerning free
software, including software patents, interoperability and net
neutrality. It is therefore vital to show election candidates why they
should support, and sign, the Free Software Pact.

Mark Taylor, the coordinator for the Free Software Pact in the UK,
said, The current UK Government is embarrassingly behind the rest of Europe in formulating public policy on the use of free software. Across the rest of the continent we see significant adoption and political support for free software. The Free software Pact is therefore an ideal way to draw attention to the reform the UK public sector needs and the enormous cost savings yet to be realized. For too long the UK has been dependent on the relationship with proprietary software companies like Microsoft, who are hell-bent on keeping our politicians confused on this matter. If you care about this situation, and the resulting cost to our economy, society and political culture, please contact the MEP candidates in your region and ask them to sign the Free Software Pact.

The Free Software Pact is also supported by Richard M. Stallman, founder
and president of the Free Software Foundation, who said, Big dangers threaten the freedoms of free software in Europe: software patents, digital restrictions management (DRM), bundled sales and treacherous computing… I call on all European citizens who value free software to join this campaign, contact their candidates and have them sign the Free Software Pact.

A list of UK MEP candidates and their contact details can be found at
http://www.bond.org.uk/pages/mep-candidate-contact-details.html.
Candidates can support the Free Software Pact by signing a copy of the
pact and faxing, mailing or emailing a copy by following the
instructions at
http://www.freesoftwarepact.eu/post/The-Free-Software-Pact.

About The Free Software pact

The Free Software Pact (FSP) is a citizen initiative, launched by Free
Software advocacy associations April (France, http://www.april.org) and
Associazione per il software libero (Italy,
http://www.softwarelibero.it), to coordinate a European scale campaign
in favour of free software. The FSP is providing materials and software
to any volunteer who contributes to the initiative. More information can
be found at their website http://www.freesoftwarepact.eu.

Media Contacts

Mark Taylor, UK Coordinator for the Free Software Pact

Phone: +44 7967 687379

Email: contact-uk@freesoftwarepact.eu

London - Big Ben

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