Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Transparency… but not just yet

With some fanfare, last week anti-fraud commissioner Siim Kallas announced that the commission was to tighten controls on the way member states spend EU money and impose stricter rules for lobbyists as part of a drive to increase transparency and trust in the EU.

The timing of this "transparency initiative", which was also rumoured to include clarification of the code of conduct for commissioners on the disclosure of matters likely to give rise to conflict, was seen partly as a response to the attack on Barroso for accepting a holiday from multi-billionaire Sprios Latsis.

"It is a package of steps to increase the trust of citizens," said Kallas at the news briefing where the initiative was launched.

With the report on "transparency" due to be debated today by the commissioners, its publication prior to the meeting was confidently expected, as is the norm with reports such as these. However, immediately prior to the discussions, expectant journalists were informed that the report would not be published… in the interest of "transparency", no doubt.

Or, as St. Augustine might have said: "Lord give me transparency - but not just yet."

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