Skip to main content

European countries awarded for their “star” commitments

European countries awarded fo…

Published on: 02/08/2016 News Archived

Ireland, Ukraine, Romania, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Georgia and Italy are countries whose commitments to Open Government have been awarded by the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM).

IRM attributes “starred” status to selected commitments included in countries’ National Action Plans (NAP). These commitments “represent exemplary reforms that have potentially transformative impact on citizens in the country of implementation”, OGP said.

For Ukraine, IRM identified the Law on Access to Archives of Repressive Bodies of the Communist Totalitarian Regime of 1917–1991 which grants “open access to classified documents on the struggle for Ukraine’s independence in the 20th century,” OGP said. “Open access to the archives helps enforce Ukrainians’’ right to the truth on the abuses suffered under the Soviet regime and understand the circumstances in which those violations took place”, he added.

Georgia, another Eastern country highlighted by IRM, is now “one of the few countries in the world to publish surveillance data proactively,” IRM said. “Georgia’s experience clearly demonstrates that all branches of government, including the judiciary, have a role in ensuring that the nation’s public institutions serve the public interest by becoming more open, transparent, and accountable”.

Bulgaria’s effort towards transparency is also listed in the report. “By reforming its access to information law to bring it in line with European Union policy, Bulgaria is strengthening the cornerstone of transparent and accountable government”, the report stated. A step forward but as IRM said, “in light of persistent reports of corruption, Bulgaria continues to suffers low levels of public trust in state institutions, including parliament”.

Transparency and traceability

Ireland’s commitment on regulating lobbying was also awarded by IRM. “By publishing a register of lobbyists, Ireland is bringing much-needed transparency to the policymaking process. This approach signals a shift away from developing public policy behind closed doors”, IRM stated.

The independent experts also highlighted the unrestricted and free access to national legislation in Romania, abandoning the practice of paid access. It also awarded the UK’s decision to improve “the traceability of development assistance”, by publishing this data in an open and standard format. “By publishing more information and developing interactive platforms to access data, users are better equipped to find, to compare, and to reuse data so that donors, recipients, and civil society advocates can better plan, coordinate, and execute their development programs”, the report mentioned.

Lastly, the Italian portal was praised for being a tool to “enable citizens to understand and to track public spending better, with the goal of enhancing accountability for taxpayer money.”