MEPs wary of Swedish Presidency stance.Ms Lejon was exchanging views with MEPs from the Parliament's Committee for Citizens' Rights, Justice and Home Affairs. However, the proposal will eventually be submitted for adoption at a General Affairs Council. Thus, it is Swedish Foreign Minister, Anna Lindh, who is ultimately responsible for the file for the Council Presidency. Ms Lejon expressed confidence that the deadline could be met. Referring on her own country's reputation for open government, she stressed that "transparency is not passed on automatically, but must be fought for by each generation".Michael Cashman spoke more generally of the citizen's need to be informed about how the EU works. If citizens understood the role of the Council, he maintained, they might not be so negative about the generic "Brussels". He criticised the Council's Legal Service for wanting to exclude external EU agencies, such as the future European Food Safety Authority, from the scope of the Regulation. Ms Lejon pointed out the proposal was based on Article 255 of the EU Treaty, which only referred to Parliament, Commission and Council documents.Another ongoing bone of contention highlighted by Mr Cashman was the Council's differentiation between access to information and access to documents. In practice, this means that EU citizens can look it and read certain documents, but can not actually take a copy of the document. Ms Lejon rejected the portrayal of Council as a closed chamber, instead praising it for its recent efforts to be more open. Mr Cashman's responded that such moves towards more openness should not be viewed as a gift, but merely granting citizens their Treaty-enshrined rights.Swedish MEP Charlotte Cederschiold (EPP-ED) quizzed Ms Lejon about the state of the negotiations in Council, in particular which Member States were most resistant to improving access. Ms Lejon said that many Member States (without specifying which ones) want to give third parties, whose documents are in EU hands, a veto over their release. Finnish Green Heidi Hautala complained about the ever-expanding definition of "sensitive documents" that would not have to be made public, or even listed on a public register.The "Solana" Decision of 14 August 2000 (527/EC), to restrict public access to documents it classifies as top secret, secret and confidential, came under fire yet again. Dutch Liberal Jan-Kees Wiebenga said it had caused "enormous damage". In response, Minister...

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