The Spanish Secretary of State to the EU, Mr. Diego López Garrido, just visited us in IMCO, the European Parliament’s committee for consumer protection and the internal market.
He talked for about half an hour in very general terms: ”The 2020 Strategy is the key to developing the internal market. The 2020 Strategy and the EU Structural Funds are the two most powerful tools that the EU has,” etcetera.
Many words, little content.
”The Council wants to combat counterfeiting and piracy, through the ACTA agreement,” said the Spanish Secretary of State. ”The resolution highlights transparency and the role of the European Parliament. We will have to take the resolution into account, as well as the position of other countries.”
After his introductory speech, the members of the committee got a chance to ask questions. About half a dozen of us did so, including me.
Since he had mentioned ACTA and the resolution, I asked him what concrete actions the Spanish Presidency is planning, to ensure that the European Parliament gets access to all the relevant documents as quickly as possible.
First Mr. Lopez answered everybody’s questions except mine, which he conveniently forgot. It was only after the chairman of the committee reminded him, that he presented an answer at all.
He said that the Spanish presidency was in talks with the European Parliament to amend the Access to Documents Regulations, and would continue to participate in the inter-institutional talks on this matter. He was hoping that this would lead to an amended regulation some time in May.
And that was it.
On the actual access to the ACTA documents, the Spanish Secretary of State said nothing at all.
That the general regulation on access to documents will have to be amended now that the Lisbon Treaty has come into force is one thing, but that was not what I had asked him about.
But I saw no point in repeating the question once more (after the committee chairman had already done so once). I believe that this is in fact the true answer to what the Spanish Presidency will do to comply with the European Parliament’s demand for transparency on ACTA:
I am of course very grateful to the Spanish Secretary of State for his very frank (non-)answer. At least we know where we stand now.