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EU: Council of Ministers

Volume 684: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Triesman on 26 June (WA 124-5) and in light of the reported statement by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 8 June that, “We want to be close to citizens, but we can't end up with less efficiency because decisions are not being taken”, what factors led to the withdrawal of their opposition to the opening of European Council meetings to the public.[HL6647]

We believe it is important to ensure greater transparency in practice in the Council of Ministers, not just in theory, and that the right balance needs to be struck between efficiency and openness. We made real progress on transparency during the UK presidency of the EU. The European Council in June agreed both to increase the number of debates and deliberations open to the public, and to review the new practice in six months. We support that agreement and look forward to the outcome of the review.