August 2000

Solana dismisses criticism of EU secrecy

The dispute on EU openness took another turn as a Brussels representative dismissed Finnish criticism of secrecy in the Union. A spokesperson for Javier Solana, EU's High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, has approached Finnish newspapers in a manner which, according to the regional daily Turun Sanomat (15 August 2000), shows low toleration of criticism.

Solana's representative singled out Heidi Hautala's column in Turun Sanomat, in which the Green MEP, an outspoken proponent of openness in EU decision making, asked whether it is right that "the limits of EU openness are dictated by NATO". She is accused of "lack of knowledge" for claiming that secrecy of defence documents is in conflict with EU rules on openness.

In July the Coreper Committee of EU ambassadors  approved tighter secrecy rules for documents on security and defence policy. The aim is to secure the confidentiality of NATO's military information.

According to Turun Sanomat, Solana's spokesperson wrote to the newspaper saying that "openness is an important value but we have together agreed to uphold international peace, security, democracy and human rights".

The newspaper says in an editorial that this is difficult to interpret in any other way than that Solana sees openness as an obstacle to peace, security, democracy and the realisation of human rights.

Both Heidi Hautala and Jacob Söderman, the EU Ombudsman, have openly criticised Solana's appointment as High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy.


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