Ensuring utmost transparency ‒ Free Software and Open Standards under the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament

Carlo Piana, Ulf Öberg, Douwe Korff


Going beyond the constitutional requirement of openness laid down by the Treaties, the European Parliament has imposed upon itself a further commitment to conduct its activities with the utmost transparency. Our study suggests that ensuring this "utmost transparency" is not only an essential procedural requirement but actually a fundamental democratic principle which brings precise duties. Thus, the principle of openness should guide Parliament's choices of IT hardware and software systems and, as technology evolves, these choices should be continuously and pro-actively reassessed. By its own standard, Parliament should choose the systems and technologies that are the most open and the most accessible to the public. We conclude that the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament should whenever possible make Free Software and Open Standards mandatory for all systems and data used for the work of Parliament. In our view, that is the most appropriate way for the Parliament to meet its own standard of "utmost transparency".


Law; information technology; Free and Open Source Software; European Public Law;

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