This post was written by our friends at Open State Foundation in the Netherlands.
Let’s face it. When it comes to relevant open data and transparency in European decision-making, we have a lot to do. Despite growing open data portals, and aggregating European data portal, if you want to make sense of European decision-making and public finance, it takes a lot of efforts.
The time is ripe. With the Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and Brexit, debates around immigration and refugees, new bailout talks between the EU and Greece, decisions by the EU affect millions of citizens living and working within its member states and people around the world. As everyone has the right to information, people need to know how these decisions are taken, who participates in preparing them, who receives funding, how you can make your views known, and what information is held or produced to develop and adopt those decisions.
In the wake of the Panama Papers, renewed calls for open company registers and registers on beneficial ownership, the need for open spending, contracting and tenders data, require us to come together, join efforts and help to make the EU more transparent.
TransparencyCamp Europe comes at the right moment. This unconference on open government and open data, to be held on June 1 in Amsterdam will bring together developers, journalists, open data experts, NGOs, policymakers, and activists. In the run-up, an online European-wide open data App Competition (deadline for submissions May 1) and a number of local events or diplohacks are organized. This will all come together at TransparencyCamp Europe, where apart from numerous sessions organized by participants themselves, developers will present their open data app to a jury.
EU decision making is quite complex, involving national governments and parliaments, the European Commission and the EuropeanParliament, the European Council and the many EU institutions and agencies involved. Still, there is already quite some open data available, differing in quality and ease of use. Definitely, you want to know more about the EU’s institutions, who work there and how you can contact them. Although the information is available at the EU Whoiswho website, the data is not easily reusable. That is why we scrapped it and had made it available to you on GitHub as CSV and JSON. And if you’re crawling through information on EU budgets, finances, funds, contracts and beneficiaries, you’ll notice there is much room for improvement.
So, there you go, join us and help to make the EU more transparent as TransparencyCamp Europe comes to Amsterdam. Registration for the unconference is free, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to the newsletter.