‘Unconference’ looks at ways to use technology for transparant EU-decisionmaking

Participants call on more sustained disclosure of European government data

01 JUNE 2016, AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
Summary
Today, participants of TransparencyCamp Europe stressed the importance of open data as a driver for innovation and transparent EU decision-making. The event, an ‘unconference’, brought together 400 developers, civil servants, diplomats, transparency champions, policymakers, open data experts and journalists to share their knowledge, think up new ideas and create unique tools with the goal of making government in Europe more open. Participants call on more sustained disclosure of European government data.

Today, participants of TransparencyCamp Europe stressed the importance of open data as a driver for innovation and transparent EU decision-making. The event, an ‘unconference’, brought together 400 developers, civil servants, diplomats, transparency champions, policymakers, open data experts and journalists to share their knowledge, think up new ideas and create unique tools with the goal of making government in Europe more open.

Kat Duffy, Labs Director of the Sunlight Foundation, which created the original TransparencyCamp, noted at the finish, "It's amazing to see the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs and a watchdog organisation like Open State Foundation work, together, on creating a space for this discussion. Let's have more of this."

The ‘unconference’ featured more than 35 sessions. Session topics proposed by participants theselves at the start of the Tcamp included cutting edge ideas about analyzing public procurement across the EU, the state of legislative files of the EU, data accessibility, freedom of information laws and the question how to raise the bar for transparency, accountability and participation in Europe.

Panama Papers, lighting talks and an app competition

Alongside the sessions, Mar Cabra (ICIJ/Panama Papers), Alex Brenninkmeijer (European Court of Auditors) and Chris Taggart (OpenCorporates) inspired participants with lightning talks about their work and the importance of transparency. 13 Finalists from an EU-wide app competition competed in a final pitching session. The winning app, www.consiliumvote.eu, built an accessible visualisation of voting data of the European council.

"I can see interesting bits of transparency and democracy around the world that I don't normally see”, said Anthony Zacharzewski who is the Director at Democratic Society.

Brenno de Winter, IT and investigative journalist said: “Today it became very clear to me that some countries are leading when it comes to releasing company registries. Releasing this data prevents fraud and tax evasion and can save billions. This is a lesson for a lot of countries, including my own”.

Open State Foundation Director Arjan El Fassed considered the event ‘a milestone in the European open data movement - from supporting open data leaders and advancing standards, to helping unlock the social and economic value of open data and measuring the results. TransparencyCamp Europe has energized individuals, civil society, institutions and governments to work together to create solutions to society's important challenges.’

This was the first TransparencyCamp Europe, with Open State Foundation and the Netherlands Presidency of the European Union welcoming over 400 attendees, including open data advocates, senior government officials, journalists, FOIA experts and policy makers. Information sharing through unconferences like TransparencyCamp Europe helps to chart open data’s future and, in turn, strengthens democracy in Europe.

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About Open State Foundation

Open State Foundation bevordert digitale transparantie door het ontsluiten van open data en de ontwikkeling van innovatieve en creatieve toepassingen te stimuleren.

Open State Foundation promotes digital transparency by unlocking open data and stimulates the development of innovative and creative applications.

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