EU raps Sweden over openness

Sweden is under fire from the European Union for its policy of freedom of information, a characteristic deeply intrenched in Swedish society.

Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter reports that pressure from Brussels could lead to Sweden defending its principle of openess in the EU’s constitutional court.

The EU Commission is also criticsing what is described as passiveness on the issue of openness by a raft of Swedish government agencies.

One case that has been highlighted is the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s decision in the autumn of 2005 to provide information on a strain of genetically modified feed to environmental organisation Greenpeace.

At the time the board released the information, the product was classed as secret by Dutch authorities which had received a request from a biotech firm planning to launch the product.

The Commission argues that according to EU law, only the company was legally allowed to make details of the product public, rather than Swedish authorities.

The Swedish government now has two months in which to answer the Commission’s complaints.

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