Albania Makes U-Turn on Open Government

Fecha de publicación: 
10 Ene 2014

In an apparent U-turn, Endri Fuga, an adviser to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, told Balkan Insight that online publication of government decisions in full had re-started on Wednesday.

“Since the first government meeting of 2014, the decisions of the Council of Minister have been published in full,” Fuga maintained.

The Albanian government had been publishing the decisions of the Council of Ministers on its website since 2003.

However, the tradition stopped when Rama's centre-left team took office in September. The public have since received only snippets of information through press releases.

Critics called the move a backward step in terms of the public’s right to access key information in a timely manner.

They also said Albania was failing to honour the commitments it had undertaken through the Open Government Partnership, OPG.

Fuga said government decisions could already be read in the official gazette, albeit weeks after they were taken, so their partial publication on the government website was not meant to hamper transparency.

He said the idea behind the brief summaries had been “ to publish an explanation of what a decision was about in a language that was more understandable than the official language of the decision”.

The intention had not been to hide information, but to take "a different approach" to it, he said. 

“If you look at other web pages of government institutions across the world, they do not practice this [full publication] procedure at all,” he added.

“In the case of for example, they simply put a link when the decision is published by the library of Congress,” he continued.  

However, when Balkan Insight checked the US White House web site, contrary to what Fuga claimed, it was clear that all decisions of the US President, including executive orders, presidential memoranda and proclamations, were published in full on the website. 

The White House not only publishes its decision online, but also includes further voluntary information disclosures. These include the White House visitors logs and the annual report to Congress on the White House staff.