EU Directive to Make All Public Information Available OnlineBulgaria in EU | July 13, 2012, Friday // 13:45| views
Bulgarian MEP Ivaylo Kalfin has argued that taxpayers must not pay twice to obtain public information from the state administration. Photo by BGNES
An EU Directive stipulating that all public information except classified information and personal data should be available online is being prepared, according to Bulgarian MEP Ivaylo Kalfin.
Kalfin, who is the main rapporteur on the proposal, explained Friday that the information had to be easily readable on the Internet, i.e. not requiring users to install a special program to obtain and process the information.
Bulgaria's MEP was adamant that the information had to be either free or sold at its cost price, adding that the proposal had already met substantial opposition.
He reminded that the sale of information was an important source of revenues for municipalities and structures like the Trade Register and the Property Register.
"They are selling you something that they get much cheaper, which they readily admit. However, they also say that if these revenues in their budget are depleted, they must be provided with some compensation," Kalfin stated, citing "the mayor of one of the biggest municipalities in Europe."
Kalfin stressed that no administrative structure was paying extra for the information.
He argued that taxpayers were not supposed to be burdened twice, given that they had already paid taxes to keep the administration working.
Bulgaria's MEP said that the arguments that the administrative structures would have to be compensated would be discussed at a later stage.
Kalfin admitted that the issue had to be resolved but reiterated his belief that the people were not supposed to pay their taxes to keep the administration functioning and collecting information and to pay yet again to access that information.
Bulgaria's MEP suggested that a special register had to be created to keep track of whether all public information was being published online in the appropriate form and to provide an apt explanation for all queries that require payment.
He specified that it was not necessary to set up a new structure for the purpose, adding that the responsibilities could be assigned to an existing administrative body.
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