The Freedom of Information Act is now edging on 7 years old, and despite some difficulties in using it effectively, it has proved an important and useful tool for journalists and members of the public.
In a similar vein, ‘civil society organisations’ have now launched AsktheEU.org, with which any EU citizen can file a request to obtain information held by public bodies within the EU.
“The right applies to the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and most other EU offices, bodies and agencies. For some EU bodies such as the European Central Bank, however, the right only applies to the administrative functions of those bodies.”
Essentially, there is a wide range of bodies to seek information from and unlike the FOI Act, your request will be sent to the appropriate body by AsktheEU and a response is required within 15 working days.
There are search tools within the site to find other requests that may be similar to yours and all requests are made public on the site; however, no private requests can be made on this site, similar to using Whatdotheyknow.
To put it simply, as AsktheEU.org put it in the EU opendata mailing list;
“AsktheEU.org is a designed to radically simplify the process by which the public puts requests to European Union bodies: an email is sent from the website to the relevant EU body. All requests sent via AsktheEU.org and the responses are instantly made public. Requesters will have the opportunity to “me too” a request so that more than one person receives the answer, easing the workload on EU officials.”