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Open Government in France: an Empty Promise?

Paris, 9 December 2016 — As France is hosting the Open Government Partnership Global Summit, a number of Civil Society Organizations point out the inconsistencies of the French government. Some have decided not to attend.

The report on "open government" in France is co-signed by the following Civil Society Organizations (CSO): ANTICOR, April, BLOOM, DemocracyOS France, Fais ta loi, Framasoft, La Quadrature du Net, Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, Regards Citoyens, République citoyenne, SavoirsCom1.

While showcasing a "dialogue with civil society", France is far from being an exemplary democracy

Open government is a new way to collaborate between public actors and civil society, to find mutual answers to the important challenges democracies are facing: human rights, preservation of the environment, fighting corruption, universal access to knowledge, etc.

To this end, seventy countries joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Each state is required to co-create and implement a "National Action Plan" together with civil society.

France joined the Open Government Partnership in April 2014, and published its first National Action Plan in July 2015.Since October 2016 the French government co-chairs the OGP with WRI (World Resource Institute), a US-based civil society organization. As such, France will host the OGP Global Summit, in Paris, from December 7th to December 9th, 2016, announced as the "COP 21 for democracy".

As the "Country of Human Rights", co-chair and host of the OGP Global Summit, France should be exemplary regarding open government.

Unfortunately, actions do not match the promises, including in the three areas identified as "core priorities" by the French government itself (1. climate change and sustainable development ; 2. transparency, integrity and anti-corruption ; 3. building digital commons), despite the Government's self-satisfaction.Worse, some decisions, incompatible with democratic progress as promoted by the Open Government Partnership, are leading France on a dangerous path.

The Civil Society Organizations who co-sign this statement, publish their critical analysis of Open Government in France and ask the French Government and Representatives to reevaluate some choices that are widely inconsistent with general interest and OGP's principles, and to finally bring coherence between speeches and actions.

Read the entire document

Signatories

  • ANTICOR is a non-profit organisation founded in 2002 by Eric Halpen and Severine Tessier to fight corruption and bring ethics back into politics.
  • April is the main French advocacy association devoted to promoting and protecting Free/Libre Software. The involvement of its volunteers and staff enables it to carry out many and diverse actions to promote digital freedoms.
  • BLOOMis a non-profit organization founded in 2005 by Claire Nouvian that works to preserve the marine environment and species from unnecessary destruction and to increase social benefits in the fishing sector.
  • DemocracyOS France is a non-profit organization promoting the use of an open source web platform that allows transparent and collective decision making. 
  • Fais Ta Loiis a collective that aims at helping people furthest from the democratic debate to make their voice heard in Parliament.
  • Framasoft is a network dedicated to the promotion of free culture, in general, and free software in particular.
  • Ligue des Droits de l’Homme acts for the defence of the rights and liberties of all. It is in interested in social citizenship and proposes measures for a strong and vibrant democracy, in France and in Europe. 
  • La Quadrature du Net is a non-profit association that defends the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet.
  • Regards Citoyens is a French organization of citizens volunteering from all regions to work together on providing a better understanding of the French democratic institutions by levering public information in new and creative ways. Regards Citoyens has advocated for public Open Data in France since 2009. Their most prominent initiatives are parliamentary monitoring websites including notably: NosDeputes.fr; NosSenateurs.fr and LaFabriqueDeLaLoi.fr. 
  • République citoyenne is a French CSO, created in 2013, that aims at stimulating citizens' critical thinking on democratic issues and on open government, in particular.
  • SavoirsCom1 is a collective dedicated to promote Knowledge Commons in public policies.