Great news: last week, the Council of Europe approved the “Directive on open data and the re-use of public sector information” (press release). This was the last opportunity for the directive to be rejected or changed, and it will go into force 20 days after the directive is published in the EU Official Journal (probably next month). Member states will then have 2 years to implement it.
We’ve blogged about earlier stages in this process, but this is a huge step for corporate transparency and integrity, meaning that in the future everyone will have access to official company register data, including company ownership, a far cry from where we are today. Of course, this is not the end of matters. There’s both an implementation process (comitology), deciding the exact details of what will be included, and the transposition of the directive into national law. There may also be arguments by member states that there are compelling reasons for delaying (mainly because they have treated company registers as sources of revenue rather than foundations for trusted, fair and transparent business).
OpenCorporates is proud to have been involved in what is a really significant achievement, and will continue to get involved as the process continues. If you’re working on or care about this issue at a country level – and that’s where many of the battles will be held – do get in touch (community [at] OpenCorporates [dot] com), and we’ll help coordinate between different groups.