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Hungary, the Netherlands publish critical OGP progress reports

Author: Adrian Offerman

This month, Hungary and the Netherlands published their first progress reports on the implementation of their respective Open Government Partnership (OGP) action plans. These drafts are open for comment, part of which will be worked into the final reports.

Hungary: derailed

In the Hungarian report we read how over the last two years the government focused on initiatives that complemented its existing anti-corruption program. However, according to author Petra Edina Reszkető from the Budapest Institute for Policy Analysis, in the spring of 2013 problems with freedom of information and public procurement scandals led some civil society organizations to exit the working groups in protest. Since these issues are directly related to the theme of open government, the cooperation between civil society organizations and government was effectively derailed.

Reszkető recommends to the stakeholders to rethink how government and civil society can collaborate and develop the OGP process. At the same time, however, she says that the idea that an open government is identical to anti-corruption makes it very hard to move forward.

The Netherlands: lack of effort, openness and ambition

The Dutch report states that the action plan — focusing on initiatives to enhance access and accountability through online tools — was not specific enough, making it difficult to assess its progress and impact. Furthermore, the Dutch government has not been open in the participation process and its efforts were limited. The plan failed to engage local governments and civil society as agents.

The author, Frans Jorna from the Saxion University of Applied Sciences, recommends that the Dutch government should work with civil society to create a measurable and ambitious action plan.