This week, I went to my first European Parliament meeting. It was a panel discussion on transparency in regional policy, largely for the benefit of the EFA-Green group within the Parliament. I was sent to gather facts for Alyn since his flight arrived in Brussels half-way through the meeting.
One of the three speakers was Jack Thurston. A former advisor to the Labour Government in Westminster, Thurston left his job and helped to set up the websites FarmSubsidy.org and FishSubsidy.org. These take data which the EU member states are required to publish, translate it into English and publish it in an easy-to-use database. At the meeting, Mr Thurston demonstrated a future version of FishSubsidy, which will use Google Maps to allow you to easily browse subsides by region.
This is an excellent demonstration of how the internet can be used to allow greater transparency and a good way for those concerned to see how the CAP and CFP subsidies are spent.