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Parliamentary Data for a Better Democracy

A forum for sharing best practices
organized by the OPTED network 

with the support of H2020

Place: Brussels

Venue: European Parliament, 60 rue Wiertz 60 B-1047 – Bruxelles

Date: June 15th, 2022

Format: Hybrid (On-site + streamed online for registered participants)

Work language: English


(Preliminary program – Subject to change)

9:00 am – 9:30 am Registration and coffee


9:30 am – 10:45 am Welcome messages, Opening Plenary


Chair: Hajo Boomgaarden

Welcome messages: Miklós Sebők, Sponsors

Keynote Speeches 

This section features keynote speeches and a discussion on “The Possibilities of Utilizing Parliamentary Data”. The concept of this section is based on the three key stakeholder groups of data journalists, parliamentary archives and academia. It aims to provide an in-depth look into some successful, high impact project in each sphere. Presentations are 20 minutes each, followed by a discussion.

  • Academic perspectives: Miklós Sebők, Sven-Oliver Proksch, Christian Rauh, Jan Schwalbach  – Co-creators of the OPTED inventory of legislative data, the Parlawspeech database and its interactive website
  • Data journalism perspectives: Andrea Abellán – project of the European Journalism Center 
  • Parliamentary archives: Christian Heyer, Monika Jantsch – Directorate-General „Information and Documentation“ of the Administration of the German Bundestag
  • Discussion

10:45 am – 12:00 pm Roundtable: Better Parliamentary Data, More Transparency and Democracy?


Chair: Christian Rauh

This section features a roundtable on the intersection between parliamentary data and democracy. The discussion focuses on how more transparency regarding legislative speeches, procedures and outputs (such as laws) can contribute to a renewal of public discourse and representative democracy. The roundtable starts with very brief presentations of the participants’ projects and institutions (10 minute each) followed by a roundtable discussion.

  • Attila Bátorfy – ELTE University, Hungary, investigative/visual journalist at Átlátszó/ATLO
  • Ieva Dunčikaitė – Manoseimas project, Lithuania
  • Martina Schories – Data journalist, Süddeutsche Zeitung

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Sandwich lunch 

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm Showcase of data users 


Chair: Jan Schwalbach

This section features a showcase of seven best practices of how to use parliamentary data. The line-up includes presentations by legislative transparency projects, data journalism endeavours and other non-academic projects. Demonstrations present the challenges of procuring data in the right format, securing co-operation from data providers, data storage issues and convincing cases of visualization. Presentations are 15 minutes each, followed by a discussion of 30 minutes.

  • Dominik Brenner – Central European University, Global Corruption Observatory
  • David Cabo – Fundación Civio, an independent, non-profit newsroom in Spain
  • Michal Ovádek – University of Gothenburg, Maintainer of the eurlex R package on European law
  • Florian Richter and Jakob Kraus – Open Discourse project covering the debates in the German Bundestag

2:30 pm – 2:45 pm Coffee Break

2:45 pm – 4:15 pm Roundtable of Data Providers


Chair: Sven-Oliver Proksch

This section features a roundtable of representatives of data providers. The discussion focuses on how data is made available by legislative archives or academic projects. Themes covered include, inter alia, data structures and format, best practices for opening up API access to parliamentary data, open data licenses. After the introduction (5 minutes) the roundtable starts with very brief presentations of the participants’ projects and institutions in 5 minute each. The ensuing discussion is 40 minutes long, followed by a Q/A session.

  • Andrew Aiton – Data visualisation expert at the Scottish Parliament
  • Addie Erwin – Data officer at the Inter-Parliamentary Union 
  • Christoph Konrath – Research and Support in Parliamentary Matters Unit, Nationalrat of Austria
  • Rolandas Pyragis – EP unit for Reception and Referral of Official Documents

4:15 pm – 5:00 pm Closing Plenary 


Chair: Miklós Sebők

The closing plenary focuses on gleaning takeaways from the conference. It will serve as an input and starting point for a report legislative data transparency in Europe. This will consist of a summary of what participants see as approaches that work, steps to spread and co-operations to pursue. 

  • A summary of the best practice findings of the conference 
  • Revisiting ParLawSpeech and OPTED as a platform for sharing open parliamentary data 
  • Future steps of the network
  • Discussion

7:00 pm  Conference dinner

  • THON HOTEL EU, Rue de la Loi 75, 1040 Bruxelles