Nobody noticed because it happened just ahead of the no-confidence vote in the Bundestag orchestrated by Gerhard Schröder, but Germany’s upper house, the Bundesrat has narrowly approved the Federal Freedom of Information Act.

The new Informationsfreiheitsgesetz (IFG) will come into force in January 2006.

The bill passed thanks to a so-called “traffic light coalition” in German parliament’s upper chamber, where the federal states are represented and required to vote as a bloc, even if they are governed by coalitions. The Liberal FDP convinced those states in which it is the minority coalition partner with the CDU not to block measure which was backed by SPD- and Green-governed states.

It sure is mightly convenient to pass a FOIA just as you’re about to get booted out of office, but better late than never.

The new German law leaves Luxembourg as the only OECD country that does not yet have national FOI legislation on the books.