European Commission lobby transparency consultation

An opportunity to improve transparency and equality in EU lobbying

The Greens/EFA group welcomes the launch today by the European Commission of a public consultation on the EU lobby transparency register. This is a good first sign that the Commission is open to public participation in the process, after the Greens/EFA group highlighted the need to ensure that the process to revise the EU's transparency register rules would be transparent and accessible to citizens. The Greens/EFA group welcomes this first step towards fulfilling the promise of Mr Juncker made to our Group infrom July 2014, when he said: "We need to be more transparent. The transparency register should be mandatory…and applied to all institutions." We have long been calling for a mandatory lobby transparency system that would oblige both lobbyists and decision-makers to be transparent about contacts held during the EU's legislative process and about the impact that lobbying has on EU decision-making. We think that the register should be strengthened to improve the information that is currently published by lobbyists, and that swift measures need to be taken to ensure that professional lobbyists are duly obliged to be transparent about the interests they represent. We also think it is imperative that the Council join the register in a constructive manner. In a report - drafted by Sven Giegold - which is currently being debated by the EP's Constitutional Affairs Committee, the Greens/EFA group has also called for urgent changes to the Code of Conduct for Members of the European Parliament and to the Staff Regulations to ensure that European Parliament staff behave with transparency and utmost integrity in their interactions with lobby groups. And we have also taken matters into our own hands: Whilst we push for legislative changes, the Greens/EFA group has already begun to lead by example, with the automatic publication of information about our meetings with lobbyists taking place since 1 December 2015.

Next steps for the transparency register

The public consultation is the first step in the process to amend the EU's inter-institutional agreement on the lobby register. It is still unclear exactly whom from the European Parliament will be responsible for the negotiations on the lobby register, but the Greens/EFA group will follow the process actively and push for key improvements to the register to be implemented in the new agreement. We also encourage citizens, businesses and civil society organisations to participate in the public consultation and throughout the decision-making process on the new transparency register. Relevant links

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