The European Parliament's constitutional affairs committee has today adopted the report on "Transparency, Accountability and Integrity in the EU Institutions" with a strong majority. The report has been ready to be voted on since September 2016, but Conservatives, Social Democrats and Liberals blocked the vote. Many of the particularly controversial rules for MEPs were subsequently decided in the Corbett report on the European Parliament's Rules of Procedure.
Sven Giegold, rapporteur on transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions, comments on today's decision:
"Today's vote calls for major steps towards greater transparency and integrity in the EU institutions, something that would help improve the public’s regard for them. Such measures were completely lacking in Juncker's White Paper, so it has fallen to the European Parliament to deliver. After the scandals surrounding Jose Manuel Barroso and Neelie Kroes, there must be a genuine reform of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners. Former Commissioners should take a break of at least three years before they can become lobbyists, and there must be independent and rigorous examination of their new jobs at the end of their mandate.
“Under the proposals approved today, all payments to lobby organisations above 3,000 euros must be transparent. Citizens have a right to know who is paying who in the murky world of Brussels lobbying. However, MEPs need to be more ambitious in keeping their own house clean. While MEPs called on the European Commission to ensure that all policy-makers have to disclose their meetings with lobbyists, they don’t want to apply this rule to themselves. Until the Parliament is prepared to make the same demands on itself as it asks of the Commission, it will not be taken seriously in negotiations.”
The Giegold report on "Transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions" will be voted in plenary in a few weeks. It provides a framework for the position of the Parliament on a transparency register for lobbyists. Representatives of all political groups are working on a mandate for the negotiations on a revision of the "Interinstitutional Agreement" between the Parliament, the Commission and, in the future, the Council. The EU Transparency Register is to be equipped with significantly more resources so that the data on lobbyists are up-to-date and complete. The report stipulates that the documents of the trialogue between the Parliament, the Commission and the Council will finally be made public. Access to documents should not only apply to the major EU institutions but also to other EU institutions such as the ECB and the European Court of Justice. This is intended to strengthen the democratic control of all key institutions.
An overview of the most important points of the report can be found here: http://www.sven-giegold.de/2017/european-parliaments-constitutional-affairs-committee-wants-big-steps-towards-more-transparency-and-integrity-in-eu-institutions/