Today, the Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) Committee of the European Parliament has voted for the first time for binding lobby transparency for MEPs. MEPs who co-author EU laws as rapporteurs, shadow rapporteurs and committee chairs, will need to publish any meetings they have had with interest representatives that fall under the scope of the EU Transparency Register.
The Greens/EFA group have long been calling for much stronger rules around lobbying in the European Parliament, in order to increase the transparency and accountability of decision making. The new rules will now be voted on in the January plenary session of the European Parliament. The Greens/EFA strongly urge all groups to vote in favour of more transparency.
Max Andersson, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur comments:
"The era of lobbyists roaming the corridors of power and pushing the agendas of the highest bidder without scrutiny needs to end. We cannot allow our politics to become captured by big industries and dark money. Everyone from civil society to SMEs and big business deserves to have their say around the decisions that affect us all, but that must be in an open, transparent and accountable matter. Otherwise those with the most money will be able to have the most influence and that’s bad for our democracy. What is in the interest of big oil, big tobacco and big pharma companies, for example, is not necessarily in the interest of all European citizens.
Sven Giegold, Greens EFA/MEP and author of the transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU-institutions report, comments:
"This decision is a breakthrough for binding lobby transparency of MEPs. For the first time ever, the European Parliament can now adopt binding rules for transparency of lobby influences. The mandatory legislative footprint allows citizens clarity who influenced their representatives when drafting EU laws. This is a milestone for European Democracy. In times of populists attacking the EU, this decision can bring about more trust in the European Parliament ahead of the elections next year. Soon in Plenary, all MEPs will have to take a personal stance if they want allow citizens this transparency of lobbying in the Parliament.
The new rules will come into effect in February, if agreed during a vote in the plenary session of the European Parliament in January. The adopted compromise amendment by British Labour MEP Richard Corbett is based on a Green amendment and Parliament’s resolution of 2017 on transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU-institutions drafted by Green MEP Sven Giegold. In plenary, every change of Parliament‘s rules of procedure needs not only a relative majority, but a majority of the 751 members. Since not all Members are present usually, this is an unusually high threshold. The AFCO committee also voted to add a section to MEPs websites where they can upload documents confirming that they use the General Expenditure Allowance correctly. While this transparency of the GEA spending remains voluntary, the easy comparison on MEP’s web profiles will allow peer pressure towards transparency.