Transparency International (TI) demands the timely implementation of a robust and mandatory European Commission lobbyist register, as called for by the European Parliament constitutional affairs committee on 1 April 2008.
The European Parliament will vote tomorrow (8 May) on a register for lobbyists of European institutions. TI stresses that the mandatory Commission register should only be seen as a first step, and supports the Parliament’s call for developing it as a joint register for Parliament, Council and Commission, building upon the experience and the infrastructure of the European Commission register, soon to be launched.
“There are more than 15 000 lobbyists wandering the halls of the European institutions, looking to influence EU legislation. A strong lobbyist register, including detailed legislative footprints – showing which lobbyists were consulted on and contributed to individual bits of legislation - will provide a strong tool for making the goals and methods of EU lobbyists more transparent,” said Jana Mittermaier, Head of the TI Brussels Office.
This initiative of the European Parliament corresponds with European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas’ call for “a more structured framework for the activities of interest representatives (lobbyists)” as stated in the European Transparency Initiative (ETI) in 2006. Mittermaier added that, “the timeline for implementing the Commission register should be accelerated. It needs to be up and running before the summer break.”
The most effective means for improving transparency and accountability in lobbying at EU-level are:
- Naming of individual lobbyists;
- disclosing full financial means of all lobbyists, including think tanks and lawyers;
- Monitoring and sanction mechanisms for misuse of lobbying work at EU-level;
- Strong, detailed and properly enforced code of conduct, as a complementary measure to the mandatory register.
“The EU needs to increase transparency and accountability in lobbying practices to prevent undue influence and to strengthen the trust of European citizens in European institutions,” Mittermaier continued.
TI has national chapters in almost every EU member, accession candidate and potential candidate state.
To read TI’s recommendations on the Commission register code of conduct please see: http://www.transparencyinternational.eu
Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.
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