A first step towards EU lobbyism transparency?
Transparency International (TI) welcomes the establishment of the European Commission lobbyists' register, initiated by the Commission Vice-President, Siim Kallas, but urges the Commission to think ahead, and to use the lessons learned from its register for the establishment of a mandatory inter-institutional register in 2009, as called for by the European Parliament in April 2008.
The European Commission lobbyist’s register will be launched today, 23 June 2008. TI stresses that the voluntary Commission register should only be seen as a first step and an interim solution, and supports the Parliament’s call for developing it as a strong, joint register for Council, Parliament and Commission, building upon the experience and the infrastructure of the European Commission register.
"More needs to be done if the public is to understand by whom and how the legislative procedure of the EU is influenced. The remaining deficiencies of the Commission register should be remedied to guarantee real transparency and to ensure the establishment of a strong and mandatory lobbyist register covering all three institutions, the Commission, Parliament and Council", said Jana Mittermaier, Head of the TI Brussels Office.
During the Commission register’s test run, TI calls on the Commission to carefully consider the possibility of making the - currently voluntary - register a mandatory one, to also list all experts advising the Commission (especially those from the expert committees), to strengthen financial disclosure rules and to introduce the names of individual lobbyists. Beyond that, it is essential to reduce the number of entities currently excluded from the register, such as law firms.
“The EU needs to further increase transparency and accountability in lobbying practices to prevent undue influence and to strengthen the trust of citizens in European institutions,” Mittermaier emphasised.
TI has national chapters in almost every EU member, accession candidate and potential candidate state.
To read TI’s full recommendations on the Commission register code of conduct please see: www.transparencyinternational.eu
Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.
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