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Lobbyists register to be mandatory for all EU institutions

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Lobbyists register to be mandatory for all EU institutions

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(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission proposed Wednesday that its 'Transparency Register' evolve into a mandatory system covering all EU institutions - European Parliament, Council and Commission.

While the EU executive has for a while made meetings with its decision-makers conditional on interest representatives being publicly listed in a Transparency Register, registration has been voluntary.

The proposal would make being on the Register mandatory for any interest representatives trying to influence policy-making in Brussels.

"Citizens have the right to know who tries to influence EU law-making", said EC First Vice-President Frans Timmermans. "The EU institutions need to work together to win back the trust of our citizens. We must be more open in everything we do."

The European Parliament gave its welcome to "an eagerly-awaited reform." EP Vice-President Sylvie Guillaume said: "at a time when several scandals have been revealed and citizens' trust is eroded, it is vital to be entirely transparent about the various interest groups gravitating around the European institutions."

Under the proposals, meetings with decision-makers from all three EU institutions would become conditional on prior registration in the Transparency Register.

The proposal clarifies the scope of activities and bodies covered, bolsters the monitoring and effective enforcement of the Register's Code of Conduct for lobbyists and will simplify and improve the quality of data through streamlined input requirements and increased quality control.

Registrants who fail to comply with the Code of Conduct could face temporary suspension of their interactions with the institutions or removal from the Register.

Not all are happy with the proposal. The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) reacted angrily, saying the political situation in Europe demanded the Commission should do its utmost to regain public trust. "So long as Commission officials who influence and draft legislation are able to meet with unregistered lobbyists; and so long as there are no powers to fine, prosecute or levy other sanctions on the lobbying law firms and others that continue to boycott it or upload dodgy data; the register will remain a flawed tool," said Nina Katzemich, LobbyControl (an ALTER-EU steering committee member).

There have been around 4,000 new entries in the Register since November 2014.

Further information

Commission proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission on a mandatory Transparency Register

Frequently Asked Questions

Transparency Register website


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