Last year we talked about the new Law of Transparency for lobbies to European Union Institutions, which establishes the obligation of offices like Alonso & Asociados not only to register in order to deal with member of the institutions, but, in addition, it obliges lobbies to declare publicly the meetings and participation in events with EU officials.
Since then, the European Parliament has made further progress on the issue of transparency. On January 6 Parliament approved more transparency and efficiency in its internal rules. The reform of the internal rules, undertaken at the request of the Greens, aims to introduce compulsory registration of each of the meetings that the presidents of the parliamentary Committees, the rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs hold with the representatives of the private sector. Until now officials had no obligation to declare their meetings – only lobbyists.
The Regulation reflects the rules of conduct of officials among other issues that affect the internal functioning of the institution. Moreover, it already includes the register in which the lobbies must be registered, which is mentioned precisely by one of the key amendments in this reform:
“Members must post online all scheduled meetings with stakeholders who are registered in the Transparency Register. Presidents, rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs for each file will post online all scheduled meetings with interest representatives that are within the scope of the Transparency Register […]”.
The reform, which will enter into force as of February 2019, will have a positive impact on the ongoing negotiations between the Parliament, the Commission and the Council to improve the Transparency Register (until now negotiations were stalled because the Commission required Parliament that the proposed rules were not voluntary but mandatory).
This measure will not only affect Parliament, but it will also clarify which lobbies work with the Commission and the European Council. Therefore, it is a transversal act that will reinforce the commitment of openness and transparency with citizens of EU’s civil servants and lobbies that work with them. It is one of the last steps that will be taken in this aspect in the few months remaining to end the term of office of this Parliament and this Commission, thus closing a five-year period full of advances in transparency and trust in the institutions.
This issue and many others relevant in the day by day of the Union’s institutions and its lobbies are explained in the book of our Managing Partner, Emiliano Alonso, ‘El lobby en la Unión Europea, Manual sobre el buen uso de Bruselas’ (Madrid, 2016). You may find the last edition of the book (2016) here. if you have any doubt in this regard, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com or +32(0)2 230 70 42.