EU lobby transparency: Vote on report “Transparency, Accountability and Integrity in the EU Institutions” in Strasbourg Thursday, next week
Yesterday, the Secretary Generals of the political Groups in the European Parliament put my report “Transparency, Accountability and Integrity in the EU Institutions” on the draft agenda for the Parliament session in Strasbourg next week. Currently, it is planned to have a short plenary presentation on Monday, 11 September, followed by the final votes on Thursday, 14 September. On Committee level, members of the European Parliament adopted the report with a very big majority in the constitutional affairs committee (AFCO) in March. All Members except for three German Conservatives (CDU) voted in favour. The AFCO vote came after a long stalemate. Conservatives, Social Democrats and Liberals had blocked the vote since September 2016.
Yesterday, negotiations between the Parliament, Commission and Council of Member States about a new legal basis for the EU’s Transparency Register for lobbyists have started with a first political meeting ahead of official negotiations. Parliament’s lead negotiators assured that after the vote on the report “Transparency, Accountability and Integrity”, Parliament’s negotiatited mandate will be adapted accordingly.
MEP Sven Giegold, rapporteur for this report and spokesperson of the German Greens in the European Parliament, comments:
‘Next week, just a day after Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union speech, the Parliament will be tested to what extend the Parliamentarians are actually ready and willing to deliver and live up to their promises on transparency and integrity. Last week, the Commission proposed a longer cooling-off period for former Commissioners and more transparency about its ethics committee. However, they clearly failed to address the key problem. So far, the committee, which is hand picked by the Commission, has acquitted all former Commissioners including those who definitely breached the Code of Conduct like Neelie Kroes. The report, as adopted by AFCO, calls for an ethics committee chosen independently of those who will be judged. Parliament should affirm this demand towards Commission on Thursday.
‘Through new amendments, we propose parliamentarians to commit to being serious about transparency and integrity. While MEPs called on the European Commission to ensure that all policy-makers have to disclose their meetings with lobbyists, the same rule is not effectively implemented yet within the EP. Key votes will be about a mandatory legislative footprint, at least for those holding key positions during EU law making, i.e. rapporteurs, shadows and committee chairs.
‘Conservatives, on the contrary, indicate to ask for a weakening of the AFCO decision.’
Here are all the details on the votes in March
Comment on the adoption of the report in AFCO in March
Full report as adopted by AFCO in March: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fNONSGML%2bREPORT%2bA8-2017-0133%2b0%2bDOC%2bPDF%2bV0%2f%2fEN
EP press release on the first political meeting ahead of Transparency Register negotiations: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20170906IPR83205/first-political-meeting-ahead-of-transparency-register-negotiations