Since this afternoon, the European Parliament allows MEPs to publish their lobby meetings on the Parliament’s website. MEPs who co-author EU laws as rapporteurs, shadow rapporteurs or committee chairs are obliged to make their lobby meetings transparent to citizens. The rules, passed in the European Parliament on 31 January in a tight and fiercely contested manner, are entering into force with the new mandate. The European rules go back to the initiative report by MEP Sven Giegold (Greens) on “Transparency, Accountability and Integrity in the EU Institutions”. Transparency International had actively supported these rules at EU level. The then Transparency campaign leader Daniel Freund is now a new Green MEP and will from now on take over the work for lobby transparency in the European group of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen.
MEP Sven Giegold, spokesperson of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in the European Parliament and the last Parliament’s rapporteur for “Transparency, Accountability and Integrity in the EU-Institutions” commented:
“The European Parliament sets a new European standard for lobby transparency. Everyone can follow online which which lobbyists influence which laws. While the Council of Member States in opaque backroom dealings is pulling a new Commission President out of their hat, the European Parliament is gaining trust with more transparency as the Chamber of Citizens. The European Parliament’s new transparency rule, which came into force today, is a major step forward for European democracy. The European Parliament will thus become the most lobby transparent parliament in Europe.
In future, citizens will have clarity about the influence of lobbying on laws. Through the legislative footprint, citizens will already know which lobbyists are influencing a law when it enters into force. This means practical transparency in real time. The influence of powerful interests on EU laws can be better contained in the future. The voluntary transparency register, which has been in place until now, only allows a rough overview of the 12,000 or so lobby organisations in Brussels. The binding legislative footprint of the Parliament, together with the binding lobby rules for the EU Commission, allows a higher degree of transparency in EU legislation. For four years we Greens have been working towards this success. But also the pressure of thousands of citizens and many NGOs is now bearing fruit. I am happy to celebrate this success with my assistant Christian Beck on his last working day for me. From tomorrow he will be working for the new Green MEP Daniel Freund, who will continue to work on lobby transparency for us Greens.
The entry into force of guaranteed concrete lobby transparency in the European Parliament is a wake-up call for the Bundestag and other national parliaments. Lobbying national governments and parliaments the German is clearly less transparent than the EU institutions. This needs to change!”
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