Unione Europea: obbligo di registro per le lobby?

Briefings, coffees, meetings in the corridors of EU Brussels buildings, among lobbists and EU representatives to make pressure on European legislation. But who are the lobbists that meet whit EU administrators and EU Meps? And what intereststhey represent?

REUTERS/Brian Lawless/pool

Not all the lobbies are subscribed into the Transparency Register  and so it is not easy to answer to this question.

That’s why the European Commission launched a Transparency Register for the registration of interest representatives who seek to influence the work of the EU institutions . Now there will be space to hear citizens voice about it.

The Commission reminds that it made significant steps toward transparency. Under Juncker Commission, as a rule, Commissioners will no longer meet with any organisations which are not listed in the Transparency Register.

The goal now is to work on a mandatory  lobby register covering the European Parliament and Council of the European Union as well as the Commission.

As of 1 March, there are 9.286 entries in the current Transparency Register.

EU Transparency Register for lobbies

The public consultation will last two weeks and the main question is: Is appropriate make mandatory the Transparency Register for all the EU Institutions?

 Citizens, civil society and stakeholders will answer to this and other questions.

 The consultation is designed in two parts : The first part of the consultation does not require detailed knowledge of the current Transparency Register and allows non-experts to respond on questions of principle and scope, whilst the second section invites opinions on the practical functioning of the current system from those who use it. In that way the EU Commission is trying to make more transparent its meetings and relations with lobbies . << This Commission is changing the way we work by consulting stakeholders more and by being open about who we meet and why. We need to go further by establishing a mandatory register covering all three institutions, ensuring full transparency on the lobbyists that seek to influence EU policy making. To help us get this proposal right, we hope to receive as much feedback as possible from citizens and stakeholders from across Europe on how the current system works and how it should evolve. A European Union that is more transparent and accountable is a Union that will deliver better results for citizens >> First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said.

The public consultation will be the basis for the proposal the Commission will make later this year.

Lobbies and EU Insitutions

About 50 organizations join the Transparency Register every week. Half of them are part of in-house lobbists,  while the other half of registered organisations come from the section in-house lobbyists and trade,business, professional associations, according to the EU data.

They are mainly European organizations: 92% of registered organisations are EU-based and every single EU Member State is represented, one fifth of all registrants have a head office in Belgium, 6,100 persons from registered organisations hold an access badge to the European Parliament’s buildings. Corporations are the mostly influent on the EU decisons making process: between December 2014 and June 2015 they obtained 4,318 meetings with EU Commission representatives, 75% of the meetings. While the 18% of the meetings took place with NGO, 4 % with think tank, 2 % with local authorities. BusinnesEurope, according to the data, is  at the top of the rank for meetings (44), according with Transparency International data, as recently reported by Eastonline.

The EU Commission reminds that in line with the  introduced in November 2014 all meetings between interest representatives and the Commissioners, their Cabinets, and Commission Director-Generals must be published within two weeks of taking place. But on that point polemic discussion  exists with the European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, she regrets that European Commission did not choose the way of trasparency on meetings with tobacco industriesand did not pay attention to the recomendations by the Ombudsman, after the inquery conducted by the Corporate Europe Observatory on the issue. In the past months the EU Ombudsman complained that meetings between tobacco lobbies and EU representatives have been under wraps. There was no spontaneus publication of the meetings’documents. The Commission publishes such meetings only in response to access of documents requests from MEPs as reported by Eastonline. Only the DG Health is respecting transparency rules by publishing those meetings’ documents.

The EU Ombudsman  communicated that her recomendations have been not heard by the EU Commission ,  which replied that it is meeting all its obligations.

@IreneGiuntella

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