Transparency register proposal must be more stringent and apply to all EU institutions and agencies
GUE/NGL MEPs have called on the European Commission to strengthen the proposal for an inter-institutional transparency register by making it apply to all EU institutions and agencies, and including an appeal mechanism for complaints and investigation of fraudulent behaviour by lobbyists.
Co-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Integrity, Transparency, Corruption and Organised Crime, Dennis de Jong, comments: "I welcome the proposal for an inter-institutional agreement on a mandatory transparency register."
"However, the proposal is not perfect yet. The management board overseeing the joint transparency register secretariat should, for example, submit regular reports to the European Parliament.
"Complainants should also have the right to a review if their complaint is not honoured.
"In the case of fraudulent submissions by interest group representatives, OLAF should be called upon to start investigations.
"Last but not least, the negotiations on the agreement between the institutions themselves should be transparent and open for all stakeholders to contribute."
Shadow Rapporteur for the Inter-Institutional Agreement on the Transparency Register, Helmut Scholz, criticised Commissioner Timmermans over the proposal: "I am surprised that you, without any word of explanation, have swept aside the Parliament's requirement for a binding act."
"Despite your recent statements about making the EU institutions more open, in substance your proposal for the upcoming negotiations on the transparency register offers little more than incorporating the Council into the existing system.
"The registration of lobbyists is an important pillar of transparency, but it is not enough. At the heart of this debate are questions of lack of trust in the way the EU institutions themselves act; the question of who is holding the pen when legislation is drafted.
"In your proposal, this aspect is totally ignored. You leave it up to the institutions to decide for themselves whether or how transparency of lobbying will be managed. To my knowledge, the Commission doesn't intend to increase the scope of the proposal to its own structures, and the Council is very unwilling to follow the path of more transparency.
"We will push for substantial extensions of the transparency register because what you delivered is simply not sufficient. A mildly improved database alongside business as usual for the institutions and lobbyists would be a bad deal."
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings +33 3881 76723 / +32 483 03 55 75
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20