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05/04/2012 Transparency: towards a common register of European lobbies

More than 1,700 interest groups are accredited by the European Parliament. Yet, corruption allegations made against three MEPs and revealed in March by the Sunday Times have weakened the credibility of the only democratically elected European institution. The European Parliament has just voted on a text about transparency of relations between lobbyists and MEPs.

In 2008, the Parliament had already called for a joint register to list all the lobbies working around the European institutions. On Tuesday, March 10th, the report by Italian MEP Carlo Casini (EPP) suggests that the Parliament’s and Commission’s respective registers of lobbyists and other interest groups (with almost 4,000 accredited entities) be merged. MEPs also want the Council of the EU to participate in the register.

After this vote on Wednesday May 11th, the register could be implemented as of June. Contact between lobbyists and MEPs should be recorded as a kind of ‘legislative footprint’ linked to the parliamentary reports. The Parliament also supports plans for an annex to reports that would be written by MEPs and would list all the lobbyists that the rapporteurs met during drafting of the report.

Toute l'Europe debates

This deals with the rules surrounding lobbying activities in Europe as discussed during the last plenary session. Catherine Trautmann (France S&D) and Diana Wallis (UK ALDE) join the debate.

Natacha Cingotti, a member of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation, said on RFI (Radio France Internationale) that the merging of the two registers currently in use will bring real control of lobbyists but that lobbying that takes place outside the institutions will continue as before.

 

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