Today the Conference of Presidents backed continuing talks for an upgraded Inter-institutional Transparency Register following a report from lead negotiators.
Parliament’s lead negotiators, Sylvie Guillaume (EP Vice-President) and Danuta Hübner (Chair of the Constitutional Affairs committee), informed group leaders of the Commission’s declared intention to suspend negotiations on an upgraded Transparency Register. They welcomed political groups’ support in favour of continuing inter-institutional negotiations. It was agreed that relevant bodies in the EP will speed up their efforts to implement measures increasing the transparency of Parliamentary meetings with interest representatives, ahead of the next European elections. Parliament’s negotiators aim to enhance the transparency of interest representation in EU decision-making and include all three EU institutions (the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission) in a common effort to increase public trust in the EU decision-making process.
The package of additional measures is part of the interinstitutional negotiations on the Transparency Register and was already endorsed by the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (President and political group leaders) before the summer.
“Our intention from the very beginning has been to bring the negotiations on the Transparency Register to a successful conclusion, despite the Commission’s decision. Two years after the Commission’s proposal for a new agreement, we are now eager to show Parliament’s unwavering commitment to these reforms, ahead of the end of this parliamentary term”, said EP lead negotiator Sylvie Guillaume (S&D, FR).
“For change to happen, work must start now. That is why we will continue to talk with the Commission and the Council about common measures that enhance transparency in all three institutions as part of achieving a tripartite deal and why we have called for a meeting with the Austrian Presidency and the Commission at the earliest opportunity. We are ready to move forward to promote a deeper culture of transparency for our institutions”, said EP lead negotiator Danuta Hübner (EPP, PL).
S&D MEPs made clear that the work to make EU decision making processes more transparent must be stepped up. In particular, the Group stressed that interaction between lobbyists and EU officials and MEPs must be done in an open and transparent way. The Group stressed that the ongoing negotiations between the European Parliament, Commission and Council must not be put on hold.
“Over the last few years we have made significant progress in ensuring the EU decision making process is more transparent. This fight must now be stepped up ahead of the European elections next year. In June, the Parliament endorsed ten measures that should be implemented to deepen the culture of transparency in the house. This includes a proposal for incoming Members to commit to only meet with lobbyists who are registered on the EU’s Transparency Register,” S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann.
The interinstitutional negotiations on a mandatory Transparency Register aim to make interest representation in EU decision-making more transparent, by introducing certain conditions for interest representatives in their interaction with the EU institutions. The agreement would include all three EU institutions (the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission) in a joint effort to increase public trust in the EU decision-making process.
Parliament’s mandate seeks to strengthen existing rules and close loopholes, so that registration would become mandatory for any interest representatives entering its premises, speaking at its public meetings or co-hosting events, with the aim of influencing MEPs’ decision-making. An additional transparency package was endorsed on Wednesday 27 June 2018 and includes a voluntary public declaration for MEPs to pledge to meet only registered interest representatives, a tool for them to publish such meetings on their Parliament webpage and raise awareness of the legislative footprint tool already available for Members to declare input to reports they author.
After two political negotiating meetings, on 18 July 2018 the College of Commissioners gave its chief negotiator First Vice-President Frans Timmermans the mandate to suspend negotiations if the European Parliament and the Council failed to emulate the Commission’s approach on the principle of conditionality.