In June 2008, the European Commission launched the voluntary EU lobby register. The Commission committed to evaluate this register after one year, to assess whether the levels of compliance are satisfactory and the register contributes to the aim of improving transparency about EU policy-making.
In this report, we have analysed compliance with the current register, as well as the quality of the information provided by registrants. Our research clearly shows that the voluntary approach is failing to secure adequate coverage. While the number of registrations has increased over the past 12 months, the overall compliance rate for Brussels-based lobby groups is far too low, at less than 23%, and some categories of interest representatives are boycotting the register altogether. At the same time, the quality of information disclosed in the register is questionable, especially where it concerns financial and client disclosure. Furthermore, key information such as names of lobbyists is missing completely.
This leads ALTER-EU to the conclusion that the Commission’s voluntary approach is a failure, and that the register needs a fundamental overhaul. To restore the credibility of its transparency agenda, the European Commission must address the flaws in its lobby register.