And not only should the voluntary lobby register become mandatory, it also should get improved disclosure requirements. The review is our last chance to deliver the public's right to know who's influencing their laws, by ensuring more comprehensive and reliable data on lobbyists.1
The review process so far has been comprised of behind-closed door meetings involving the responsible Commissioner, Maroš Šefčovič, MEP Rainer Wieland (Vice-President of the European Parliament for transparency), and a number of “stakeholders” including ALTER-EU.
A cross-party group of seven MEPs have written to MEP Wieland, emphasising that an open and comprehensive review process is needed, and reiterating the Parliament's position that the current voluntary register should be replaced by a mandatory register, with more extensive reporting requirements.2
ALTER-EU shares this position, and welcomes the resistance against a narrow and short review process that envisages only minor 'technical' changes to the register.
ALTER-EU's coordinator Koen Roovers says: “If the 'Transparency Register' is ever to provide a realistic picture of the influence of lobbyists, it is vital that the position of MEPs and civil society across Europe – for a mandatory lobby register – is taken on board in the review process. Without this, we risk entrenching the current voluntary system, which has resulted in flawed registrations and large numbers of lobbyists choosing to remain unregistered. For citizens to take part in the European democratic debate, they need to feel that they are taken seriously, which starts with enabling genuine public scrutiny over European policy-making.”
For more information, please contact:
Koen Roovers, tel: +32497509871, firstname.lastname@example.org, @ALTEREU
Press conference: Participatory Democracy and Transparency, 5 March, 11h00-11h30.
Altiero Spinelli (ASP), salle 5G2 Raoul Wallenberg, European Parliament.
Organised by MEP Isabelle DURANT (Verts/ALE, BE), vice-president of the European Parliament.
Also with film-maker Matthieu Lietaert (The Brussels Business) and SEAP's president Susanna di Feliciantonio.