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Transparency register

The transparency register is an instrument common to the European Parliament and the Commission. It aims to inform citizens about organisations and self-employed individuals engaged in activities with the objective of influencing the decision-making processes of the European Union. It creates a framework for those activities by establishing a code of conduct and an alert mechanism which enables any infringements of the code to be detected and dealt with.

ACT

Agreement between the European Parliament and the European Commission on the establishment of a transparency register for organisations and self-employed individuals engaged in EU policy-making and policy implementation.

SUMMARY

With this Agreement, the European Parliament and the European Commission have established a common transparency register. This register contains information on organisations and individuals engaged in European policy-making and policy implementation. The information concerns, in particular, their type of activity, the interests they pursue and the resources they devote to their activities.

The register also includes a code of conduct and a complaint mechanism in the event of suspected non-compliance with the code.

The Agreement defines the structure of the transparency register, its scope and the obligations associated with registration.

Representation of interests

In accordance with Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union (EU), the European institutions shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with representative associations and civil society. The objective is to optimise the formulation and implementation of European policies by maintaining regular and legitimate relations with the principal stakeholders.

Many organisations have opened a ‘European office’ in Brussels for the purposes of representation activities. These activities include asserting their interests and influencing the EU’s decision-making process.

The transparency register therefore aims to register organisations and individuals engaged in these activities and to bring them together around a common code of conduct. It contributes to transparency and to compliance with laws and ethics in order, for example, to avoid excessive pressure or illegitimate access to information and policy-makers.

It is part of the EU’s transparency policy. Registration remains optional and does not constitute a form of EU accreditation of the organisations concerned.

Structure of the register

The register includes:

  • the scope of the register, eligible activities, sections open to registration (Annex I to the Agreement) and information, including financial information on the registered entities;
  • a code of conduct (Annex III);
  • a complaint mechanism and measures to be applied in the event of non-compliance with the code of conduct (Annex IV); these measures include suspension or removal from the register. These measures may lead to the withdrawal of the different types of badges affording access to the European Parliament.

Scope

The scope of the register covers all activities carried out with the objective of directly or indirectly influencing the formulation or implementation of European policies, irrespective of the channel or medium of communication used (media, forums, organising of events, think-tanks, etc.).

All organisations or individuals engaged in this type of activity are therefore expected to register.

However, this Agreement excludes certain activities from the scope of the register:

  • certain activities concerning the provision of legal and other professional advice to clients in judicial or administrative proceedings;
  • activities of social partners acting as participants in the social dialogue (trade unions, employers’ associations, etc.);
  • activities carried out in response to direct and individual requests from EU institutions or Members of the European Parliament.

The register covers all entities engaged in eligible activities (including lobbyists). However, governments of Member States and third countries, international organisations and diplomatic missions are not expected to register. Churches, religious communities and local and regional authorities are not concerned either; however, their offices or the legal entities they set up to represent them are expected to register.

Rules applicable after registration

By registering, the organisations and individuals concerned:

  • agree that the information which they provide shall be public;
  • agree to act in compliance with the code of conduct;
  • guarantee that the information provided is correct;
  • accept that the complaint mechanism may be implemented.

Implementation of the register

The services of the European Parliament and the European Commission will establish a joint operational structure, to be known as "the joint Transparency Register Secretariat". This secretariat will be responsible for the ongoing administration of the register and will contribute to the quality of its content.

Context

The new register builds upon and continues the existing registration systems set up by the European Parliament in 1996 and the European Commission in 2008. It is one of the implementing strands of the European Transparency Initiative launched in 2007 by the Commission.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Agreement between the European Parliament and the European Commission

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OJ L 191 of 22.7.2011

Last updated: 08.09.2011
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