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Brussels, 10 November 2010

European Parliament and Commission to join forces in a new step for improving transparency

Today, the High Level Group of the European Parliament and the European Commission concluded its discussions on a joint "Transparency Register". It reached consensus on a draft inter-institutional agreement for a common register for organisations and individuals engaged in EU policy making and policy implementation. The agreement is now subject to formal adoption by both institutions.

Vice-President Šefčovič declared: "I'm delighted that we have reached an agreement today, which is a major step forward in our ongoing efforts to enhance transparency in EU decision-making. We take transparency extremely seriously, because it's clear that the public needs to know who is involved in making and influencing decisions on its behalf. The joint register is a concrete example of the excellent cooperation between the Commission and Parliament and I'd like to thank Diana Wallis and her team for their efforts."

Diana Wallis, European Parliament Vice-President with responsibility for transparency, said: "I'm very pleased with the outcome of our discussions. The common system upon which we've reached agreement will provide more information to citizens than is currently available with our separate systems, and offer a level playing field to the range of stakeholders participating in EU decision-making processes."

The common register is foreseen to be available online next June. Building upon the existing systems set up by the Parliament in 1996 and the Commission in 2008, it will offer a one stop shop both to registering organisations and to all citizens wishing to know who is engaged in such activities.

Beyond the information already made public in the existing systems, the new mechanism will provide additional information such as the number of individuals involved in all the activities relating to the register, and the level of EU resources received by the registrant. It will also provide clarifications regarding the eligible activities falling under the scope of the register, and the processes by which complaints will be handled. The common register should ensure the widest participation of all categories of operators while respecting their different or specific identities. The aim is to offer the public a full perspective on the wide diversity of stakeholders that contribute to the discussions in the European decision making processes and policy implementation.

In order to improve the information available, the Commission has already begun random checks of new registrations in its current register and will soon draw the attention of all - current and new - registrants to frequently made mistakes in the registration process. This week saw the number of registered organisations rise to 3209.

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