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European Commission - Press release
Commission and European Parliament launch Joint Transparency Register to shed light on all those seeking to influence European policy
Brussels, 23 June 2011 – In an effort to give a further boost to the transparency of the EU's decision-making process, the European Parliament and the European Commission are today launching a joint, public Transparency Register which provides more information than ever before on those who seek to influence European policy.
The new Register replaces the one set up by the Commission in 2008, which already contains more than 4000 organisations. These will be gradually transferred to the Joint Transparency Register over the coming 12 months. It also extends its coverage well beyond traditional lobbyists to include law firms, NGOs, think tanks - indeed any organisation or self-employed individual engaged in influencing EU policy making and implementation. This is a key step towards the EU's goal of a more participatory democracy.
Registrants will also have to provide more information than before, such as the number of staff involved in advocacy, the main legislative proposals they have covered, as well as the amount of EU funding they received.
By signing up to the Transparency Register, organisations will commit to a Common Code of Conduct pledging, for example, always to identify themselves by name and the entity they work for, and not to obtain information dishonestly. A complaint mechanism and measures to be applied are also outlined for those who break the Code of Conduct.
European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said: “This is good news for the transparency of policy-making in Europe. All organisations, whether trade and professional associations, NGOs, think tanks or others who have nothing to hide will be in the register and will provide the public and the institutions with information about their work. All those who are not in the register will have to be asked why they can't be transparent - and they will see their daily work made more difficult by not being registered, in particular through the requirements of the European Parliament. I am pleased that the Council is now willing to play an active role in the Register as well. With the new Code of Conduct for Commissioners and now the Joint Transparency Register, we have set benchmarks for many other capitals in Europe and the world.”
Diana Wallis, Vice-President of the European Parliament said: “I feel that we have finally accomplished a goal our working group set ourselves several years ago, and today, by launching this joint register for interest representatives between the Commission and the Parliament, I hope that we will help to instil a more solid culture of transparency in Brussels.”
“Up until now, there may have been some confusion. Now there can be none: one register, one place to sign up. And for all those who want to take part in the EU policy-making process, this register will also demonstrate that our institutions are working together. This is why I am thrilled that the Council has now announced its willingness to take steps in joining us. Together we are taking a strong step in the right direction. On this note, I would like to thank Vice President Maroš Šefčovič for his open and co-operative working methods during these negotiations.”
The Transparency Register website:
What others say:
Jana Mittermaier, Head of Brussels Office at Transparency International
"Transparency International welcomes the new Transparency Register as another step in the right direction and encourages the European Commission and European Parliament to take further steps in the right direction. The new register is an important milestone in creating greater transparency around EU lobbying activities. It will only be effective however if it is used properly and in the spirit of the Code of Conduct that accompanies it. The new register will be a test of the commitment of all parties involved in lobbying to greater openness.”
José Laloum, Chairman EPACA: European Public Affairs Consultancies Association
“The success of the register is clearly in the interest of our professions and we urge the Commission and the Parliament to ensure that there are clear benefits, in terms of access, event participation and consultations, to being a registrant.”
Richard Linning President IPRA: International Public Relations Association
"IPRA, the International Public Relations Association, welcomes the launch of a common transparency register. Its objectives resonate with our own 50-year-old code of ethics which has recently been relaunched in clearer language and in more than 25 translations. We expect the new register to streamline access to Commission officials and MEPs."
Lyn Trytsman-Gray, President SEAP: Society of European Affairs Professionals
"SEAP welcomes the launch of a common Transparency Register for the European Parliament and the Commission, which SEAP has long supported. Transparency and trust lie at the heart of good decision making and good lobbying. There are however, some areas that still need attention and we will work closely with the Commission to ensure they are addressed."