Following the Council's approval of its negotiating mandate on 6 December, the three institutions reiterated their full commitment to increasing the transparency of the activities of interest representatives at EU level. At this second political meeting, which closed the pre-negotiation phase, they also stressed the importance of conducting the upcoming interinstitutional talks in an open and inclusive manner.
European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "I am pleased that the European Parliament and the Council have agreed to start formal negotiations in the New Year on our proposal for a mandatory Transparency Register. People have a right to know who is seeking to influence EU decisions. The Commission has been applying the 'not on the Register, no meetings' rule for some time and it works. A commitment is now needed from all three Institutions to make interactions with lobbyists conditional on being in the Register."
The meeting was organised at the initiative of the Estonian Presidency of the Council, which highlighted the main aspects of Council's negotiating mandate. The Commission and Parliament welcomed the Council's readiness to enter negotiations, and the three institutions agreed to start negotiations as soon as possible.
Since 2011, the Commission and Parliament have jointly operated a public register for interest representatives, aiming to increase the transparency and accountability of the EU decision-making process. The Council has been an observer to the current scheme since 2014.
The European Commission presented its proposal for a new inter-institutional agreement on a mandatory Transparency Register for lobbyists covering the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission on 28 September 2016. The proposal aims to strengthen the framework for a transparent and ethical interaction between interest representatives and the three institutions participating in the new scheme.
On 15 June 2017, the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament, bringing together the Parliament's President and political group leaders, approved the Parliament's negotiating mandate, following endorsement by a Parliament contact group made up of representatives of all the political groups. The Parliament's mandate underlines the need for a strong transparency message from the three institutions and a meaningful outcome of the negotiations.
The Council adopted its negotiating mandate on 6 December 2017 and also decided to make it public.
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