Ethics and transparency
As the European Parliament grows in importance and influence, especially with the last Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), it is more crucial than ever to ensure that it represents the interests of European citizens in a fully open and transparent manner.
Thus, European citizens are entitled to follow the activities of their elected Members closely, verifying that they comply with strict principles of conduct and maintain well-balanced relations with interest representatives. Citizens should also be able to expect the highest of standards of behaviour and efficiency from Parliament staff. Last but not least, citizens must be granted a right of access to documents of the European Institutions within the necessary limitations laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.
In conformity with Parliament’s commitment to transparency, all the transparency tools provided here under aim at facilitating citizens’ scrutiny over Parliament’s activities and, in particular, its legislative work.
The Union’s institutions, bodies, offices and agencies conduct their work as openly as possible in order to ensure the participation of civil society and thus promote good governance. (Article 15 of the TFEU)
The institutions shall, by appropriate means, give citizens and representative associations the opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action; in addition, the institutions shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with representative associations and civil society."
(Article 11 of the TEU)
Access rights for interest group representatives
23 June 2011 the European Parliament and the European Commission signed an Interinstitutional Agreement on the establishment of a common Transparency Register. The Agreement was revised and a new text is applicable as of 1 January 2015.
The common Register enhances transparency as it is easier for citizens to obtain information on individuals and organisations in contact with the EU institutions. This "one-stop shop" system facilitates registration procedure for representatives of specific interests. The common Register incorporates previously separate Parliament and Commission Registers.
Organisations and individuals are required to accede to the Register prior to requesting access to the European Parliament. The online application will normally be processed within 2-3 working days. Individuals may be granted access to the European Parliament for up to 12 months and they may renew their access request as from two months prior to the indicated expiry date.
Individuals with access authorisation may obtain an access card from designated reception desks. The access card must be activated at the reception desk before an individual may enter Parliament. The receptions are open in Brussels from 07h00-20h00 (Monday-Friday, short Fridays 08h00-13h00) and in Strasbourg during plenary part-sessions from 14h30-20h00 (Monday), 07h30-20h00 (Tuesday/Wednesday) and 07h30-18h00 (Thursday).
An organisation may request access authorisation for any number of individuals. Parliament may restrict the number of individuals per organisation permitted to enter each day. If an organisation is disbarred from the Register, access for individuals working for that organisation will be automatically revoked.
The common Transparency Register contains easily accessible data on organisations and self-employed individuals engaged in EU policy-making and policy implementation, as well as statistical data on all registered parties and a listing of individuals with access authorisation to the European Parliament.
More information may be obtained from: SAFE.TR-Accreditation@ep.europa.eu
Interest representatives can be private, public or non-governmental bodies. They can provide Parliament with knowledge and specific expertise in numerous economic, social, environmental and scientific areas. They can play a key role in the open, pluralist dialogue on which a democratic system is based and act as an important source of information for Members in the context of the performance of their duties.
The Treaty on European Union provides a framework for and seeks to foster relations between the European institutions and European political leaders, on the one hand, and civil society, EU citizens and representative associations, on the other.