Answer given by Mr Barroso on behalf of the Commission
The Commission exercises various powers confered by the Treaty which requires some interaction with stakeholders and is under a Treaty obligation to consult widely before initiating legislation. This is why the Commission considers that meeting representatives of groups which have not signed up to the register cannot be subject to a decision of principle as suggested by the Honourable Member to be applied systematically and across the board in all circumstances. It requires a judgment call to be made each time, on a case by case basis and depending on the objective of the the meeting in question.
The Register of interest representative is a voluntary register and is not an accreditation system. Therefore it remains the responsibility of each consultancy and lobbyist to decide whether to register or not. The Commission continues to promote the register and note the steady increase in the number of registrant with satisfaction.
As it has been proposed by the Parliament in its resolution of 8 may 2008, a joint working group between the Commission and Members of the Parliament, has been set up. It is therefore within this working group that the next decisions regarding the register are now being discussed.