EU Transparency Register

02-12-2014

Widespread lobbying in the EU institutions has led to criticism regarding the transparency and accountability of the EU's decision-making process. In response to these concerns, the Parliament set up its transparency register in 1995, followed by the Commission in 2008. The two institutions merged their two instruments in a joint European Transparency Register (TR) in 2011 on the basis of an Inter-Institutional Agreement (IIA). So far, the Council has remained only an observer to the system. The TR is a voluntary system of registration for entities seeking to directly or indirectly influence the EU decision-making process. It has grown at a rate of around 1 000 organisations a year, to reach over 7 000 organisations today. While it is very difficult to make estimates on the actual coverage of the register, a recent academic study (2013) found the register to cover 60-75% of lobbying organisations active at EU level. In line with the IIA, a political review of the system took place in 2013-14. As a result, a new improved registration system will be introduced in January 2015. Parliament has been calling for a mandatory register for lobbyists active within the EU institutions since 2008. It has argued that a mandatory register would ensure full compliance by all lobbyists with the code of conduct. The topic has become increasingly prominent, especially since Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker put the issue on the political agenda, committing to introduce a proposal for a mandatory system by 2016, as requested by Parliament. Furthermore, from 1 December 2014 onwards, the Commission publishes information on meetings of Commissioners, members of their cabinets and Directors-General with lobbyists. The laws in Member States vary with regard to lobbying regulation. Mandatory registration systems exist only in Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Austria and the UK. The Irish Parliament is currently working on legislation introducing such a regime. Voluntary registration systems exist in Germany, France and the Netherlands.

Widespread lobbying in the EU institutions has led to criticism regarding the transparency and accountability of the EU's decision-making process. In response to these concerns, the Parliament set up its transparency register in 1995, followed by the Commission in 2008. The two institutions merged their two instruments in a joint European Transparency Register (TR) in 2011 on the basis of an Inter-Institutional Agreement (IIA). So far, the Council has remained only an observer to the system. The TR is a voluntary system of registration for entities seeking to directly or indirectly influence the EU decision-making process. It has grown at a rate of around 1 000 organisations a year, to reach over 7 000 organisations today. While it is very difficult to make estimates on the actual coverage of the register, a recent academic study (2013) found the register to cover 60-75% of lobbying organisations active at EU level. In line with the IIA, a political review of the system took place in 2013-14. As a result, a new improved registration system will be introduced in January 2015. Parliament has been calling for a mandatory register for lobbyists active within the EU institutions since 2008. It has argued that a mandatory register would ensure full compliance by all lobbyists with the code of conduct. The topic has become increasingly prominent, especially since Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker put the issue on the political agenda, committing to introduce a proposal for a mandatory system by 2016, as requested by Parliament. Furthermore, from 1 December 2014 onwards, the Commission publishes information on meetings of Commissioners, members of their cabinets and Directors-General with lobbyists. The laws in Member States vary with regard to lobbying regulation. Mandatory registration systems exist only in Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Austria and the UK. The Irish Parliament is currently working on legislation introducing such a regime. Voluntary registration systems exist in Germany, France and the Netherlands.