The negotiators of the Parliament, Council and Commission acknowledge positive steps and look forward to achieving further progress together.
On Tuesday, 6 October 2020, the European Parliament negotiators, Vice-President Katarina Barley and Danuta Hübner, Member of the Constitutional Affairs Committee, together with Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office Michael Roth for the German Presidency of the Council, and Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová, met to take stock of the process and to determine next steps in the negotiations for a tripartite mandatory Transparency Register. The representatives of the three EU institutions welcomed the progress on the points discussed so far, especially with regard to the scope of the new register.
The provisional terms of the relevant parts of the draft agreement reflect the different nature and requirements of each institution, and are fully in line with the commitments reaffirmed at the previous political meeting on 16 June 2020.
In this context, the negotiators welcomed the additional clarity on the future purpose and scope for an enhanced Transparency Register, which will allow for a common coordinated approach while leaving each institution free to determine the particulars that pertain to its work. This development sets the foundation for further progress on outstanding points.
“We are optimistic that we will reach an agreement that will cover all types of lobbying activities. It is very important for the European Parliament that the rules cover indirect foreign influence. In plain terms, we can no longer allow third country actors to operate under the thin veil of private sector representatives”, said EP negotiator Katarina Barley (S&D, DE).
EP negotiator Danuta Hübner (EPP, PL) stated that “good progress has been made on a number of fronts, including on the overall structure of the agreement. It is necessary for the institutions to be on an equal footing for the Transparency Register to function effectively. We have to ensure that all elements, from the activities that necessitate registration, to the joint governance structure, respect the specific nature of all three institutions. As I have mentioned before, transparency ensures that citizens know what is happening in the EU's decision-making process, and that they continue to trust our work”.
The negotiators also took positive note of the progress achieved at technical level on the question of how to strengthen the existing Transparency Register’s governance and resources, whilst ensuring that all institutions will be on an equal footing through a joint operational structure while also taking into account their specificities. This first exchange of views has yielded some common ground - although the discussion will continue.
The three institutions reiterated their common ambition to reach an agreement on this important file as soon as possible, with the objective to establish in practice a common culture of transparent and ethical interactions with interest representatives, delivering the transparency expected by EU citizens. As part of the ongoing negotiations, technical discussions, including on the question of conditionality, will take place in the coming weeks.
The European Commission presented its proposal for a new inter-institutional agreement on a mandatory Transparency Register for interest representatives 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 transparent and ethical interactions between interest representatives and the three institutions participating in the new scheme. Since 2011, the Parliament and the Commission 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.
More information on the Transparency Register negotiations can be found on the dedicated EP webpage.