On 7 December, Parliament, Council and Commission negotiators approved provisionally a compromise package on the conditionality principle.
The negotiators of the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission reached a compromise on how the Transparency Register will become de facto mandatory. This key remaining issue, i.e., the conditionality principle, will make registration a necessary precondition for interest representatives to carry out certain activities. The negotiators, European Parliament’s Vice-President Katarina Barley and Member of the Constitutional Affairs Committee Danuta Hübner, German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth for the Presidency of the Council, and Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová, confirmed that the provisional draft is fully aligned with the commitments expressed at their previous meetings.
The agreed terms introduce conditionality and complementary transparency measures for the signatory institutions, while taking into account their respective specificities. The three institutions are committed to ensuring that their respective measures will be consistent with the common objectives identified in the agreement and will deliver an equivalent effect across the board. The three institutions also reaffirmed their willingness to build a common culture of transparency.
Moving forward, the annual report on the functioning of the Transparency Register will include a new chapter, addressing the implementation of conditionality and complementary transparency measures. An efficient review mechanism will then allow the institutions to assess implementation regularly, with the possibility of making appropriate recommendations on further improvement.
EP negotiator Katarina Barley (S&D, DE) said: “We have established a strong framework of conditionality and equivalent transparency measures. I am confident that, once approved, this agreement will enable the Transparency Register to fulfil its potential. In the absence of a joint instrument, Parliament had already unilaterally shown its commitment to delivering on transparency, but we are now taking a step in the right direction by establishing a common structure between the three institutions.”
EP negotiator Danuta Hübner (EPP, PL) said: “I am delighted that we reached an agreement, especially that the Council and the member states will form part of our joint Transparency Register moving forward, We have safeguarded the freedom of mandate for MEPs, while putting in place terms for an instrument that will be truly effective. This agreement will become the foundation for a Transparency Register that will be procedurally stronger, better equipped to perform its mission, and fully in line with the needs of each signatory institution.”
The provisional compromise package on conditionality agreed between the negotiators will allow for the finalisation of an overall draft agreement, subject to adoption in accordance with each institution's internal procedures. The negotiators are committed to reach the final agreement before the end of the year.
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 in 2016. Since 2011, the Parliament and the Commission have jointly operated a public register for interest representatives aiming to make the EU decision-making process more transparent and accountable. The Council has been an observer to the current scheme since 2014.
This was the seventh political meeting on the subject and the fourth since they resumed in the 9th parliamentary term (on 16 June, 6 October and 24 November 2020) with a renewed team of negotiators, reflecting the current setup of the institutions. More information on the Transparency Register negotiations can be found on the dedicated EP webpage.