The European Parliament showed their belief in the importance of stricter and clearer transparency standards. With 368 votes for, 161 against and 60 abstentions, the MEPs approved a report by Sven Giegold (Greens, DE), which notes that more efforts are needed to make trade negotiations more transparent.
The MEPs called for a more robust transparency register of interest groups and representatives, which they believe should be mandatory. Financing, support and the clients of these organisations should be declared on a yearly basis.
MEPs are asked to only meet with interest group representatives once they are officially registered, or to ask them to register. In turn, they called on the Council to adopt similar rules.
Giegold’s report also supports rapporteurs, shadow rapporteurs and committee chairs to declare their meetings with interest groups representatives for the dossiers which they are in charge of.
“The European Parliament made a big leap forward to address the feeling of too much collusion of politics and big business,” said Giegold. “The long struggle for more transparency and stronger ethics rules has paid off and allows confidence in the EU institutions to rise. By implementing our demands, the EU institutions can now become the pioneer in lobbying transparency.”
In reaction to President Juncker’s proposal for a revision of the Code of Conduct and with regard to the Commission’s Ethics Committee, he added: “The Commission’s ethics committee was rebranded as ‘independent’. MEPs will not accept the Commission’s fraudulent labelling. The Commission has to stop hand-picking its own Ethics Committee if it is ever supposed to become credible, and to sanction those who breach the Code of Conduct.”