On 13 February 2019, negotiators from the three EU institutions agreed to continue their discussions on moving towards a joint mandatory Transparency Register.
EP negotiators, Vice-President Sylvie Guillaume and Chair of the Constitutional Affairs Committee Danuta Hübner, together with the Minister Delegate for European Affairs for the Romanian Presidency of the Council George Ciamba and Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans held a third political meeting to discuss the Commission’s Proposal for an Inter-institutional Agreement on a mandatory Transparency Register.
The three institutions have been exploring ways to make interactions with interest representatives conditional upon their prior registration in the Transparency Register, in order to make registration de facto mandatory for lobbyists. Although the approaches still differ from one institution to the other, the three institutions took stock of the developments in each of them regarding the future establishment of a joint Register. They reiterated their common ambition to reach a meaningful improvement on the status quo and agreed to continue discussions.
On behalf of the Romanian Presidency of the Council, Minister Ciamba expressed his satisfaction on the agreement to continue negotiations, as well as the Presidency’s readiness for a sincere and constructive cooperation with the Parliament and the Commission. “Our discussion today will pave the way – hopefully – for a swift progress on this important political dossier. The objective of the negotiations should be to establish fully transparent interactions with interest representatives, taking into account the specific nature of each institution, in the interest of European citizens. We are fully committed to continuing the negotiations in a constructive and flexible manner, to obtain practical, pragmatic and legally sound solutions.”
Recently, the Parliament and the Council took steps to foster a stronger culture of transparency relating to their interactions with the interest representatives and the three institutions will continue working in this direction.
The negotiators agreed to continue discussions on the technical aspects of the package of instruments regarding the Transparency Register, in order to achieve a political agreement between the three institutions as soon as possible.
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 by making meetings with lobbyist conditional on them being registered.
Since 2011, the Parliament and the Commission have jointly operated a public register for interest representatives. The Council has been an observer to the current scheme since 2014.
On 15 June 2017, the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament approved the Parliament’s negotiating mandate and made it public.
The Council adopted its negotiating mandate on 6 December 2017, and also decided to make it public.
Two informal tripartite political meetings were held in 2017 ahead of the Transparency Register negotiations during the term of the Estonian Presidency. The three institutions held two negotiating rounds in 2018 under the Bulgarian Presidency and one in 2019 under the Romanian Presidency.