More transparency for lobbyists in Brussels

A new step to improve transparency in the European Union. This Tuesday the European Parliament voted in favor of strengthening the voluntary Transparency Register, which aims to record the activities carried out by pressure groups or lobbies in Brussels.

For the first time, the Council will also be part of the database. In Brussels alone, there are almost 12,500 registered lobbyists. Only behind Washington, the city in the world with the most pressure groups. From NGOs like Greenpeace to large technology companies like Google, they contribute their knowledge to draw up European legislation.

According to the EU Transparency Register, these are the 10 organizations that hold the most meetings with the Commission. The main ones are employers’ associations and, specifically, technology companies: BussinessEurope, Google, Airbus, European Trade Union Confederation, DigitalEurope, Microsoft, American Chamber of Commerce to the EU, Facebook, Association des Constructeurs Européens d “Automobiles and EuroCommerce.

The European Parliament and the Commission have been recording their meetings for years. And it will continue to be the case, although the MEP in charge of the report assures that, de facto, it will be mandatory.

“We call this registration mandatory because for the first time we believe that we probably closed most of the gaps that existed and now we have more guarantees that without being registered you could not practically do your work as a pressure group“, explains Danuta Hübner, MEP of the European People’s Party.

But for Transparency International, the agreement is not enough. They ask for a mandatory registration that affects all those who participate in the legislative process.

“If we are talking about a mandatory transparency registry, it means that there is no possibility for people who are not registered to get involved with our policy makers. So it will simply mean that if you want to meet anyone, be it in the Council, Commission and Parliament who is drafting or helping to draft or helping to shape a policy that will affect 500 million people, if you know Some of those people have to be registered and all those meetings have to be published in a way that people can easily access and understand. “, asks Vitor Teixeira of Transparency International.

The main objective is for citizens to know who is behind the legislation that will end up affecting their lives.