Minister of State Michael Roth (Council), Vice-President Katarina Barley/MEP Hübner (European Parliament), and Vice President Věra Jourová (Commission) agreed on this today. For the first time, therefore, a requirement to register will apply to those seeking to lobby the Council.
Minister of State Roth sees this as a crucial step towards more transparency in the European Union:
Making Europe more open and transparent was, from the outset, an important goal for the German Presidency of the Council of the EU. I am therefore delighted that we concluded an agreement today which will provide the European institutions – Council, Commission and Parliament – with a completely new framework of transparency. Together, we are committed to greater transparency. And this will now become legally binding and no longer something exercised to a greater or lesser extent on a merely voluntary basis. We will thus help to strengthen citizens’ confidence in the European Union. This is a contribution towards even more democracy in Europe!
Lobbyists have to fulfil certain conditions in order to register. Among other things, they have to follow a code of conduct.
The Council, European Parliament and Commission are now called upon to implement the provisions of this agreement with the aim of contributing to “a high standard of transparent and ethical interest representation”. To this end, the three institutions committed to greater transparency in the European Union in a joint statement.
Furthermore, the European Union member states themselves have undertaken to adopt a practice before and during their Presidency of the Council of the EU which has already been deployed during some member states’ Presidencies: meetings of lobbyists with permanent representatives and their deputies can only take place if the lobbyists have already signed up to the Transparency Register. Six months before the start of its Presidency, Germany made a voluntary commitment on this as well as on declaring meetings with the German permanent representative and his deputy.
Germany has been calling for greater transparency since the start of its Presidency. Already in July 2020, the Permanent Representatives Committee adopted a decision on more legislative transparency in the Council. On this basis, the German Presidency has published numerous Council documents, provided information on the work done in the Council’s bodies and has also made ministerial meetings accessible via live-stream, including meetings which it is not legally required to stream.