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OpinionEU parliament boycotts transparency check

14.04.14 @ 14:30

When the European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs committee voted on changes to the EU lobby register (18 March), it explicitly noted its support for transparency NGOs. "The European Parliament … welcomes and ...

EU commission pressured to release graft inquiry documents

11.04.14 @ 16:46

Pressure is mounting on the European Commission to release documents in a graft scandal that saw a commissioner for health lose his job. “The commission’s arguments for refusing to give access are not convincing,” said ...

AgendaCorporate governance on the agenda this WEEK

07.04.14 @ 09:33

New legislation on the rights of shareholders and corporate governance is set to top the agenda of a quiet week for the EU's institutions. On Wednesday (9 April) the European Commission will table plans to re-write the ...

MEPs accuse commission of blocking EU statistics 'whistleblower'

07.04.14 @ 09:25

Talks aimed at increasing transparency on EU statistical output have collapsed after the European Commission refused to apply the rules it demands of national statistical offices to its own statistical agency. Lawmakers ...

InvestigationSecret EU lawmaking: the triumph of the trialogue

04.04.14 @ 09:29

The setting could not be less spectacular – one of the more nondescript rooms in the European Parliament's glass towers overlooking Place Luxembourg in Brussels, where a handful of officials gather with armfuls of ...

EU ombudsman calls for independent watchdog on 'revolving doors'

19.03.14 @ 10:11

Decisions on whether EU officials taking lobbying jobs dealing with issues they had previously worked on could in future be made by a new independent body, European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly told MEPs on Tuesday (18 ...

Transparency group pushes for stronger whistleblower laws

07.03.14 @ 09:28

The harsh treatment of people who expose corruption is a deterrent for others to step forward, says Transparency International (TI). Dalia Budreviciene, a celebrated whistleblower in Lithuania, has become a warning for ...

EU ElectionsPublic disclosure unkind to Swedish nationalists

27.02.14 @ 09:32

The presence of a populist, nationalist party in their midst has belatedly convinced Swedish political parties to legislate for compulsory disclosure of party contributions. From 1 April this year, all political parties ...

MEPs boost transparency in committee votes

27.02.14 @ 09:22

A large majority of MEPs on Wednesday (26 February) in Strasbourg agreed to increase transparency in the committee level decision-making process. With more and more critical votes on draft laws taken at the committee ...

A long way to go for effective EU lobby regulation

18.02.14 @ 20:27

The European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee discussed the final agreement on the review of the EU's lobby register (the “Transparency Register”) last week (11 February). Over the past year, we at ...

Transparency Register: keep it voluntary, add incentives

18.02.14 @ 20:27

The Society of European Affairs Professionals, SEAP, broadly welcomes the clarifications and changes proposed to the Transparency Register by the joint working group of the Commission & European Parliament. There are ...

Transparent advocacy leads to better legislation

18.02.14 @ 20:27

Political advocacy, or lobbying if you like, is of paramount importance to ensuring that political decision-makers understand the implications of the legislation they adopt. The EU’s political system is a very open one ...

Debate on EU Transparency Register overlooks citizens' right to know

18.02.14 @ 20:26

The debate on the future of the EU's Transparency Register has to date focused on the dichotomy between mandatory and voluntary lobby registers, and the extent to which lobbyists should be required to disclose ...

OverviewA window to EU lobbying and lobbyists

18.02.14 @ 20:25

The EU transparency register for the European Parliament and the European Commission was launched in the summer of 2011 to better expose outside influence on EU law and decision-making. With around 6,000 organisations ...

MEPs push for mandatory transparency register proposal by 2016

12.02.14 @ 11:49

A handful of euro-deputies working on the joint transparency register want the European Commission to propose making it mandatory in 2016. The MEPs, representing all the political groups on Tuesday (11 February), backed ...

MEP transparency vote delayed 'until further notice'

06.02.14 @ 17:55

The two largest political groups in the European Parliament are currently blocking a rule that would increase voting transparency at the committee level. Both the centre-right EPP and the centre-left S&D groups on ...

OpinionTime for action on financial transparency

05.02.14 @ 09:09

On 13 February the European Parliament will have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to vote for legislative revisions to the current EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD). If implemented correctly, a revised AMLD could ...

EU commission freezes US talks on company protection

21.01.14 @ 21:30

The European Commission has halted EU-US trade talks related to legal protection for companies and launched a three-month public consultation on the matter. Negotiations between EU and US trade officials began last ...

No conflict of interest at EU food agency, director says

21.01.14 @ 10:16

The head of the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa), Bernhard Url, has rebuffed allegations that his staff is too close to industry. Speaking to MEPs in the budgetary control committee on Monday (20 January), he said ...

Tobacco lawyer steps down from EU ethics panel

23.12.13 @ 09:08

A corporate lawyer with Big Tobacco clients stepped down as head of the European Commission’s ad hoc ethics committee last week, but he says it has nothing to do with conflict of interest. “I had informed the commission ...

OpinionEU and US both threatened by secret trade talks

16.12.13 @ 09:06

Negotiations between the United States and European Union for a free trade agreement, which resume this week in Washington, represent one of the biggest threats we have seen in our lifetimes to progress towards our ...

Mandatory lobby register requires EU treaty change

14.12.13 @ 08:08

A treaty change or a unanimous decision from member states is needed to make the EU-joint transparency register mandatory. “To get a legal base, we need a treaty change,” German centre-right MEP Rainer Wieland, told ...

Austria and Luxembourg accused of undermining EU credibility

10.12.13 @ 20:15

Luxembourg and Austria came under attack on Tuesday (10 December) after the two countries stood firm and blocked plans to increase transparency in tax reporting. At a meeting of finance ministers in Brussels, the final ...

EU transparency register nears 6,000 entrants

02.12.13 @ 09:29

The EU joint transparency register is soon to hit 6,000 entrants, although some of the most powerful and lobby-intensive US law firms are still missing. The European Commission and the European Parliament, who jointly ...

Brussels nervous on public reaction to EU-US trade talks

27.11.13 @ 09:27

The European Commission last week discussed with member states how best to go about communicating a EU-US trade deal to the public and national media. The meeting took place on Friday (22 November) and was attended by ...

Belgian MEP blames assistant for industry-scripted amendments

22.11.13 @ 17:39

Louis Michel, a top Belgian liberal MEP, took off to Mali on Friday (22 November) amid a media storm that his office copy-pasted over 150 business-friendly amendments to the EU data protection bill. Michel is said to ...

Corporate interest dominates EU 'expert groups,' transparency NGO says

06.11.13 @ 19:45

People with close connections to top banks implicated in the financial crisis are said to have helped steer the European Commission’s response to the economic meltdown. “One of the key responses to the crisis, key ...

Troika officials admit errors, as criticism mounts

06.11.13 @ 09:20

When Klaus Masuch and Servaas Deroose walked into the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday (5 November), they must have been relieved to be facing MEPs rather than angry Greek protesters on the streets of Athens. ...

Poor protection of whistleblowers in most EU states

05.11.13 @ 12:54

The vast majority of EU member states have either partial or no laws to protect whistleblowers, says a new report by anti-corruption NGO Transparency International. According to the study, published Tuesday (5 November ...

OpinionCrunch time for EU lobby register

04.11.13 @ 16:27

The EU lobby register is currently being reviewed and transparency campaigners are demanding that MEPs and the European Commission shine a spotlight on Brussels' secret lobbyists. It's more than two years since the ...

EU multinationals scamming Africa out of billions, Tanzanian MP says

31.10.13 @ 09:23

Tax avoidance loopholes for EU-based multinationals introduced by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are said to be costing African countries double the amount they receive in foreign aid. “It is ...

EU-wide whistleblower protection law rejected

23.10.13 @ 18:09

The European Commission has rejected a request by MEPs to introduce EU whistleblower protection laws before the end of year. Deputies in Strasbourg voted through a crime report on Wednesday (23 October) to ensure, among ...

Transparency ruling challenges EU states

22.10.13 @ 08:54

Europe’s top court has ruled against member states wanting to withhold information on the EU legislative process in what is said to be a landmark case for greater transparency. People requesting documents from the ...

Interview'If it's public money, it has to be visible'

21.10.13 @ 07:49

The EU's brand new ombudsman is planning a strategic shake up of the office taking it away from being a "dumping ground" for EU staff disputes to becoming a force for good governance in an EU capital awash with ...

OpinionAll eyes on the integrity of the 2014 European elections

17.10.13 @ 09:02

This week, EUobserver and others reported that Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats recently received almost €700,000 in donations from major shareholders of German car company BMW. In the absence of upper limits for ...

OpinionHave some faith in our politicians

14.10.13 @ 15:33

It is no secret that there is a big divide between EU decision-makers and the public. This divide risks widening further by misinformed theories on how powerful lobbyists have replaced elected politicians in deciding EU ...

Tobacco giant spent up to €1.25mn on EU lobbying in 2012

03.10.13 @ 19:00

Tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) was said to have spent €1.5 million on lunches and dinners in an effort to woo MEPs into weakening the revised EU legislation on tobacco products up for a vote at the next ...

Snowden among nominees for EU prize

17.09.13 @ 09:26

US whistleblower Edward Snowden is among the seven nominees for the European Parliament's Sakharov prize for freedom of thought. Nominated by Greens and leftists in the European Parliament, Snowden is a former ...

Oil giant defends its EU lobby transparency

12.07.13 @ 09:15

Oil giant BP denies allegations it is under-reporting its lobbying efforts in Brussels. A spokesperson for the oil giant told this website on Thursday (11 July) that it is completely transparent. “We report our direct ...

OpinionNew EU staff rules stricter on revolving-door policy

12.07.13 @ 07:43

Last week saw the European Parliament passed new EU staff regulations, the rules that govern the 30,000 plus staff working in the EU institutions. The dossier has been fraught with difficulties and delays, with pressure ...

EU transparency register riddled with errors

20.06.13 @ 09:37

Incomplete listings and false information by lobbyists in the EU's joint transparency register are among some of the latest findings in a report by transparency group Alter-EU. Published on Thursday (20 June), the ...

Oil and gas giants forced to publish payments under new rules

12.06.13 @ 19:01

Oil and gas giants will be required to publish all payments they make to governments, under EU transparency rules backed on Wednesday by the European Parliament. The reforms, which are included in the EU's Accounting ...

New EU rules to stop banks rigging benchmarks

07.06.13 @ 09:29

Banks should publicly detail how and why they set financial sector benchmarks, according to new rules on rate-setting published by EU regulators Thursday (6 June). The regime, prepared by the European Securities and ...

AnalysisListening to Britain on EU reform

03.06.13 @ 18:29

'Listening' was the watchword of William Hague's speech at the Koenigswinter conference last Friday, an understated - and welcome - approach after the fire and brimstone that has dominated recent debate on the UK's ...

Retiring ombudsman wants more transparent EU

27.05.13 @ 22:15

Retiring EU ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros says he has witnessed the slow erosion of a dominating culture of secrecy among the EU civil services. “[But] this in no way suggests that I am content and satisfied,” the 70 ...

Charity attacks EU "hypocrisy" on tax evasion

22.05.13 @ 09:29

EU leaders have been put on the defensive after development charity Oxfam accused them of turning a blind eye to €9.5 trillion hidden in European tax havens. Oxfam, which lambasted what it described as EU "hypocrisy" ...

British PM tries to break deadlock on tax havens

21.05.13 @ 09:36

EU leaders will make another bid to agree rules on tax evasion after UK Prime Minister David Cameron called on 10 British tax havens to "get their house in order" on secret bank accounts. In a letter released Monday (20 ...

EU finance ministers draw blank on new tax law

15.05.13 @ 10:01

Austria and Luxembourg have blocked an EU deal to increase tax transparency. Their finance ministers dug in their heels at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday (14 May) despite pressure from major EU states. Speaking to ...

UK deal on Caribbean tax havens boosts prospect of EU-wide crackdown

02.05.13 @ 09:29

British tax havens in the Caribbean have agreed to provide information on offshore bank accounts (2 May), in a step which increases the prospect of an EU-wide agreement on information exchange on overseas accounts used ...

EU seeks quick deal on tax transparency

25.04.13 @ 09:51

The EU is hoping to reach agreement on automatic exchange of data on overseas bank accounts, according to a letter sent to national capitals on Wednesday (24 April). A letter from Irish finance minister Michael Noonan ...