Tuesday

5th Jul 2022

EU lawyers support mandatory lobby register

  • Lobbyists in Brussels back plans to create a mandatory lobbying register (Photo: The European Union)

A top EU bar association wants a mandatory lobbying register imposed in Brussels that includes lawyers.

"We believe it would be better if the EU moves to a mandatory system with ideally, a proper legal basis," Simone Cuomo, spokesperson at the Brussels-based Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) told this website on Monday (6 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The move marks a possible big leap given past reluctance by lawyers to disclose their client lists to the general public. Cuomo said such disclosures would still require client consent.

The EU's current lobby register is voluntary and is shared jointly by the European Commission and the European Parliament. The two institutions also oversee the register.

But Cuomo says the register should be controlled by an independent body and not one that is both the "party and judge". He noted lawyers are often in court against the EU institutions.

"You just won a case and the Commission was an opponent and two weeks later you get a nice letter saying that you are not following the rules in the transparency register. There might be a direct link," he said.

CCBE, he said, also backs imposing sanctions for those who break the rules but only if the body is independent.

Similar registers in Canada and the US include lawyers. While in Europe, few aside lawyers from the UK and Ireland have backed a mandatory register.

"The French and the Belgian lawyers have actually come around on this," said Daniel Freund, at the Transparency International (TI) office in Brussels.

"The only ones blocking it at this point are the politicians," he noted.

Other big lobbying groups based in Brussels also support setting up a mandatory register.

The Society of European Affairs Professionals (SEAP) and the European Public Affairs Consultancies' Association (EPACA) want it.

In a joint letter signed by TI among others, the lobbyist groups says "it’s time for a robust and credible transparency regime".

The EU commission, for its part, is to propose an inter-institutional agreement on a mandatory register sometime near the end of the year. The proposal will also include bringing the Council, representing member states, into the joint register.

Opinion

Lobbying transparency enhances MEPs' freedom

At a time when citizens expect an unprecedented level of accountability from their elected representatives, senior MEPs use their ‘free mandate’ to justify opposing new lobbying transparency rules.

MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship

Two MEPs have withdrawn their nominations from the MEPs Awards over the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis's participation as a sponsor — currently involved in an alleged bribery scandal in Greece.

Opinion

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

News in Brief

  1. EU Commission told to step up fight against CAP fraud
  2. Ukraine needs €719bn to rebuild, says PM
  3. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991
  4. Pilots from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden strike
  5. Report: EU to sign hydrogen deal with Namibia
  6. Israel and Poland to mend relations
  7. Von der Leyen: EU to set up Ukraine reconstruction platform
  8. Three killed in Copenhagen shopping mall shooting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  2. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change
  3. The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark
  4. Report slams German opposition to new child sexual abuse rules
  5. Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds
  6. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying
  7. Ex-Frontex chief 'uninvited' from parliament committee
  8. Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us