Wednesday

25th May 2022

EU ombudsman asks Tusk for more transparency

  • European Ombudsman O'Reilly has written to Council President Tusk, demanding an answer by March next year (Photo: European Ombudsman)

The EU ombudsman has asked European Council president Donald Tusk to publish information about his meetings with lobbyists.

That would provide citizens with "a more complete picture of who is trying to influence EU decision-making, when and how," Emily O'Reilly said on Monday (18 December).

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

In a letter to the council chief, she suggested that Tusk should only meet with representatives who are recorded in the EU transparency register, a database of organisations – companies, associations, and NGOs - attempting to influence the EU legislative process.

The register is intended to increase public trust in the EU decision-making process, and is currently in use by the European Commission and European Parliament, while the council has had observer status since 2014.

A revision of the register is expected for early 2018, after political representatives from the parliament, council and commission agreed on 12 December to begin negotiations.

As a result of that future revision process, the council is expected to join the register, and lobbyists meetings with decision-makers from the three institutions would become conditional on prior registration.

The revision was proposed by the commission in September 2016, as part of a general effort to implement institutions' commitment to transparency.

Within the commission, commissioners and their cabinets are already required to meet only registered interest representatives, and the fact of those meetings are made public.

As for the parliament, the revised European parliament rules of procedure adopted in January 2017 state that "members should adopt the systematic practice of only meeting interest representatives that have registered".

In her letter to Tusk, O'Reilly also asked him whether he could also make public the progress reports on the Leaders' Agenda - the working programme of EU heads of state and government.

"Publishing the progress reports on these discussions would allow citizens to follow European politics in real time and bring greater understanding about the role national leaders play in shaping decisions on vital issues," O'Reilly argued.

The ombudsman's letter follows similar initiatives aimed at opening up the EU decision making process to the public, such as when, in July 2016, O'Reilly called on the three institutions to publish key documents related to the trilogues - the informal negotiations on draft EU laws.

O'Reilly asked for a reply from Tusk by 1 March 2018.

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.

MPs demand Council become more transparent

Three Dutch MPs, on behalf of 26 national parliamentary chambers across the EU, are demanding more transparency. 'The Eurogroup is the most opaque of them all,' complained Dutch MP Omtzigt.

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. France 'convinced' Ukraine will join EU
  2. Von der Leyen: Russia hoarding food as 'blackmail'
  3. Legal action launched against KLM over 'greenwashing'
  4. Orbán refuses to discuss Russia oil embargo at EU summit
  5. Turkey's Erdogan snubs Greek PM
  6. ECB: Crypto may pose a risk to financial stability
  7. UK PM Johnson faces renewed questions over Covid party
  8. Sweden gives 5th Covid shot to people over 65, pregnant women

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  2. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June
  3. 'No progress in years' in Libya, says UN migration body
  4. Toxic pesticide residue in EU fruit up 53% in a decade
  5. Orbán's overtures to Moscow are distasteful and detrimental
  6. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is back
  7. EU aims to seize Russian assets amid legal unclarity
  8. Close ties with autocrats means security risk, Nato chief warns

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us