Saturday

26th May 2018

MPs demand Council become more transparent

  • Centeno (l) will receive a set of recommendations on how to improve transparency (Photo: Council of the EU)

Three Dutch MPs will demand more transparency from the Council of the EU – where national governments meet – on Monday (19 February), on behalf of 26 European chambers of parliament.

They will present Mario Centeno, head of the Eurogroup, with a set of recommendations encased in glass – symbolising that they feel the council should move from being a 'black box' to a glass box.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Tusk did not have time, but Centeno did," said centre-right Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt when EUobserver asked why the recommendations were not presented to the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk.

Tusk is likely to be busy with the preparations of Friday's summit.

As leader of the informal body of eurozone finance ministers, Centeno is an important figure.

"The Eurogroup is the most opaque of them all," said Omtzigt, who co-authored the paper Opening up closed doors: Making the EU more transparent for its citizens.

The paper lists four recommendations: systematically publishing documents related to legislative deliberations; adopting more specific, detailed rules on those deliberations; formalising informal bodies like the Eurogroup; and reopening talks on the EU's access to documents regulation.

"Transparency is essential to making democracy meaningful. Without transparency, there can be no public space in which citizens, stakeholders and media can deliberate and thus participate in decision-making," the paper said.

"Members of national parliaments have insufficient access to documents and voting records, including informal voting records, to be able to oversee and scrutinize their governments' actions," it added.

Omtzigt will present the recommendations to Centeno with two fellow Dutch MPs – left-wing Renske Leijten and Martin van Rooijen of a senior citizens' party.

The recommendations were laid out in a letter signed on behalf of 26 national parliaments from 20 member states – there are some 41 houses of parliament in the 28 EU member states, since several have bicameral systems.

Support came from all corners of the EU, including some founding member states, as well as central eastern European countries that joined more recently.

Omtzigt noted that if member states were missing it was more because MPs did not have the mandate to commit support, or he had been unable to meet with them.

The Dutch MP had organised the support among members from the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (Cosac).

Time is up

His colleague Leijten said in a press release that it was the first time that national parliaments worked together like this to try and push the council for more transparency.

"The time that the council can ignore its own transparency rules is over," she declared.

Her parliament's attorney last year declared that the council's practice of making documents confidential by default was unlawful.

"The national parliaments are now very clearly demanding more transparency," Leijten added.

The meeting in Brussels with Centeno comes just six days after the European Ombudsman called on the council to increase transparency.

"Her recommendations were exactly in line with what we wanted," said MP Omtzigt.

EU ombudsman asks Tusk for more transparency

Emily O'Reilly wants the European Council president to ask the council to join the transparency register, publish information on meetings with lobbyists and publish more notes on the EU leaders' work.

Visual Data

EU budget: Biggest cuts and increases

The European Parliament accused the EU Commission of not providing clear figures for a comparison of the proposed and the current EU budgets. We take a look at the main differences.

Opinion

EU budget must not fortify Europe at expense of peace

Given the European Commission new budget's heavy focus on migration, border management and security, many are asking whether the proposal will fortify Europe at the expense of its peace commitments.

Opinion

Europe's budget stasis

The EU's budgetary muddling through might not be enough when the next crisis hits.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  2. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  5. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  6. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  8. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  9. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  10. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  11. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  12. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations