Giegold report adopted: ITCO marches forward
On September 14th 2017, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Transparency report from the constitutional affairs committee, rapporteur Sven Giegold. The report calls for making the lobbyregister as transparent as possible and expects a higher standard of integrity for lobbyists. The integrity on the part of the EU institutions was also addressed: the report called for a code of conduct of the Council, a more balanced composition of expert groups advising the commission, extension of the ‘cool down period’ for ex-Commissioners to prevent a revolving door circus.
In response to the adoption of the report, Ms. Macovei, member of ITCO Bureau, underlined the importance of accountability, integrity and transparency by the European Parliament. In her vote-explanation she called for a mandatory lobbyregister, so that Parliament will work for its citizens, not business or special interests.
The majority that voted in favour consisted of a fairly broad coalition, with 368 MEPs voting in favour to 161 MEPs voting against, with 60 abstentions. In the runup to the voting, ITCO called for support for amendments that would improve the report and ITCO Co-President Dennis de Jong made an appeal to his colleagues to vote in favour of the report.
Parliamentary shenanigans have dogged this report, as it has been prepared for a long time already. It was held ‘in limbo’ and not put on the agenda of the European Parliament until the chairs of the political groups agreed. Last-minute amendments have attempted to put stringent measures on NGO’s for ‘not being in line with EU policy’, that were not in the scope of this report. These have been voted down.
The European Commission will have to look at turning the report into sound legislation, which will then come back to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union for a vote.