Lobbyism and transparency in EU decision-making
Around 20,000 lobbyists work around the EU institutions in Brussels. Many of them try to influence EU legislation in favour of multinational corporations.
The European Commission and Parliament manage a register which lobbyists may sign on a voluntary basis. So far 75% of them have registered, but some of the most important lobbyists have not yet done so, among them those representing major corporations like Adidas, Porsche and the mining giant Rio Tinto.
Parliament therefore decided to try and improve the rules governing the register, so that everybody can understand which interests were taken into account when legislation is adopted.
However, the EU governments represented in the European Council have announced that they will not be participating in the register, so the governments of EU Member States can still meet companies from their countries behind closed doors.
What was the Greens' position?
Not all lobbying is necessarily harmful. The Greens, too, meet lobbyists, mostly representatives of NGOs, but also lobbyists from banks and multinational corporations. But the Greens believe that lobbying should be transparent and many Members of Parliament (MEPs) in our group make their lobbying contacts public.
We have always advocated a mandatory lobby register. Unfortunately, under the current legal framework, a mandatory register would require a treaty change, which is politically improbable.
We are also calling for an online registry of documents sent by lobbyists to MEPs, Parliament staff, and other EU officials.
Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?
A majority of MEPs supported our amendment stating that unregulated lobbying poses a threat to policy-making and often betrays the public interest.
We were pleased that this text obliges the Commission to either produce draft legislation that makes registration mandatory or specify why it cannot draw up such a proposal. This means Parliament is stepping up the pressure for a mandatory register and greater transparency in EU decision-making.
Which points did the Greens lose?
We regret that our call for the establishment of an online registry of documents sent by lobbyists to MEPs, Parliament staff, and other EU officials was rejected. Not all political groups in the European Parliament seem to be ready for full transparency.
Lead MEP:Roberto Gualtieri (S&D)
Green MEP responsible:Gerald Häfner
Staff contact:Guillaume Sellier (Email)
Outcome of the vote
Below you find the results of the final vote in plenary. How did the political groups vote? What about national delegations? And what was the position of your MEP?