“Hugely disappointing”. Molto insoddisfacente. Così Alter-Eu (una coalizione di oltre 200 tra enti No Profit, sindacati, think tanks e studiosi che si battono per la trasparenza del lobbying – Qui il loro sito) ha bollato i risultati del lavoro svolto dal gruppo di studio guidato dal Commissario Sefcovic, incaricato di indicare le modifiche da apportare al registro dei lobbisti in Europa.

Anzi, a dirla tutta Alter-Eu parla, in generale, di totale assenza di “good progress“. E, precisamente, di molti “no progress made” e qualche, sparuto, “some improvement, more to do“. Qui di seguito trovate i giudizi espressi da Alter-Eu (in inglese). Nella prima colonna c’è la richiesta che aveva fatto Alter-Eu, nella seconda c’è la decisione del gruppo di lavoro. Nella terza e quarta il verdetto dato da Alter-Eu e il punteggio totalizzato.

NB. Nella colonna centrale si fa spesso riferimento a brani di una lettera scritta dal Chairman del gruppo di studio, l’eurodeputato Rainer Wieland, inviata a Martin Schultz, Presidente del Parlamento Ue. Si tratta di una lettera riservata, finita in mano alla stampa, che secondo quelli di Alter Eu dice molto di più rispetto ai documenti ufficiali. Per questo viene presa a metro di paragone.

 

ALTER-EU demand

What the working group recommended

ALTER-EU verdict

Score

1

Mandatory lobby register: timetable announced for transition to new register by 31.12.2014 Wieland’s letter to Schultz says “European Parliament [should] strongly formulate the expectation that the Commission should promote a political action aimed at the creation of a new legal basis … for the introduction of a mandatory register. In case the Commission fails to reach this goal, the EP resolution should call on it to submit, by the end of 2016, a proposal for the introduction of a compulsory register based on the currently existing legal basis.

Parliament has reiterated its strong support for a mandatory register and demanded action from the Commission.

Slow improvement, more to do

It is clear that the Commission continues to block the proposal for a mandatory register and has made no firm commitment in this area.

No progress made 

2

Incentives for registration:Commission to refuse to meet unregistered lobbyists; unregistered cannot sit on expert groups; EU decision-makers do not speak at events organised by unregistered; unregistered cannot hold events in EU premises

Wieland’s letter to Schultz says: “For Parliament, such incentive measures could include, inter alia, linking the registration to: further facilitation of access to EP premises, its Members and staff; authorisation to organise or co-host events on its premises; facilitated transmission of information, including specific mailing lists; participation as speakers in committee hearings; patronage by the institution.

For the Parliament, some incentives are proposed although they are vague. However, if implemented, they would represent a step forward.

Slow improvement, more to do

The draft IIA says: “For the Commission these could include measures with regard to the transmission of information to registrants when launching public consultations, measures on expert groups and other advisory bodies, specific mailing lists or patronage by the institution.

For the Commission, some incentives are mentioned but they are far too vague and the Commission has made no firm commitment. In particular, the
Commission should refuse to meet with unregistered lobbyists and not allow them to sit on expert groups.

Slow progress,
more to do

3

Tough action to tackle non- compliance by law firms: compulsory registration; no special treatment; obligation to disclose client list

The Wieland letter to Schulz says:
“... potential incompatibilities with national legislations on confidentiality rules covering certain regulated professions (i.e. lawyers) need to be approached, taking into account that the Working Group has welcomed a transitional solution proposed by the Chair which needs further examination.

There is no new tough action proposed to tackle law firms’ virtual boycott of the register, although it is positive that earlier proposals to allow exemptions for law firms to disclose client lists have, so far, been rejected. It is not clear what the “transitional solution” mentioned is, but Parliament and the Commission should never introduce exemptions for law firms.

No progress made

4

Improved lobbyists’ code of conduct: clarity over terms such as “inappropriate behaviour”; ban on lobbyists contracting and / or paying MEPs and assistants

Parliament’s committee on constitutional affairs (AFCO) will be asked to further revise elements of code of conduct, including to develop a definition of “inappropriate behaviour”.

No positive changes to the draft code of conduct.

The review group should have explicitly banned funding of MEPs and their offices by external sources and developed a definition of “inappropriate behaviour”.

No progress made

5

Improved financial disclosure:declare per client lobby expenditure in band-widths of €10,000; declare all sources of funding and the corresponding amounts

(See Annexe 2 of draft IIA)

The IIA Annexe 2 says that NGOs, think-tanks etc should provide a “breakdown of the main amounts and sources of funding

Per client lobby expenditure band-widths have been adjusted and are now slightly narrower for smaller amounts, although they should also be far narrower for larger amounts too.

It is not clear if tiny changes to wording will mean that NGOs/ think tanks will now provide more details on their funding sources and amounts. This will need strong implementation if it is to provide useful information

Slow progress, more to do

6

Improved lobby issue disclosure: declare precise information on key legislative proposals worked on

The IIA Annexe 2 says “concrete details and information should be provided on the main legislative proposals or policies covered by activities of the registrant falling within the scope of the register

The existing IIA already asks for information on the “main legislative proposals covered”, but in practice this does not always happen.

It is not clear if tiny changes to wording will mean that information provided is accurate and complete; if so, it would be a positive step forward.

slow progress,
more to do

7

Improved staff disclosure: declare names of all staff undertaking lobby activities and revolving door history

No mention

No improvement here. The only (existing) requirement is the listing of staff with European Parliament access passes.

No progress made

8

Improved up-to-date information on fixed dates: declare lobby expenses (previous year), client lists (previous six months)

No mention

No improvement here. Only annual updates required with no fixed dates.

No progress made

9

Full transparency on all lobby work: declare law firms or lobby consultancies employed, membership of coalitions etc

The draft IIA Annexe 2 says that registrants should declare:

Membership in committees, high-level groups, consultative committees, expert groups, other EU supported structures and platforms etc … Membership or participation in European Parliament intergroups or industry forums, etc.

It is positive that registrants should now declare their links with EU institutions.

Slightly stronger language reminding registrants to declare their sub- contracted lobbying activities (to law firms, lobby consultancies) may lead to greater transparency in this area.

Slow progress, more to do

10

Proactive transparency:Commission to provide comprehensive information online about all meetings and contacts between Commissioners, officials and lobbyists

No mention

No improvement here.

No progress made
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