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Big win for civil society as EU Parliament adopts historic lobby transparency rules

Big win for civil society as EU Parliament adopts historic lobby transparency rules

31-01-2019

Press Release
31/01/19
Cologne, Germany

Big win for civil society as European Parliament adopts historic lobby transparency rules

On January 31st 2019, the European Parliament voted to oblige Members of European Parliament (MEPs) in special positions to publicly disclose meetings with lobbyists for the first time ever. 

Democracy International launched an email drive for citizens to email their MEPs and encourage them to vote in favour of the amendment. “Huge efforts were made by civil society to make citizens aware of the upcoming critical vote and motivate them to take action. The wave of citizens that took part in our email drives and petitions over the last few days speaks for itself,” said Daniela Vancic, Democracy International’s European Programme Manager. 61,663 emails were sent to targeted MEPs using Democracy International’s tool, with 1,316 citizens taking part across 24 Member States. Our campaign partners, Lobby Control launched an email drive aimed at German MEPs, and WeMove.EU launched an open letter signed by over 90,000 citizens. 

“The European Parliament’s new transparency rule is a major step forward for European Democracy. In the future, citizens will have clarity about the influence of lobbying on laws… Again, the European Parliament is a leader in transparency. National parliaments should follow this good example,” MEP Sven Giegold, rapporteur for transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions wrote in his blog today. Giegold has for years been a strong advocate for stricter lobbying rules. 

The vote today was a critical step in giving the European Commission the green light to continue interinstitutional negotiations on transparency reform that began in early 2018. The Commission has frozen talks late 2018 on transparency to put pressure on the European Parliament to improve the rules within its own house. For the first time ever, the question of transparency rules for the European Council could be raised at the highest political level if negotiations reopen. 

Amendment 20.3 to the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure of MEP Richard Corbett’s report required rapporteurs, shadow rapporteurs and committee chairs of the European Parliament to publish meetings with special interest representatives online. An absolute majority of 376 was required, and the vote passed with 380 in favour, 224 against, and 26 abstentions. The European People’s Party triggered a rarely-used and unprecedented parliamentary rule to vote in secret.

References: 
•    Democracy International’s email drive
•    Lobby Control’s email drive
•    WeMove.EU’s petition
•    Corbett’s report on amendments to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure

 

For more information, please contact
Daniela Vancic, vancic@democracy-international.org, +49 2203 1802881

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