TI Study: only half the European Parliament publishes their meetings with lobbyists
The anti-corruption NGO Transparency International published a study on lobby meetings of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Key findings are:
- More than half of all MEPs did not publish at least one lobby meeting per year between July 2019 and June 2022
- While Greens/EFA MEPs on average publish most lobby meetings (112), other groups lag behind: Christian Democrats (EPP) publish only a quarter as much (27), the liberal Renew group (61). The right-wing extremist groups hardly publish any meetings (ECR group 7, ID group 3). Social-Democrats (50) and the Left (33) rank between Liberals and Christian-Democrats.
- While MEPs from Nordic countries are very transparent about lobby meetings (at least 1 meeting per year published by 100% of the Luxembourgish, 95% Swedish, 93% Danish and Finnish, 76% German), the MEPs of Eastern and Southern countries are publishing significantly fewer meetings (10% Greek, 17% Cypriot, 25% Latvians).
- The European Parliament’s rules oblige all MEPs to publish their lobby meetings on draft laws. This rule is currently not enforced.
MEP Daniel Freund (Greens/EFA), rapporteur for an independent EU Ethics Body, comments:
“The influence of lobbyists on European legislation must be transparent. Lawmakers in the European Parliament must publish their meetings with lobbyists. These numbers illustrate clearly that there are still too many MEPs who might be hiding meetings with lobbyists. Lobby transparency and rules against conflicts of interest should be controlled by an independent EU Ethics Body. Greek, Baltic and Polish EU citizens also deserve to know which lobbyists their representatives in the European Parliament meet.
Already now, political groups and the European Parliament’s administration can do more to remind MEPs to follow basic transparency requirements. Parliament also can do much better in making the data accessible to citizens and connect them with other data in the EU Transparency Register for lobbyists and the overview of draft laws in the legislative process.
The study by Transparency International of 5.12.2022: https://transparency.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/MEP_lobby_brief_2022.pdf
The lobby meetings of Daniel Freund: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/106936/DANIEL_FREUND/meetings/past#detailedcardmep
Parliament’s position for an EU Ethics Body: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2021-0396_EN.html
The resolution was adopted on 16 September 2021 with 377 votes in favour, 87 MEPs voted against, with 224 abstentions. Greens/EFA, Socialists, Liberals (Renew) and Left voted in favour. The Christian Democrats decided to abstain shortly before the German federal election, instead of rejecting the draft as they had previously done in the vote in the Constitutional Affairs Committee.
“The European Parliament…
- Considers that the new EU ethics body should be delegated a list of agreed tasks to propose and advise on ethical rules for Commissioners, Members of the European Parliament and staff of the participating institutions before, during and in some cases after their term of office or service in line with the applicable rules, including:
(a) the Statute for Members of the European Parliament (Articles 2 and 3),
(b) Parliament’s Rules of Procedure (Rules 2, 10 (5, 6 and 7) and 11, 176(1), Annex I (Articles 1 to 8), and Annex II),
(c) the Commission’s Rules of Procedure (Article 9), its Code of Conduct (Articles 2 to 13 and Annex II), and its Decision of 25 November 2014 on the publication of information on meetings held between members of the Commission and organisations or self-employed individuals, and the same decision for its Directors-General,
(d) the Staff Regulations’ Articles 11, 11(a), 12, 12(a), 12(b), 13, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21(a), 22, 22(a), 22(c), 24, 26, 27, 40, 43, 86, 90, 91a and Annex IX, applying mutatis mutandis to all staff employed by the agencies if signatories of the IIA,
(e) the IIA on a mandatory Transparency Register;”
European Parliament’s Rules of Procedure
Rule 11 : Members’ financial interests and Transparency register
“(3) Members should publish online all scheduled meetings with interest representatives falling under the scope of the Transparency register. Without prejudice to Article 4(6) of Annex I, rapporteurs, shadow rapporteurs and committee chairs shall, for each report, publish online all scheduled meetings with interest representatives falling under the scope of the Transparency register. The Bureau shall provide for necessary infrastructure on Parliament’s website.”