On 28th September 2016, the European Commission submitted a proposal for an „Interinstitutional Agreement on a mandatory Transparency Register“ (IIA). The IIA is to be based on the existing voluntary transparency register of the European Parliament and the Commission from 2014 and to create a robust system ensuring transparent lobbying.
The proposal aims to strengthen and to extend the current regime, which so far only applies to the European Parliament and to the Commission, as the new minimum standards should apply to all three institutions, including the Council, for the first time. The proposal to establish, by means of an Interinstitutionl Agreement (IIA), a binding transparency register for all three institutions, was announced in President Juncker's political guidelines as one of the Commission's priorities and also included in the Commission's work program. To achieve transparency, a transition from the former voluntary regulation to a system in which the registration in the register is a prerequisite for the representation of interests at EU level and in particular for meetings with decision-makers of the EU institutions, is intended. The Commission has also proposed a number of amendments aiming at a stricter monitoring of data in the register.
# Transparency Workshop at the European Parliament
On the 10th of May, the European Parliament invited a large spectrum of audience to a workshop on the EU Transparency Register in the eve of the tri-partite negotiations for a new Interinstitutional Agreement (IIA) on a mandatory Transparency Register. The speakers and guests included MEPs, Member States Officials, the EU Ombudsman, academics and NGOs.
Regulating lobbying is a rather recent concept in the majority of EU Member States. Not every Member State has legislation in place when it comes to lobbying activities. Some Member States simply opt for Code of Conducts or registers. Besides, the scope of lobby registers differ to a large extent. Moreover, access to Parliament buildings and other incentives are regulated in different forms. Consequently, regulation of lobbying across the EU varies very much.
During the workshop in the European Parliament , aims and ambitions regarding regulating lobbing and increasing transparency and democratic legitimacy were discussed, and best practices were exchanged. Member States are likely to push for a mandatory register during the upcoming negotiations for a new IIA.
# Responsible Lobbying at Metro Group
In its dialogue with political and social stakeholders, METRO GROUP acts in accordance with the precepts of responsible lobbying work. In other words:
- Our lobbying work is transparent and consistent.
- Our aims, and the means we use in order to achieve them, are clearly recognisable.
- We communicate the same message to all discussion partners.
- Our aims are consistent with the company’s sustainability strategy.
Our conformance with these Guiding Principles is underscored by the fact that METRO GROUP is registered in the EU transparency register. Hereby, the company publicly binds itself to adhere to the code of conduct linked to this register. Amongst other things, this code of conduct prescribes that lobbyists always state for whom they are working and the aims they are attempting to reach. In line with the maxims of responsible lobbying work, METRO GROUP campaigns for the ratification of the UN convention against corruption which obliges contract parties to penalise various forms of corruption against officials. METRO GROUP co-initiated and was the first to sign the mission statement for acting responsibly in commerce.
You may read our #position to responsible lobbying here.