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Form of government and lobbies in UK and UE. A comparative perspective.

di - 21 Febbraio 2013
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In order to achieve these goals, EP proposes a reflection on four elements: (i)“Legislative footprint“ (it means to record the lobbyists’ positions over any single draft legislative proposals); (ii) Definition of lobbying; (ii) Mandatory and not voluntary register (different from the Commission one); (iv) Common Register and rules.

The EU Transparency Register
On 23 June 2011, the European Parliament and the Commission concluded an Interinstitutional Agreement (OJL191, 22.7.2011) laying down the rules on the establishment of a Common Register for the registration and monitoring of organizations and self-employed individuals engaged in EU policy-making and policy implementation. The new registration system has been built upon the register launched by the European Parliament in 1996 and the European Commission ones launched in 2008. The European and the Council has been also invited to join the register and, more generally, all EU institutions, bodies, agencies has been encouraged to use this system themselves as a reference instrument for their own interaction with organizations and self-employed individuals engaged in EU policy-making and policy implementation.
It’s a web-based voluntary registration system with incentives for interest representatives to register (including automatic alerts of public consultations on issues of known interest to the registered organisms), available on-line to everyone. Registrants need to subscribe to the Code of Conduct; providing some information: (i) general and basic information (organization name, address, e-mail address, identity of the person legally responsible and organization’s director, goals, fields of interest, activities, country); (ii) number of persons involved in activities included in the scope of the register; (iii) names of the persons for whom badges affording access to the European Parliament’s buildings; (iv) main legislative proposals covered in the preceding year by activities falling within the scope of the transparency register; (v) contact person responsible for the relations with the administration of the register; (vi) financial information referring to the most recent financial year closed.
In their relations with the EU institutions and their Members, officials and other staff, registrants (lobbyists) shall always identify themselves and the work represented declaring interests and aims promoted and specifying the clients or members whom they represent. Lobbyists cannot obtain or try to obtain information dishonestly, or by use of undue pressure or inappropriate behaviour and not claim any formal relationship with the EU or any of its institutions in their dealings with third parties, nor misrepresent the effect of registration in such a way as to mislead third parties or officials or other staff of the EU. Those aspects are very important in the lights of the recent resignations of EU Health Commissioner, John Dalli, in a dispute on tobacco lobbying (See
Registrants are not allowed to sell to third parties copies of documents obtained from any EU institution; not to induce Members of the EU institutions, officials or other staff of the EU, or assistants or trainees of those Members, to contravene the rules and standards of behaviour applicable to them; to observe any rules laid down on the rights and responsibilities of former Members of the European Parliament and the European Commission. In this respect, it must be underlined that “revolving door” represents still an unsolved and very discussed issue in Brussels) nota Individuals representing or working for entities which have registered with the European Parliament receive a personal, non-transferable badge affording access to European Parliament.
The Transparency Register is run by a Joint Transparency Register Secretariat (JTRS) made up of officials from the European Parliament and the European Commission, operating under the coordination of a Head of Unit in the General Secretariat of the Commission and undertakes the following tasks: help desk for internal and external users; preparation and regular update of the content on the Transparency Register web site; quality checks of the information provided by registrants and handling of complaints; communication and awareness-raising among internal and external users; elaboration of the annual report and preparation for the political review; gathering information on the practice of lobbying and how it is regulated in EU Member States and in certain third countries.
Complains way be submitted by completing a standard form on the website of the register, specifying one or more clauses of the code of conduct which the complainant alleges have been breached (maximum 4000 characters) and providing documents or other materials to support their complaint. In this case, the JTRS shall verify that sufficient evidence is adduced to support the complaint. On the basis of such verification, it decides the admissibility and, if admissible, registers the complain and establish a deadline (20 working days) for the decision on the validity of the complaint and than it starts a further investigate phase. The Joint Transparency Register Secretariat shall inform the registrant in writing of the complaint made against that registrant and the content of the complaint, and shall invite the registrant to present explanations, arguments or other elements of defence within 10 working days. If the complaint is upheld, the registrant way be temporarily suspended from the register pending the taking of steps to address the problem or may be subject to measures ranging from long-term suspension to removal from the register.
The scope of the register covers all activities carried out with the objective of “directly or indirectly” influencing the formulation or implementation of policy and the decision-making processes of the EU institutions and the decision-making process of the EU institutions, irrespective of the channel or medium of communication used, for example outsourcing, media, contracts with professional intermediaries, think-tanks, platforms, forums, campaigns and grassroots initiatives. These activities include, inter alia, contacting Members, officials or other staff of the EU institutions, preparing, circulating and communicating letters, information material or discussion papers and position papers, and organizing events, meetings or promotional activities and social events or conferences, invitations to which have been sent to Members, officials or other staff of the EU institutions. Voluntary contributions and participation in formal consultations on envisaged EU legislative or other legal acts and other open consultations are also included, “all organizations and self-employed individuals, irrespective of their legal status, engaged in activities falling within the scope of the register are expected to register” (OJL191, 22.7.2011, p. 1).

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