New register shines light on the 'Brussels business'
A new register of lobbyists and interest groups run jointly by the European Commission and the European Parliament launched a year ago has helped shed new light on the 'Brussels business' of European policy making, according to a report published today.
The first annual report on the joint register shows that the platform is working, with all the objectives for its first year of operations met. Reflecting the two institutions' determination to build on this strong start, it then sets out objectives for the next year, and proposes key issues to look at when the platform comes under review in 2013.
Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, who is responsible for administrative affairs, said: "I am immensely proud of the Transparency Register and its successful launch. It is one of very few such systems in the world, and is certainly the most wide-ranging. Inevitably a lot of time and energy was spent during this first year on solving technical issues and helping users. But it exists, it works, and now we must make full use of it. The report sets out ambitious ways to do this."
Among the successes of the first year highlighted by the report were the successful merging of the two separate registers with no fall in registrants, the launch of a new online service for requesting accreditation for the European Parliament and the appointment of observers from the Council to the Joint Transparency Register Secretariat (JTRS), which manages the register, underlining the interest in the register from the other EU institutions.
Expanding the scope of the register is one of the priorities for the coming year set out in the report, which also recommends a stricter application of the rules and further clarifications and guidelines for registrants on how to provide the necessary information.
A review of the register is also planned for 2013, with the most important question likely to be whether registration should be made mandatory or remain voluntary. Other questions that could be covered by the review include the possibility of an ad hoc system for law and consultancy firms which want to register but are concerned about client confidentiality and clarification of the category covering organisations representing local, regional and municipal authorities.
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