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“A non-mandatory Transparency register is an oxymoron”

22 June, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has made a submission to a European Commission consultation demanding that registration on the EU Transparency Register be made mandatory. He said that a voluntary Transparency register cannot possibly deliver as it is meant to.

The Midlands North West MEP said,

“Only the European Commission would consider a non-mandatory Transparency register as anything other than an oxymoron. It has opened a consultation calling for the views of interested parties on the performance of the current Transparency Register - a public database in which information about lobbying actors and key data about their actions can be accessed - for organisations and self-employed individuals engaged in EU policy-making and policy implementation.

“In my submission to this consultation I called for registration on the transparency register, to not only become mandatory for all lobbyists attempting to influence EU policy, but for the register to also be quality checked.

“It should be noted that the European parliament has previously called for a mandatory register in 2008, 2011 and 2014, so it is shameful that Commission is only engaging in a process that may lead to its realisation now.

“There are currently over 30,000 lobbyists in Brussels. That’s 40 per MEP and 70% of those lobbyists represent corporate interests.

“Research shows that only 60% of corporate bodies actively lobbying the EU Institutions are registered and this doesn’t even show the entire picture as transparency watchdogs have confirmed that over half the entries on the transparency register currently contain factual errors or implausible numbers.

“3,844 organisations declare lobbying expenditure of less than a minimum wage. 293 organisations fail to actually report on any of their activities while 116 organisations declare more than €1,000,000 expenditure per lobbyist.

“This shows that both erroneous and under-reporting practices are rampant among organisations registered.

“Reforming the way the European Institutions and its officials operate is just one of the ways that could contribute to citizens being able to put greater trust in them following a severe economic crisis. The current situation, where corporate lobbies are given unprivileged and unfettered access to policy makers, without the slightest fear of oversight, is just not good enough.” ENDS

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