BACKGROUND: A joint European Parliament and European Commission Transparency Register was launched on 23 June 2011. It has been the subject of annual reports. The joint secretariat has issued guidelines and since the start of 2013 an inter-institutional high-level working group has been conducting a review. On 28 September 2016, the Commission published COM (2016) 627 and annexes, a proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement (IIA) on a Mandatory Transparency Register covering the three institutions of the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. In June 2017, the European Parliament approved its negotiating mandate for the IIA. SEAP has actively participated in numerous rounds of consultation on this proposal. Following the kick-off meeting and subsequent technical and political trilogue meetings, SEAP is once again reaching out to institutional officials in order to ensure the voice of EU affairs professionals is also represented in this important debate.
SEAP believes that the adoption of the IIA should establish a definitive set of principles applying equally to all public affairs professionals and maximise transparency between registered lobbyists and EU officials. It should set out clear guidance on engagement to stakeholders and high universal standards, that would foster a culture of transparency and integrity in the profession.
SEAP is deeply committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct in public affairs. It promotes transparency and openness in EU decision-making and acts as the voice of the profession to the EU institutions’. It also promotes self-regulation and its Code sets out the ethical standards that all our members must observe when interacting with policy-makers. Most recently, prior to the restarting of the negotiations on this file, SEAP ran a campaign (The Transparency Pledge) aimed at once again raising attention to the issue, sending out a letter to all MEP’s and co-organising an event with various stakeholders involved in these negotiations. So far, SEAP has gathered more than 320 signatures from EU affairs professionals of all backgrounds, demonstrating that the industry is strongly advocating in favour of achieving a fruitful outcome on these negotiations.
Once again, we are using this opportunity to reiterate the position outlined in our earlier paper, putting forward some technical considerations on the IIA and on the European Parliament negotiating mandate. This time around, SEAP reached out to multiple key stakeholders on the IIA file and requested to have meetings concerning the negotiations. These stakeholders included MEP’s from the Contact Group working on the file, Representatives from the German Presidency of the Council, as well as key commission officials.