The idea at the heart of this roundtable was the 'access of voice' to all citizens. For politcisation to occur, citizens need to be aware and educated about proceedings at the EU level. In tandem, the EU level must not be opaque, with information available for citizens to engage with. To achieve this, we propose stricter lobbying rules at EU level, including a mandatory registry, a record of who has met with whom and why (a legislative footprint), as well as concrete conflict of interest rules.
I think Lobbying is an important thing. Everybody needs to have the possibility to get heared. I guess there are already dozens of codizes which are formal and informal, that it's for example not a problem to go on a breakfast with someone and talk about something. Ethically it is a problem, only then, when something happens which affects a third person and that person is not able to lay down his point. So every possibility to add transperency to the processes has to be welcomed.
The agreement should encompass adequate rules to ensure equal access for external actors and prevent over-representation based on resources. For this purpose, a system of quota for the number of visits or exchanges between a legislator and the same actor could be conceived. Also, quota based on categories of interest such as Human rights, business related, social interests and environment could help the rebalancing of representation in the EU legislative process.
This proposal materialised from the discussions in the first Politics and Institutions Roundtable at the Conference on the Redefinition of the European Mission.
Good suggestions. In terms of information availability, fact acquisition on the Europa website should be made easier. It can often take hours. Moreover, citizens with little understanding of politics or economics may struggle with some of the material. A support hotline ought to be available during work hours that provides citizens with information in simple, understandable form. Proceedings at EU level should also be available via all member state webpages, to facilitate easier access to info.
There is a voluntary register and this would seem to be the next step. The proposal should take that into account and provide a means for transition from one arrangement to the next.
Changing the register from voluntary to mandatory and including the Council, Commission etc. on this register will require a clearly devised sanctiong mechanism if rules are broken. Such a mechansim has to take into account that lobbying could be moved into the shadows. In addition, equal access for companies with small as well as big resources has to be ensured.
Right now, only meetings with MEPs have to be listed. This needs to be extended to the Council of the EU and most importantly the Commission, as recently there has been evidence in academic literature suggesting that in commissioners may often be influenced in their proposals.
One important consideration is the extent to which over-formalisation of lobbying rules will force negotiations into the 'shadows of Brussels' and in effect force illegal or questionable practice. If this is not sufficiently addressed the policy proposal may struggle to gain ground.
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