Madrid, 7 October 2014 – As MEPs prepare to interview vice-president-designate Frans Timmermans, the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU), of which Access Info is a steering committee member, is calling on Mr Timmermans to make the introduction of a mandatory lobby register his priority.

Timmermans has been handed the portfolio of ‘better regulation’ and will also act as Jean-Claude Juncker’s deputy. His role will include work to coordinate transparency matters across the Commission and to bring forward the proposal for a mandatory lobby transparency register, to which Juncker committed himself in his own parliamentary hearing in July. Such a register would replace the current, flawed voluntary lobby register and would cover the Commission, Parliament and Council.

Max Bank of LobbyControl, a steering committee member of ALTER-EU, says: “We’ve waited a long time for the Commission to support a mandatory lobby register and we expect that vice president-designate Timmermans will make its introduction a priority. We want to see a speedy timetable for the new register, including immediate steps to oblige more lobbyists to sign up and to ensure that information in the register is comprehensive and reliable.”

As well as the commitment to a mandatory lobby register, all new commissioners have been instructed by Juncker to ensure that details of all of their lobby meetings are published on-line.

Access Info EU transparency campaigner Pam Bartlett Quintanilla says: “Proactive transparency is essential for citizens to hold the EU institutions to account and it is right that commissioners publish information about the lobbyists they have met and the topics they have discussed. We welcome Mr. Juncker’s commitment to this and expect that Mr. Timmermanns will be quick to put Juncker’s words into action.”

Concerns have also been raised by civil society groups that the introduction of a dedicated portfolio on ‘better regulation’ risks facilitating corporate lobbying initiatives aimed at cutting rather than improving important legislation needed to protect citizens and the environment. This is why full transparency around and balance in interactions with outside stakeholders will be absolutely critical in this portfolio.

Natacha Cingotti of Friends of the Earth Europe, a steering committee member of ALTER-EU, says: “The new Juncker Commission, Juncker himself and the commissioners-designate, have so far ‘talked the talk’ on transparency issues. We will be vigilant in the coming months to ensure that they also ‘walk the walk’ and that their promises are turned into reality.”

For more information please contact:

Pam Bartlett Quintanilla | Access Info Europe +034 913 656 558