11 May 2015, 10am–12pm
Résidence Palace, 155, rue de la Loi C, 1040 Brussels, room Polak
Event organised by the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly. Pam Bartlett Quintanilla and Vicky Aderica from Access Info Europe attended this debate.
Brussels is fast becoming the second most important lobbying hub in the world, after Washington, D.C.. Lobbying obviously plays an important role in functioning democracies. High ethical standards and pro-active transparency about lobbying are, however, key for citizens’ trust in EU decision-making.
The Ombudsman dedicates a big part of her strategic work to ethical issues and transparency in lobbying activities between the various interest representatives and the EU institutions. Her investigations in this area concern, for example, “revolving doors” cases and the composition of expert groups in the Commission as well as more lobbying transparency in the TTIP negotiations.
The new Commission took important measures to increase lobbying transparency, by working towards a mandatory Transparency Register and by obliging all Members of the Commission and senior staff to publish contacts and meetings with stakeholders and lobbyists.
There is still room for improvement, though, not only in the Commission but also in other EU institutions. The Ombudsman would like to facilitate a debate about what has been achieved and what further measures could be taken to improve lobbying transparency in Brussels.
Emily O’Reilly, European Ombudsman
Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission
Carl Dolan, Director Transparency International, EU Office
Alberto Alemanno, Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law, HEC Paris, Global Clinical Professor, NYU School of Law
Karl Isaksson, Chairman of the European Public Affairs Consultancies’ Association
Florian Eder, managing editor at Politico Europe
The European Ombudsman Opening Address can be read here