Madrid, 22 October 2014 – The European Parliament has voted to freeze the budget of the European Commission’s Expert Groups for the second time in four years, due to a lack of transparency, conflict of interest issues, and unbalanced stakeholder representation within these advisory groups.

A group of cross-party MEPs

[1] tabled the amendment to withhold almost €4 million from the Commission budget for 2015, covering expert group expenses. It was voted through by all major groups. The conditions for its release relate to stakeholder balance, conflicts of interest and transparency.

ALTER EU, of which Access Info is a steering committee member, has previously recommended a more robust transparency regime for these advisory groups, calling on the Commission to bring all new and existing Expert Groups in line with the conditions that the European Parliament set in 2012 when lifting the freeze of the Expert Groups budget; clearly and consistently label all organisations and individuals participating in these groups, particularly the interest they represent; implement effective and transparent conflict of interest policies across all DGs; and put all relevant documents related to Expert Groups on the Expert Groups Register website.

The European Ombudsman has also launched an own initiative inquiry into the composition of Commission Expert Groups, with recommendations expected in 2015.

For more information, please contact:

Pam Bartlett Quintanilla | Access Info Europe +34 913 656 558

Pascoe Sabido | Corporate Europe Observatory +32 486 85 74 16

Max Bank | LobbyControl +49 163 456 8741



[1] Signatories of the amendment are Helga Trüpel (Greens/EFA), Inge Gräßle (EPP), Monica Macovei (EPP), Jens Geier (S&D), Dennis De Jong (GUE/NGL), Heidi Hautala (Greens/EFA), Indrek Tarand (Greens/EFA)