EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

Are you a lobbyist based in or around the Brussels area? If you are, the details of the EurActiv.com survey, below, may be of interest to you. We would be pleased to hear your opinions. Please feel free to post your thoughts below…

As published by EurActiv.com:

Survey: Lobbyists reluctant to sign up to register

Large numbers of businesses, consultancies and industry federations do not intend to sign up to the European Commission’s lobbyists register, found a EurActiv survey presented at a conference last Wednesday (4 March). But a majority of respondents are supportive of transparency in principle.
Background:

Public affairs professionals from across the EU gathered in Brussels on 4 March for the 8th annual conference of the European Centre for Public Affairs (ECPA), entitled ‘Crises, Cycles and Change: Public Affairs in a Downturn’.

EurActiv launched its survey on the EU’s transparency initiative at the conference. Over 300 stakeholders from federations, consultancies and industry responded in October and November 2008.

The European Commission launched a voluntary register for lobbyists seeking to influence its policymaking last June (EurActiv 24/06/08) as part of a wider transparency initiativeexternal launched in 2005 (see EurActiv LinksDossier). As of 9 March 2009, 1,128 bodies had signed up.

While opinions vary as to the actual number of lobbyists active in Brussels (EurActiv 10/06/08), Administration and Anti-Fraud Commissioner Siim Kallas has cited a figure of 15,000 in the past.

On 8 May 2008, the European Parliament calledexternal for the creation of a mandatory public register common to all three institutions, providing for “full financial disclosure” and accompanied by a code of conduct, complete with a mechanism for expelling individual lobbyists who infringe its rules (EurActiv 09/05/08).

Commissioner Kallas has indeed suggested that the EU executive’s register could serve as a “testing ground” for the feasibility of a register common to all EU institutions (EurActiv 29/05/08), with a review expected in the summer.

Corporate lobbyists have been quicker to sign up to the register than consultancies and federations. Over half (55%) of corporate respondents have already joined, while consultancies (33%) and federations (17%) have been slightly slower off the mark.

One industry insider, who did not wish to be named, suggested this shows that the corporate world may consider registration necessary to maintain reputations. To read the full article, please click here. If you have thoughts or opinions about this, please leave your comments below.

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