Transparency and Lobbying in the EU
Keynote speaker: Diana Wallis, MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament
3 November 2011
Transparency in the EU has been of increasing interest in recent years, with questions raised about the accountability of EU institutions, the influence of lobbyists, the distribution and purpose of Community funding, and the code of conduct within European institutions.
These questions of transparency are increasingly important as issues of democracy and accountability in the EU are fiercely debated and the Union faces some of its toughest challenges as a result of the global financial crisis. The UK’s continued debate over Europe, with a notable Eurosceptic voice among citizens and Government, make these questions about who is accountable; what influence lobbyists have and the transparency of their activities; and the conduct of representatives and officials in the EU is of increasing importance.
The European Transparency Initiative led by the European Commission has offered one response to some of these questions; more recently a new Transparency Register will act as a common register for interest representatives in Europe, aiming to promote transparency with regard to interest groups and lobbyists.
Diana Wallis MEP, who has been instrumental in establishing the Transparency Register, delivered a keynote presentation setting out the aims of the Register and discussing some of the problems that remain to be addressed with regard to transparency in the EU. Michael Shackleton (Head of the European Parliament Information Office in the UK) provided a response, before a Q&A panel discussion. The event was chaired by Professor David Coen (UCL Political Science).