The European Commission is today proposing a mandatory Transparency Register covering all three EU institutions – the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission - delivering on a key transparency commitment of the Juncker Commission.
What has the Commission proposed?
The Commission has proposed a mandatory Transparency Register, based on a new Interinstitutional Agreement (IIA) covering the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the Commission. The proposal aims to strengthen and extend the current scheme which covers only the European Parliament and the Commission.
The proposals will ensure high standards of transparency in all three institutions by moving from a voluntary system to one where registration becomes a precondition for interest representation at EU level, by making certain interactions, in particular meetings with decision-makers in the EU institutions conditional upon prior registration.
The Commission has also proposed a number of changes to strengthen the monitoring and control of the data in the Register, with enhanced human and IT resources and better controls and enforcement of the rules.
The proposal to create a mandatory transparency register covering all three institutions through an IIA was announced in President Juncker's Political Guidelines as one of the Commission's priorities. It was then included in the Commission's Work Programme, and we are now delivering on this commitment.
How are interest representatives compelled to join the Transparency Register?
The new rules will make access by interest representatives to decision-makers, premises, policy forums or information subject to prior registration in the Register and acceptance of the Code of Conduct, making it a precondition for interest representation.
The Commission has already taken ambitious measures. These include the rule set out in the Juncker Commission's Working Methods that Commissioners, their staff (i.e. "Cabinet" Members) and Directors-General will not meet with anybody not on the Transparency Register. These measures are reflected in the proposed IIA.
In the European Parliament, interest representatives will need to sign up to the Register in order to have meetings with MEPs, the Secretary-General, Directors-General and Secretaries-General of political groups. Registration as a condition for speaking at Committee hearings and for holding events on Parliament premises is also proposed.
In the Council, interest representatives would need to be on the Register to meet with the Council's Secretary-General and Directors-General or with the Ambassador of the current or forthcoming Presidency of the Council, as well as their deputies. The text also foresees a mechanism allowing Member States, on a voluntary basis, to make certain interactions with their Permanent Representations conditional upon prior registration.
What are the other changes compared to the current system?
As well as moving to a mandatory system, covering all three institutions, the Commission is putting forward a number of improvements with a view to refining or strengthening the current system. Key changes include:
Clearer definition of 'lobbying': The new Agreement streamlines the broad definition of activities covered by the Register, which is one of the main strengths of the current EU system compared to many national lobbying regulation regimes. At the same time, the activities not covered by the register are more clearly set out.
Exemption for local and regional governments: The current Register does not apply to certain specified entities, for example, churches and religious communities, political parties, Member States' government services, third countries' governments, international intergovernmental organisations and their diplomatic missions. In addition to these, the new Agreement will also exclude local and regional authorities as well as their representative associations from the scope of the Register. This reflects feedback from the public consultation and is based on the fact that these public and democratically elected structures have a special status in the European multi-level system of governance. Representation of their interests cannot be equated with lobbying activities.
Simplified data disclosure requirements: The new Agreement revises the data disclosure requirements to strike a more appropriate balance between the need for transparency and the need to reduce the administrative burden of compliance. The data requirements now focus on the most relevant information as regards efforts to influence law-making. This includes costs of such activities for those who pursue their own interests, the relevant revenues for intermediaries, and the budgets of not-for-profit entities and their main sources of financing.
Effective enforcement: The new Agreement will improve overall data quality by introducing systematic ex-ante checks on new registrations and simplifying the data reporting requirements. The Code of Conduct which sets out the principles of behaviour for interactions with the EU institutions will also be reinforced and made more precise. A more robust mechanism to handle breaches of the Code of Conduct and apply proportional measures when appropriate will be introduced. Registrants who do not respect the rules could face suspension from certain types of interaction (e.g. meetings with institutions) and removal from the Register.
Creating stronger management structures: A well-functioning Register requires adequate resources, in particular to control the quality of data and enforce the rules. The new Agreement foresees a new management structure for the Register Secretariat with a view to achieving efficient decision-making. It defines the tasks of the Register Secretariat and its Coordinator and foresees a Management Board composed of the Secretaries-General of the three institutions.
How did the Commission prepare this proposal?
In preparing this proposal the Commission consulted widely, listening to stakeholders, to the views of the European Parliament, the Council and the European Ombudsman. On 2 May, European Parliament Vice-President Sylvie Guillaume and Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans hosted a public debate, bringing together stakeholders from Brussels as well as Member States, to debate key themes of the consultation.
A 12-week public consultation was organised to gather views on the functioning of the current Transparency Register and input for the design of the new mandatory regime. A total of 1,758 replies were received to the public consultation, from all EU Member States; 975 responses came from individual citizens and 783 from organisations. The main conclusions from the replies to the public consultation can be summarised as follows:
Most respondents considered that the EU institutions should lead by example in the area of transparency and in the framing of interactions of interest representatives with decision-makers;
The need for the proposal to deliver a 'mandatory' system was stressed by many, although views diverged on how best to achieve this goal;
The Register's broad definition of lobbying activities was deemed appropriate by most stakeholders;
There was wide agreement on the necessity to improve the quality of data and the scope for simplification of some requirements on financial data;
The Code of Conduct is broadly seen as appropriate, but stakeholders highlighted the need to improve monitoring and enforcement and to boost the capacity of the Register Secretariat;
Specific issues arose in relation to local and regional authorities and their associations who sought to be excluded from the system;
The website was positively perceived and the registration/updating process was considered user-friendly.
Why did the Commission propose an Interinstitutional Agreement rather than another instrument?
The Commission considers that an Interinstitutional Agreement based on Article 295 TFEU is the most pragmatic and promising option to achieve a mandatory scheme in a reasonable timeframe. The proposal's core aim is to make interactions with the EU institutions more transparent, not to regulate lobbying activity at Member State level, therefore an Interinstitutional Agreement is more appropriate than a Regulation or a Directive.
What are the next steps?
This proposal is an important step towards a common and mandatory transparency regime at the EU level. The Commission is inviting the Council and the European Parliament to negotiate with a view to establishing as swiftly as possible a mandatory Register covering all three institutions.
The Foreign Minister, Jose Serra, criticized the progress of negotiations for a trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union (EU) and assigned it to European lack of speed. The subject was on the agenda of bilateral meetings of President Michel Temer with President of the Spanish Government, Mariano Rajoy, and the Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, in China.
Serra said that Brazil should announce a program to create a new instrument to stimulate the exports of small and medium enterprises, with support from Sebrae. The idea is that a single operator is in charge of the bureaucracy with all the necessary administrative equipment required today of exporters.
- It is a proposal to organize a commercial operator to micro and small businesses, not only in Brazilian scale, but in Mercosur itself. We are doing, in partnership with Sebrae, a program that the micro entrepreneur can export through an organized operator.
According to him, the volume of trade of micro and small enterprises, which account for 75% of export companies, is only 5% of the total. The topic was discussed in a meeting of the director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Roberto Azevedo with President Temer.
The agenda also included a wave of protectionism in the world. Serra said that many barriers have hampered Brazilian exports that need to be addressed in the WTO.
- All that exist in respect of sugar cane, a highly discriminated product. Meat, double meat and sugar are the ones that suffer the most with the absolutely opportunistic nature of phytosanitary barriers, invented under pretext, but it takes years to be able to clean, interpret and process in the WTO. We have to make a gradual change, which starts by setting common rules that countries can not transgress, once made absolutely on scientific criteria.
[Erasmus] Did you know that Brasil is the Latin American country that receives more mobility credit program grants from Erasmus+? Adding 2015 and 2016, more than 700 scholarships, just for this program.
To learn more about the Erasmus+ just enter the website: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/erasmus-plus_en
European Service for External Action representatives signed in Rome a collaboration agreement with the government of Libya's national unity to train officers of the Coast Guard and from Libya in order to combat human trafficking. The information is from the Ansa agency.
Libya is one of the main departure points for immigrants fleeing wars and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa to Europe, especially to Italy.
According to Admiral Enrico Credendino, Commander of Operation EUNAVFOR Med, this is a "new step of cooperation" between the European Union and the Libyan institutions. It is also an offshoot of Operation "Sophia", which fights, locates and identifies the human traffickers who make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.
At a meeting held on June 20, the European Counsel has set two new goals for the EUNAVFOR Med: capacitate and train the Coast Guards and the Navy and help in implementing the UN embargo on arms trafficking in the region.
According to the European Union, from the beginning of the mission, 84 trafficking suspects were prosecuted by the Italian authorities and 255 illegal boats were destroyed, thus preventing new crossings with immigrants. In addition, 21 958 lives were saved in the high seas.
The sea route between Libya and Italy is considered the "world's deadliest" and is the most used by illegal immigrants to reach Italy. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 104,000 displaced people arrived in Italian territory for the route this year alone and over 2,725 died or disappeared trying to cross.
The European Commission announced, in Brussels, increases in its humanitarian budget by 20% to 1.1 billion euros. Of these, EUR 445 million - about 40% - are intended for victims of the crisis in Syria.
"The tragic images of children from Aleppo show, unfortunately too clearly, the real human suffering of the millions involved in humanitarian crises around the world," declared, on Friday (19/08), in a joint statement, the head of European Union diplomacy, Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides.
According to them, in 2015 the EU has helped more than 134 million victims of natural and human caused disasters in 80 countries: "From the victims of the conflict in Syria and South Sudan to strengthening our assistance to education in emergencies, or to those affected by extreme weather phenomenon El Niño, our aid has been supporting the most vulnerable."
Registering the World Day of Humanitarian Aid, Mogherini and Stylianides also paid tribute to humanitarian workers around the globe. In the last two decades, more than a thousand people were killed in attacks around the world, while trying to help others, reminded European politicians.
The European Commission stressed that its record budget for 2016 is a response to the continuous increase of humanitarian needs arising from the growing number of refugees and displaced people on a global scale.
The EU initiative to succeed the first World Humanitarian Summit held in late May in Istanbul, Turkey. In it, dozens of nations and aid agencies launched a "Grand Bargain", aiming to redirect at least $ 1 billion to the front line of humanitarian action in the next five years.
Before the announcement in Brussels, Stylianides appealed to other donors to also raise their aid contributions. Including individual investments of the various Member States, the EU is the main donor of humanitarian funding in the world, most of which is passed on to NGOs, the UN and the associations of the Red Cross.
Access in 21.08.2016 at 5PM.
It was presented, at the headquarters of the Museum of the Banco Provincia de Buenos Aires, the book "Jurisprudencia Ambiental en Europa y América Latina", a substantial contribution to academic, legislative and government work and policies related to the environment. Present were the deputy governor of Buenos Aires Province, Dr. Daniel Salvador; the Spanish professor at the University of Alcalá, Dr. Carlos Francisco Molina del Pozo, the book's coordinator; Ambassador of the EU Delegation in Argentina, José Ignacio Salafranca; the UPM authorities; Mr. Germán López, the Director General and Edil Enrique Arezo, Uruguay, vice-President; Dr. Jamile Bergamaschine Mata Diz, the Jean Monnet Chair holder of the Federal University of Minas Gerais; and the Academic Director of UPM, Dra. Liliana Bertoni who officiated as the coordinator of the activity. European diplomats and from neighboring countries also attended, as well as university professors, specialists in areas related to the theme, students, and a large audience that closely followed the progress of discussions.
For deputy Lopez, essential in a work of these characteristics is the help it can give to academic work, legislative and government policies and their growing presence in the public agenda. In this sense, Lopez calls to spread the work in their country in the various provincial agencies, as well as in neighboring countries and the rest of Latin America. It is the community, legislators, mayors and councilors, who, with their work in defense of the environment, have justified the effort made in the preparation of a book that summarizes the current state of the problem.
An old acquaintance of Argentina, the representative of the European Union, Ambassador Salafranca, calls us to deal with all the environmental challenges that are present in the daily activity of the people. The preservation of the environment and the efficient and effective use of natural resources is the basis of the growing closeness of relations between the European Union and the countries of Latin America.
The Vice Governor Daniel Salvador, as a representative of the Governor María Eugenia Vidal, highlighted the importance of books on this subject, in which his province allocates considerable efforts. In this sense, he highlighted the educational work being done with children, of which one of the activities are the Olympics for the dissemination of environmental problems and education that occurs with the senior students of primary schools in the province.
“Dissertation and reflection" was called the second part of the activity in the Aula Magna "Alberto de Paula" museum. First, Dr. Liliana Bertoni, Academic Secretary from UPM, activity coordinator and one of the publication's authors, thanked the vice-governor and highlighted the fact that the work "Jurisprudencia Ambiental en Europa y América Latina" has been declared of provincial and legislative interest in the Senate of Buenos Aires. She also highlighted the role of UPM and its relationship to academic work: "the issue of the environment should impact on a culture and there are changes that enhance social harmony" Bertoni said. One of the book coordinators, Professor Jamile Bergamaschine Mata Diz, of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, gave an overview of the activities that led to the realization of such an important work. In this regard, she stressed the substantive contribution of the European Union from its vast experience in environmental law.
Finally, Dr. Carlos Francisco Molina del Pozo, the book's main coordinator, thanked the support of several regional organizations, including Mercosur. The academic, carrying a vast experience in the field, made an assessment of their contribution to the initial installation in Europe of the latest public-private management issues. Author of more than fifty books, Professor Molina del Pozo is one of the most important figures of the old continent who have contributed substantially to the development of environmental law since its inception just a few decades ago.
Access on 08/14/2016 at 10AM.
Most Germans believe that the European Union should end a migration agreement with Turkey, also undermining the negotiations for the country's entry into the bloc, showed research published on Sunday (7).
The agreement, obtained by Ankara in exchange for a new financial aid, the promise of the end of the visa requirement for most European countries and more talk of integrating the group, strongly decreased the influx of refugees in Europe by East routes.
Last year, Germany hosted about 1.1 million people who fled from war and poverty in the Middle East and other countries, more than any other nation in the EU, creating conditions that increased social and political tensions in Europe's largest economy.
But the research institute Emnid published in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper showed that 52% of Germans want the end of the immigration agreement, against 35% who favor its continuation.
More than two-thirds of the 502 people interviewed in the August 4 also want the immediate freezing of financial assistance to Turkey. The poll also showed that 66% of Germans want the end of negotiations with the Turks to join the European Union.
According to the agreement, Ankara agreed to get back all immigrants and refugees, including Syrians, who cross the sea and come to Greece illegally.
The end of visa the requirements, which would mean reciprocity in relations, was delayed because of a controversy surrounding the anti-terrorism law in Turkey and Western concerns about the recent attempted coup in the country.
The Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu said at the end of last week that the country would retreat from the refugee treaty with the EU if the bloc did not release the travels without visa requirement.
Access on 07/08/2016 at 5PM