Dark forces are at work lobbying to influence European policy-making, according to an MEP advocating a reinforcement of transparency rules in the EU. Any lobbyist involved in the process of forming EU decisions will be forced to register publicly, also declaring any financial support implicated. The European Parliament has voted in favour of the move by a huge majority. Ahead of the 2009 European elections, it wants to minimise citizens’ doubts about who gets a say behind the scenes. Green party MEP Claude Turmes said: “There are dark forces at work who want to prevent financial transparency. Without that we will never really know who stands behind what goes on.”
Separately, the European Commission also set up a lobbyist register, only its will be voluntary. Administration Commissioner Siim Kallas said: “I think that both today’s report of the European Parliament and also our register are a big step ahead to have a more transparent culture of decision-making in the European Institutions.”
Lobbyists will have to abide by a code of conduct.
MEPs also called for close monitoring and sanctions in the event of misbehaviour. They acknowledge that lobbyists can provide useful expertise, but say it is essential to identify the organisations represented by them.