The newly elected European Commission under President Jean-Claude Juncker and VP Frans Timmermans has made a number of promises in the area of transparency. Transparency was made 1 of the 10 priorities in the European Commission’s work program for 2015. On the promise of increased lobby transparency the Commission has already delivered and started publishing meetings with lobbyists in December. Although this new obligation only includes the very highest levels (Commissioners, their cabinets and directors general – so roughly 250 of the highest ranking officials) this is an important step and was warmly welcomed by TI EU.
At the same time the Commission has pledged to only meet with registered lobbyists. It seems they are respecting this pledge, thereby moving a step closer to a mandatory register for Brussels’ lobbyists. A formal proposal for such a mandatory register is expected during the course of the year. VP Timmermans has also repeatedly invited the other institutions (Parliament and Council) to join the Commission in its efforts and to match the steps that have already been taken.
Another indicator of increased transparency is the publication of documents relating to the negotiations of the contested transatlantic free-trade agreement TTIP.