Engerer backs mandatory transparency register for all MEPs, Commission and Council meetings

Transparency International EU finds patchy publication of lobby meetings among MEPs

Transparency International EU (TI EU) released a briefing that analyses over 28,000 lobby meetings that were published by MEPs between June 2019 and July 2022. During this period, just over half of MEPs used the Parliament’s publication system.

Overall, meeting publication is down from 9,700 meetings in the first year looked at, to 9,300 in the last year.

TI EU found huge disparities in rates of publication between political groups and member states. Since June 2019 MEPs with a special legislative role – committee chairs, rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs – have been required to publish their meetings when it relates to the specific files their role pertains to. All other MEPs have been able to publish on a voluntary basis.

Malta has six MEPs (four Labour, two Nationalist). Just three MEPs of four Labour members published their meetings, a total of 384, an average of 96 per MEP. Of the two PN MEPs, all of their 16 meetings were published (100%).

Labour MEP Cyrus Engerer has listed all the meetings held by his office in Brussels, Strasbourg, Malta, or elsewhere.

In a statement, Engerer said he was one of the few out of 705 Members of the European Parliament to go over and beyond the minimum voluntary requirements of the European transparency register.

Engerer said he is a strong backer of the 2016 proposal by the European Commission for a mandatory transparency register not only for MEPs but also for the European Commission and the Council of the European Union. “This was a proposal that was diluted by the European Parliament and the Council,” he said.

The MEP’s website hosts a section ‘Nothing To Hide’ in which Engerer lists the date of all his meetings, the organisation he met, the people who attended on behalf of the organisation and also publishes a summary of the discussion held.

Engerer has called on the European Commission to once again come up with a proposal for a Mandatory Transparency Register for all European institutions.

Only a few member states have a large majority of their MEPs who have published a single meeting over three years (the top three being Luxembourg 100% of MEPs, Sweden 95% and Denmark 93%), while some EU members are lagging woefully behind (Latvia 25%, Cyprus 17%, Greece 10%).

This transparency gap is also evident when political groups are analysed. With the Greens/EFA group consistently publishing the most meetings over the three years (111.8 meetings per MEP per year) and the Identity and Democracy Group publishing the fewest (2.5 meetings per MEP per year).

Vitor Teixeira, Senior Policy Officer at Transparency International EU said: “There are two main issues with lobby transparency in the Parliament. First of all, there is no oversight or enforcement of the rules. The second issue is that there are many other people involved in lobbying who are not covered by any rules, including Accredited Parliamentary Assistants and Political Group Advisors. The European Parliament should want to give the public a clear picture of who is influencing policy decisions. This will increase both institutional integrity and public trust.”