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Increasing transparency of institutions one priority of Estonian Presidency

14. June 2017 - 16:10

At meetings between the Estonian Deputy Minister for EU Affairs Matti Maasikas and the Chair of the Conference of the Committee Chairs Cecilia Wikström, the Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs Danuta Hübner, the Chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs Roberto Gualtieri, MEP Sven Giegold and the Deputy Secretary-General Markus Winkler, the topics discussed included the Transparency Register, the reform of the electoral law of the EU, the right of inquiry, the allocation of seats in the European Parliament and maintaining the unity of the 27 EU Member States during the Brexit negotiations.

Last autumn, the European Commission proposed to establish a joint Transparency Register that would be mandatory for all representatives of interest groups. The Commission is proposing that all three institutions be subject to the same minimum standards for the first time, standards that will make lobbying activities more transparent, bolster the monitoring of the Register's Code of Conduct for lobbyists and improve the quality of data input requirements. The first such register, which is voluntary in nature, was created by the European Parliament and the Commission in 2011 and currently lists more than 9800 lobbyists, all of whom must follow a common Code of Conduct. According to Maasikas, “transparency is one of the priorities of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU, it will further clarify who tries to influence whom and how, and it is in all of our interests,” Maasikas said.

The reform of the electoral law of the EU requires unanimity in the Council. A provisional agreement on the information on ballot papers has been achieved during the Maltese Presidency, negotiation process on setting an election threshold and the voting rights of EU citizens living in third countries is still on-going

Distribution of the European Parliament seats for the 2019 elections is also a topic that will attract a great deal of attention during the Estonian Presidency. The European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs will present its proposals and report and the final decision must be made in good time to ensure that all Member States can finish necessary internal legislative procedures before the elections.

The Parliament's right of inquiry concerns the European Parliament’s wish to have greater power, in particular access to documents and opportunity to summon witnesses to the hearings of special committees.

 

Additional information:

Tiina Maiberg

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

(+372) 6377 253

(+372) 53 008 703

www.vm.ee

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