The European Parliament has been struggling since its inception, with the accusation, to be a gateway for lobbyists. The issues are complex, the number of employees is manageable, the majority, is often confusing. For the lobby industry, the EU Parliament is a Paradise.

in the Meantime, the impression is unfair, because Parliament has long been transparency rules, which are compared to national parliaments is quite strict. On Thursday will now be followed by another Chapter.

the process sounds technical, it’s going to be a Change in the rules of procedure. However, the content has it. Leading MEPs should in future make all Meetings with lobbyists registered in the transparency register, open to the public. The Plan provides for it, on the Thursday morning vote.

Only a small part of all the Lobby conversations

affected The rule applies, however, only parliamentarians who are leading in the formulation of new laws – the so-called Rapporteur and shadow Rapporteur, as well as the chairmen of the technical committees. All other members are called non-binding, to make their Meetings with lobbyists public.

But in the case of the Christian Democrats, the brakes on stricter transparency rules regularly, some of these rules. “It is foreign,” says Daniel Caspary, Chairman of the CDU/CSU group in the European Parliament. He will constantly be approached by citizens to all sorts of legislative initiatives. By the amendment he would not have to be taken in the future, strictly “of all confirm in writing that they representatives are as a company on the move and also in the Brussels transparency register,” says Caspary of the MIRROR.

In the case of the non-governmental organization Transparency International (TI) considers such criticism is “absurd”. “The rule clearly says that only registered lobbyists are meant to be,” says TI employees Vitor Teixeira. In addition, only certain members need to specify their Meetings, and even that is only if the laws on which they are working. All other Meetings are likely to hide.

“We are like journalists or priest”

Caspary, however, warns that to be not only the freedom of the deputies, but also the access of citizens to their representatives curtailed is threatening. Also would it be possible to hold talks with representatives of the company, without that they reached the same to the Public. For example, if it were employees, the grievances in your company wanted to denounce. Such whistleblowers should be protected, Caspary.

Jens Geier, head of the German social Democrats in the EU Parliament, has a similar. “People in our Position are such as journalists or pastor,” says Geier. “We must be able to say something without everyone knowing about it immediately.” But who decides whether a company Lobbyist, representative, or Whistleblower? “You would have to leave it to the fine feeling of the deputies,” says Geier.

Whether the new regulation achieves a majority, is identified, therefore, by no means. Although those parties who have tabled the motion – the social Democrats, Green, Left-wing, Euro-sceptic Conservatives (ECR) and the populist EFDD (in addition to the Brexiteers of Ukip, the left – wing Five star movement from Italy) want to vote-now and in the plenary. However, you will not do the closed well, which is why votes from the Christian Democrats and liberals will be necessary to come to a majority.

the CDU/CSU MPs want a secret

Especially noteworthy: The German Christian-Democrats to a vote, the vote not by name, but the secret to perform and can force single-handedly, it’s because only the consent of 20 percent of the deputies is necessary. “There is a staircase would be a joke, a non-stop duck vote on the rules to be more transparent,” says SPD Deputy Jo Leinen.

Caspary defended the secret ballot: “a number of colleagues from other groups feel that their group leadership and the Public.” In a roll-call vote, they would not dare to say no. However, Caspary announced to the MIRROR, to publish the voting list for the German CDU and CSU members.

The basis of the new regulation a report on transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions, the Green MEP Sven Giegold designed and the the European Parliament, in 2017, was approved.

From the point of view of Giegold would be the Reform “a great step towards more transparency in lobbying”. “For the first Time, the Europe can enter the European Parliament, mandatory rules for the disclosure of lobbying influences on the legislative,” said Giegold. Sharp criticism he exercised on the Christian Democrats and the liberals. “It’s just anti-good-European resentments that drag so decided against lobby transparency to the field.”

According to the Transparency International (TI) to the vote in Parliament is of Central importance, because it could apply to decide what are the transparency rules in the future, not only for Parliament but also for the EU Commission and the Council of the member countries. While the EU has voluntarily agreed to a Meeting of their commissioners with lobbyists to make public, the Council is not in such a practice.

The Commission presented, in September of 2016, a design for a mandatory transparency register for all three EU institutions – and to have threatened to break off negotiations, if the Parliament is not a clear commitment to greater transparency. “Then continue the voluntary transparency register would apply,” says TI employees Teixeira, “and that is weak.”