EU Transparency Register

EU Parliament, Brussels. © Fotolia/finecki

The reform of the EU Transparency Register must create transparency and legal certainty, and avoid unnecessary bureaucratic effort.

What is at stake ?

The European Commission wants to make the EU Transparency Register obligatory for interest representatives. The status quo undermines the German business world’s acceptance of the EU transparency initiative: the register does not contain comparable and clearly understandable data, opens up the way to misinterpretations and reputation-damaging reporting, and punishes companies and business associations which comply with the Guidelines.  

Priorities of German Business

German business champions an open, transparent and regular dialogue between the EU institutions and all stakeholders. An exchange between policy-makers and stakeholders is a precondition for balanced and effective political decisions. Accordingly, BDI and BDA have not only registered in the EU Transparency Register themselves but have also actively encouraged their members to register.

To improve the clarity of information, in particular the structure of the register should be adapted. Companies and associations indicate precisely in the register how many persons are involved in EU interest representation and for what percentage of their working hours. On the contrary, the additional indication of the “number of persons involved” does not provide conclusive information on the actual human input, creates confusion and should therefore be scrapped.

German business calls for an improvement in the comparability of data in the register. Unclear requirements regarding issues such as calculation of membership fees should be avoided. Furthermore, Commission and EP should actively promote a compliance culture. Efforts should focus on ensuring that registrations are in line with the transparency guidelines. The current imbalance reduces comparability, harms the political objective of transparency and leads to one-sided blame directed at those which follow the guidelines. This creates incentives to circumvent the guidelines.

German business calls for open, transparent and regular dialogue

Share of all registrations, in %

Source: EU transparency register (version: 4.12.2015), 2015

German business takes the EU Transparency Register seriously. Around half of the 8,781 organisations registered are companies and business associations – more than 590 of them have their administrative headquarters in Germany.

Share of registered interest representatives, in %

Source: J. Greenwood und J. Greger, The Transparency Register: A European vanguard of strong lobby regulation? 2 Interest groups and advocacy, 2013, pages 139–162.

75 percent of all companies and business associations active in EU interest representation are registered in the EU transparency register – the comparable figure for NGOs is only around 60 percent.