On 20 May 2021, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission signed the new inter-institutional agreement (IIA) on a mandatory transparency register. The agreement comes after several years of negotiations following the proposal from the Commission dating back to September 2016 and which ended in a compromise reached in December 2020.
The legal basis of the new register is Article 295 TFEU (inter-institutional agreement). In addition, each participating institution will issue a decision in which it will set out the conditions for meeting with lobbyists (conditionality).
The new register has several new features as compared with the one currently in force.
First of all, it is activity-based so that it does not matter who delivers the activity as long as it falls within the scope of the definition of lobbying. The IIA covers activities carried out by interest representatives ‘with the objective of influencing the formulation or implementation of policy or legislation, or the decision-making processes of the three institutions or other union institutions, bodies offices and agencies.’
Secondly, the three institutions will share the secretariat which, in turn, will have more resources at its disposal (what has been a recurring recommendation from the Brussels lobbying actors).
Thirdly, the provisions of the register require more detailed information from the registrants.
The register will be overseen by the Management Board composed of the Secretaries General of the three institutions. The Secretariat of the register will publish an annual report addressed to the Presidents of the three institutions.
Once the agreement is published in the Official Journal of the EU, it will come into force 20 days later. The registrants will have six months to amend their registration according to the new requirements.
The Secretariat is consulting on the draft implementing guidelines of the new agreement until 4 June.