EC Hearing on European Transparency Initiative

On 11 July, 2006 Rasa Zygmantaite (EfVET Lithuania) was delegated by the EfVET SC to represent the organization in EC Hearing on European Transparency Initiative, which was held by EESC. This Hearing is a part of the consultations on Transparency Initiative, Green Paper being part of it. The consultations on the Initiative was opened 3 May and closed on 31 August 2006, and organizations as well as public bodies, whose interest and activities include lobbying or being possible beneficiaries of the EU funds, could express their opinion and views.

The European Commission was represented by such officials, as Siim Kallas, vice-president of the EC, Margot Wallström, Vice-president of the EC for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy, Dimitrios Dimitriadis, Vice-president of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and others.
Other organizations present at the Hearing: Civil Society organizations( EfVET among them), Think Tanks, Public Affairs practitioners, Lawyers organizations and law firms, a representative of the Office of the European Ombudsmen.

The objective of such Hearing:
The Green Paper
The Commission launched the European Transparency Initiative on 9 November 2005 by publishing Green Paper. This Green Paper is a key component of the Initiative and was the starting-point for this consultation. The consultation allows stakeholders to have their say on three aspects of transparency in the European Union. These are covered by the three chapters of the Green Paper:

  1. Transparency and Interest Representation: this part underpin a debate on lobbying activities in the EU
    2. The Commission’s minimum standards for consultation: this part provides a structured framework for feedback on the application of the standards.
    3. Publication of Data on Beneficiaries of EU Funds: this part launched a debate on the disclosure of data about the recipients of various EU funds managed by the Commission in partnership with Member States, notably the Structural Funds and Common Agricultural Policy.

The Hearing was opened by Mr. Dimitrios Dimitriadis and   welcomed by Mr. Siim Kallas.
The first session was devoted to the question about the functioning of lobbying units- whether it is necessary to have a register of lobbying organization, and only by such a register the organizations/lobbying units could function.
The voices of the organizations present at the Hearing were divided into “for” and “against” register almost equally.
I couldn’t express position of the EfVET, as the SC hasn’t discussed the question and I didn’t have the official point on this topic (even though we are talking about having a lobbying group in the EP, working for VET sector).
In Session II a joint code of conduct for civil society organizations and other interest group was discussed. The discussion was based on the ideas and statement of the Green paper. There is no doubt that the Commission considers lobbying as a legitimate part of the democratic system. At the same time, certain standards must be applied when lobby groups seek to contribute to EU policy development. In particular, it must be clear to the general public which input they provide to the European Institutions, who they represent, what their mission is and how they are funded.
Useful contact: Henrik Kröner, representing EMI (European Movement International) for building relationship and useful partners with Byelorussia, as new calls appear for introducing European democratic values to this country.

Minutes of the hearing can be found on the website:

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