Apoca-lobbyist Now - Transparency and Lobbying in the European Union
An interesting little development in the political culture in the EU:
The Society of European Affairs Professionals (SEAP) reiterated its commitment to promoting transparency in EU lobbying and a voluntary registry, but highlighted a number of "potential pitfalls" that the group wishes the Commission to avoid.
The Commission's follow-up to the Green Paper on a 'European Transparency Initiative' was published on 21 March, announcing the EU executive's intention to create a voluntary register for EU lobbyists.
This would require disclosure of members, clients, funding details and adherence to a code of conduct. SEAP has recently agreed a set of core principles with other lobbyist organisations, which it hopes will provide the basis for this code - a code that would preferably be developed by the profession itself.
Mmmm... the tastiness of the Lobbying pie. "We will regulate ourselves, it will be better this way.....". The irony is that I'm sickly curious about how much they had to lobby to figure out a deal for not actually being regulated?!
I mean, they're lobbyists - "European Affairs Specialists". Where I'm from we call that special interests, or big business...and the salary for that is alotted in large pork barrels.
I'm impressed, utterly impressed. How deep does the lobbyist infection in the EU go? I smell a research project. I suggest a website like Follow the Money - the most fun you can have if you need a few hours to really distrust your government - only for European MP's.
EU citizens may find it worth their while to find out just how much their vote really counts when it comes to decisions, because it will be a net vote value - with consideration for powerful lobbying interests taxing direct representation of interests and ultimately sapping the Union of credibility if a scandal ever should arise.
So why not make it voluntary right now? Maybe it's too soon. Perhaps some lobbyists will need some time to perfect their accounting magic tricks before letting in a little sunlight. If you have nothing to hide, do it right now. MPs should get hard on transparency. And I find it a little hard to believe that people who base their entire existence on getting things done fasters and smoother than anyone else can, otherwise they should really be replaced with better lobbyists, can't push a little administrative hassle out of the way.
I wonder who the Jack Abramoff of the EU is.