VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
02 FEV. 2005
SR/is A(05) 98 D(05) 106
Mr Erik Wesselius
Corporate Europe Observatory
Paulus Potterstraat 20
NL-1071 DA Amsterdam
Dear Mr Wesselius,
I would like to thank you for your letter of 10 January, transmitting your letter to President Barroso and Mr Nyman- Christensen's reply thereto, regarding your suggestion for the introduction of "EU lobbying disclosure legislation".
As you may know, I am committed to being at the forefront when it comes to enhancing openness and transparency in the Commission, and I fully share your view that the question of lobbying - regardless of whether it takes place within the EU or any other context - is a very important transparency issue.
I think you can agree to that the EU openness and transparency has improved quite considerably over the past years. For example, we have seen an extension of the right to access third party documents; we have minimum standards for consultation, which form an overall basis for the consultation of stakeholders when new policies are being considered; we have a public documents register, which the Commission is currently considering to extend substantially.
However, I am convinced that no system is ever perfect of foolproof, and I therefore continuously seek to improve the rules and routines that guide us in our daily work.
As regards the substance of your letter - your suggestion of introducing an "EU lobbying disclosure legislation" - I must however admit that I don't entirely share your and your organisation's views on what would be the most effective means to improve the current situation, if the. goal really is to enhance effective democratic scrutiny of EU decision-making for the citizens.
However, I think there are some important steps that could and should be taken, in order to enhance public awareness of, and insight into what organisations, companies and other entities that have contacts with the Commission. For example, I would like to mention the Constitutional Treaty's provisions enhancing transparency and the dialogue with civil society. The Commission will launch a debate on how these provisions could be implemented, but only once the Treaty has been ratified.
But in order to deal with this matter in as thorough and efficient a manner as possible, I have asked the responsible services of the Commission to make an outline for me of the present situation and actual state of play, as well as possibilities for different avenues of rapid change and improvement.
As I wrote at the beginning of this letter, since one should never make the mistake to regard any system perfect of foolproof, I take this step as part of my endeavour to continuously seek to improve the rules and routines that guide us in our daily work.
One of the main goals for both of us is to increase openness and transparency in the EU institutions and of the EU decision-making. The EU is clearly moving in that direction and I am confident that both of us will look upon the situation in a much more positive way in the near future.
General Secretary O'Sullivan Director General Petit
Director General De Oliveira E Sousa Director Nymand- Christensen