It used to be called 'Register of Interest Representives' at the European Commission and  'Register of Accredited Lobbyists' at the European Parliament, now  the NEW European Parliament-European Commission joint register is going to be called 'THE TRANSPARENCY REGISTER'.

Indeed, MEPs have given their backing  to plans for a joint register of lobbyists and other interest groups seeking access to Parliament and the Commission. Parliament urges that lobbyists' exchanges with lead MEPs be listed in a "legislative footprint annex" to parliamentary reports. It also hopes the Council of Ministers will take part in this "transparency register". The register will combine the existing Parliament and Commission registers, as agreed by the two institutions in November 2010.

The name change, from "lobby" to "transparency", will make it easier for non-commercial organisations, such as think-tanks, churches and religious communities, to sign up to such a register. Registration will not be mandatory under the rules as agreed by Parliament and the Commission.

However, MEPs have decided that for lobbyists wishing to enter Parliament's premises, registration will indeed be compulsory.

MEPs also call on the Council of Ministers to join the register as soon as possible and welcome the fact that the Council has indicated it will do so.

Parliament also endorsed a proposal for a "legislative footprint annex" to reports drafted by MEPs. This annex would list all the lobbyists whom lead MEPs met while a legislative report was being drafted. The new joint register will provide further information, such as the number of individuals involved in any activities relating to the register and any EU funding or support received by the registrant. It will also set out procedures for handling complaints and sanctions.

The common register is scheduled to be available online in June 2011.

Bottom line: We will soon have 1 Register called  'THE TRANSPARENCY REGISTER' but Registrants will still be required to apply for a long-term access pass to enter the premises of the European Parliament in effect no change.        

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