- know how the European institutions are preparing these decisions,
- who participates in preparing them,
- who receives funding from the EU budget, and
- what documents are held or produced to prepare and adopt the legal acts.
You also have a right to access those documents, and make your views known, either directly, or indirectly, through intermediaries that represent you. As you understand, the role of Open Data in this attempt is crucial.
A recent study revealed that the decision-making process of the European Council remains a blind spot in the EU legislative process. The Council, out of the three core EU institutions, remains the most opaque in regards to transparency, integrity and accountability (European Union Integrity System 2014, Lobbying in Europe 2015).
EU Integrity Watch
Another important issue in EU, is the lobbying. Normally this is when people manage to sign contracts with firms whose CEO they know. So the use of a personal contact works in favor of a firm. The bad result of lobbying can lead to corruption, bad money spending and create entry barriers for other entrepreneurs. A new initiative by EU is the EU Integrity watch. There you can view in a user-friendly way:
- an overview of the lobby meetings of the European Commission since December 2014
- an overview of the lobby organisations registered in the EU Transparency Register – the register of Brussels lobbyists
- a unique overview of the activities of members of the European Parliament, as graphs or lists. The database allows to better monitor potential conflicts of interests or to identify those MEPs with more outside activities.
EU Corporate integrity
Of course, integrity is not an issue only for public servants. It is also for corporates and mentioned before, corruption in the private sector is a many-sided issue. In trade and competition, there are public officials that get bribed to offer political influence, contracts signing and market advantage to firms. Big firms win a big commercial advantage influence on the policy process and may facilitate the laundering of corrupt money.
The EU can combat corruption in the Private sector through fostering corporate responsibility, through the promotion of anti-corruption standards in its trade policies, through the push for transparent and corrupt-free public procurement practices and through more substantial initiatives to promote best practice on corporate compliance or anti-bribery systems or, where necessary, changes to company law.
The EU can also better promote reporting of company anti-bribery programmes, company structures and their financial contribution to the countries where they operate (so –called country-by-country reporting). This helps promote integrity standards by allowing citizens to hold them to account for their impact on the ground.
Read more about our ongoing work on the Private Sector by EU: