Labour Party MEPs held a total of 384 lobby meetings compared to the 16 meetings held with MEPs from the Nationalist Party between June 2019 and July 2022, according to a briefing by Transparency International (TI) released on Monday.
The briefing analyses more than 28,000 lobby meetings published by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and found that between June 2019 and July 2022, just over half of MEPs used the Parliament’s publication system.
Overall, meeting publication is down from 9,700 meetings in the first year looked at, to 9,300 in the last year. Transparency International EU (TI EU) also found significant disparities in rates of publication between political groups and member states. The data used for this report was sourced from the European Parliament website on 12 September 2022.
The analysis in TI’s report is based on 28,344 lobby meetings published by MEPs on their pages of the Parliament’s website. The dataset covers meetings declared by MEPs from the start of the current parliamentary term – when the system went live – up to the end of June 2022, three years.
Committee chairs, rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs must disclose their meetings at the latest in advance of the relevant votes in committee and plenary. If the meeting(s) in question occurred close to the vote and publication is not possible beforehand, the publication should be done as soon as possible and by a week after the meeting.
MEPs not covered by the obligation to publish can publish their meetings at any time. Malta has four Labour and two Nationalist MEPs. Three of the four Labour MEPs published their meetings, while all 16 meetings of the two Nationalist Party MEPs were published (100%). Cyrus Engerer, whose discussions with lobby groups do not appear in Transparency International’s dataset, has his meetings listed on his MEP website.
According to the report, only a few member states have a large majority of their MEPs who have published a single meeting over three years (the top three being Luxembourg, 100% of MEPs, Sweden 95%, and Denmark, 93%), while some EU members are lagging (Latvia 25%, Cyprus 17%, Greece 10%).
This transparency gap is also underscored when political groups are analysed. The Greens/EFA group consistently published the most meetings over the three years (111.8 meetings per MEP per year), and the Identity and Democracy Group published the fewest (2.5 meetings per MEP per year).
Vitor Teixeira, Senior Policy Officer at Transparency International EU, said: “There are two main issues with lobby transparency in the Parliament. First of all, there is no oversight or enforcement of the rules. The second issue is that there are many other people involved in lobbying who are not covered by any rules, including Accredited Parliamentary Assistants and Political Group Advisors. The European Parliament should want to give the public a clear picture of who is influencing policy decisions. This will increase both institutional integrity and public trust.”
All data is taken from TI EU’s EU Integrity Watch platform, which is publicly available.
The website covers lobby meetings of MEPs, meetings of high-level Commission Officials, MEP side income and lobby group spending in Brussels.