On 13 February 2019, negotiators from the three EU institutions agreed to continue their discussions on moving towards a joint mandatory Transparency Register.
The European Parliament negotiators, Vice-President Sylvie Guillaume and Chair of the Constitutional Affairs Committee Danuta HŁbner, together with the Minister Delegate for European Affairs for the Romanian Presidency of the Council George Ciamba and Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans held a third political meeting to discuss the Commission's Proposal for an Inter-institutional Agreement on a mandatory Transparency Register.
The three institutions have been exploring ways to make interactions with interest representatives conditional upon their prior registration in the Transparency Register, in order to make registration de facto mandatory for lobbyists. Although the approaches still differ from one institution to the other, the three institutions took stock of the developments in each of them regarding the future establishment of a joint Register. They reiterated their common ambition to reach a meaningful improvement on the status quo and agreed to continue discussions.
Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "I am happy that Parliament is willing to publish meetings with lobbyists. But we really need to move to a Transparency Register for the three EU institutions which makes it de facto mandatory for lobbyists to register if they want meetings with EU decision-makers. Without help from the Parliament and Council we won't be able to achieve that. So we will continue our work on this."
Recently, the Parliament and the Council took steps to foster a stronger culture of transparency relating to their interactions with the interest representatives and the three institutions will continue working in this direction.
The negotiators agreed to continue discussions on the technical aspects of the package of instruments regarding the Transparency Register, in order to achieve a political agreement between the three institutions as soon as possible.
The European Commission presented its proposal for a new Inter-Institutional Agreement on a mandatory Transparency Register for interest representatives covering the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission on 28 September 2016. The proposal aims to strengthen the framework for transparent and ethical interactions between interest representatives and the three institutions by making meetings with lobbyist conditional on them being registered.
Since 2011, the Parliament and the Commission have jointly operated a public register for interest representatives. The Council has been an observer to the current scheme since 2014.
On 15 June 2017, the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament approved the Parliament's negotiating mandate and made it public.
The Council adopted its negotiating mandate on 6 December 2017, and also decided to make it public.
Two informal tripartite political meetings were held in 2017 ahead of the Transparency Register negotiations during the term of the Estonian Presidency. The three institutions held two negotiating rounds in 2018 under the Bulgarian Presidency and one in 2019 under the Romanian Presidency.