ALTER-EU commentary on progress in reforming Expert Groups (in advance of the Informal Dialogue between members of the European Parliament and the European Commission)
Two explanatory footnotes have been added to the revised version of ALTER-EU's commentary in light of seeing the Commission's own State of Play from 28 February 2013, which has now been made public by ALTER-EU but was not previously.
In November 2011 the European Parliament imposed a budget reserve on committees, asking the Commission to “modify the rules on expert groups” according to four conditions: 1. balanced composition; 2. ban lobbyists sitting in a personal capacity; 3. common selection criteria and public calls for applications; 4. full transparency. When the European Parliament lifted the budget reserve in September 2012, MEPs agreed
in a meeting with the Commission (5/9/2012) to establish an informal dialogue to explore ways to avoid a lengthy process of changing the horizontal rules, “as long as the necessary changes and clarifications are being implemented by all DGs of the EC.” Before the budget reserve was lifted, the Commission released a 'state of play' (06/09/2012), outlining where it thought the problem lay, and steps it was taking to meet the Parliament's conditions. However, ALTER-EU’s response (16/10/12) highlighted that the Commission had missed problematic expert groups and suggested concrete steps for improving the situation.