[P]arliament's president Jerzy Buzek last week announced a seven-point plan designed to address the issue. Alter-EU said the proposals for the European commission to draft legislation for a legally binding mandatory lobby register, and new parliamentary measures to secure interim de facto mandatory transparency are welcomed. However, it said that "concerns remain about the lack of clear" measures.
A spokesman said, "Most of the seven points announced are problem areas or options, rather than concrete steps to long overdue improvements in transparency and ethics." He said the step to require lobbyists to register on a daily basis, instead of year-passes, will "not bring the highly needed information regarding the lobby process."
On several issues, Alter-EU says the parliament's reform plans are "clearly insufficient." "Several important problem areas are missing from the seven point plan." Alter-EU says there should be "strict limits" on gifts and hospitality received by industry lobbyists. "These points must be included in the upcoming code of conduct for MEPs.
The work on developing concrete transparency and ethics reforms will be taken forward in a new working group consisting of MEPs. "The composition of this working group will be of crucial importance for the reform process to succeed. It must therefore be composed of MEPs free of conflicts of interest and with a proven record of ambitiously improving EU ethics."