Sadly the European Commission and Council have always been resistant to giving better and wider access to EU legislative documents for EU Citizens. That is why in Strasbourg last week, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the other two EU institutions to lift their opposition and resume the negotiations with the Parliament on a revision of the Regulation on Public Access to Documents.
The report was about empowering citizens to hold “Brussels” to account; not only the European Parliament, but also the Commission and the Council of Ministers. Meetings of the Council of Ministers currently take place behind closed doors. If we knew how our Ministers voted in their secret meetings, we would be able to hold them to account, in all national parliaments across the EU. Hopefully this will make the Commission and the Council stop their backstage collusion on this dossier and will actively follow up on this resolution to kick-start negotiations again as soon as possible.
You would think that UKIP, given their constant criticism of the functioning of the EU, would have welcomed this move. However, UKIP refused to support transparent EU decision making on Thursday, by abstaining on the resolution.
In the same week, UKIP MEPs refused to support encouragement for all member states to establish a lobbying register, in a report on corruption, money laundering and organised crime. UKIP abstained on the paragraph which “encourages governments and public administrations to make registration in a lobby register a precondition for a meeting with a business-, interest-, or lobby-organisation”. On 3rd June, Nigel Farage wrote in the Guardian that UKIP would ‘clean up politics’ by demanding that all lobbying and donations to politicians be clearly registered. UKIP are proving once again that they are more about grandstanding than actually trying to make a difference.