No more backroom deals: EM Germany Telegram on Trilogues and Better Regulation
Secret deals behind closed doors damage democracy: backroom cronyism has always had a bad reputation among the general public. Nevertheless shortened procedures, so-called informal trilogues – supposedly reserved for “urgent cases” – have long been commonplace in EU legislative processes. What does Germany’s biggest pro-European network think of this? This EM Germany Telegram on better regulation contains quotes and viewpoints from our member organisations.
+++EM Germany’s President Wend: Performance enhancement for EU legislation+++
While EU Ombudswoman Emily O’Reilly hosts a discussion on trilogues and transparent law-making, EM Germany President Dr. Rainer Wend comments on her recently opened inquiry, a health-check of the EU’s immune system. With regard to the „performance-enhancing“ informal trilogues “ask your MEPS about the risks and side-effects” Wend warns. If over 90% of EU laws are passed in the backrooms of trilogues then according to Wend “the EU will degenerate into an efficient but intransparent legislative machine which will ultimately only play into the hands of populist scaremongerers. What we need is more parliamentary democracy and transparent competition. Precisely because of the current crises.” (read more)
+++Manuel Sarrazin: Highest level of transparency+++
“Public and transparent legislative processes are elementary components of any democracy. The positions and compromises of legislative actors should therefore be comprehensible to all citizens” says MP Manuel Sarrazin, spokesman on European policy for the Alliance 90/Greens parliamentary group and a member of the EM Germany Executive Board. He wants to limit trilogue proceedings to particularly urgent cases. (read more)
+++Gabriele Bischoff: European legislation needs full democratic participation+++
Gabriele Bischoff, Commissioner of the German Trade Union for the ETUC, EESC and EU-Reform, also wants trilogues to be strictly limited to cases of emergency. As a member of the EM Germany Executive Board she is responsible for EM Germany’s political demands for transparency in the ordinary legislative procedure and states: “European legislation needs transparency and full democratic participation”. (read more)
+++Federation of German Industry (BDI): Quality control by independent experts+++
The Federation of German Industry welcomes the European Commission package on better regulation as an “important step towards improving the quality of European laws,” according to Holger Lösch, a member of the BDI Executive Board. He advocates independent expertise and participation in order to achieve “streamlined and efficient regulation” for the EU internal market. “Effects of planned measures should be examined by independent experts and not by those who develop them. There needs to be more political courage shown by creating a supervisory body for all three institutions” he asserts. (read more)
+++Claus Weselsky: First transparency vanishes, then trust+++
The federal chairman of the German Train Drivers Union (GDL), Claus Weselsky, denounces the erosion of democratic principles: “GDL observes with concern how implicit and explicit democratic principles are increasingly being eroded and undermined precisely by political institutions and politicians. First transparency vanishes, followed by public trust.” The GDL therefore supports EM Germany’s initiative on better regulation. “On the European level we are calling for a return to the ordinary legislative procedure and for use of trilogues only in exceptional cases.” (read more)
+++Consumer Federation sees overarching responsibility of EP+++
The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv) has framed its demands on transparent legislative processes and on Trilogue 2014 in the broader context of a Europe Paper. It views the European Parliament as having the overarching responsibility for “allowing itself the time to conduct a full legislative procedure” and in the event of a trilogue as responsible for making public the hearing dates, documents and persons involved. (read more)
+++Union of European Federalists – German section: Anomaly in urgent need of correction+++
Trilogue as a dialogue within the institutions makes sense – but only for urgent matters. This is the line of the German UEF section according to Secretary-General Christian Moos (also a member of the EM Germany Executive Board). “That a shortened legislative process by means of trilogues has today become the norm is a democratic anomaly. This is in urgent need of correction. This practice may increase the standing of individual rapporteurs in the Parliament. The Parliament as a whole loses importance as a result. (read more)
+++dbb wants participation, thoroughness and transparency+++
The dbb Civil Service and Tariff Union calls for a European legislative procedure which meets “the high democratic standards of participation, transparency and thoroughness”. “The so-called trilogue process may be the right remedy of choice in urgent matters. Should it be used, more comprehensive and open information must be made available to interested members of the public on the progress of the talks.” (read more)
+++Jo Leinen: Not at the expense of fundamental principles of the EU+++
“Informal trilogues must not be at the expense of democracy, transparency and civil society participation in the legislative process,” says Jo Leinen MEP, President of the EM Germany umbrella organisation European Movement International. These are “fundamental principles of the EU, which are enshrined in the Treaties”. Leinen calls for the introduction of applicability criteria for trilogues in order to limit the number of trilogues to necessary cases. He sees the Council of Ministers as having the most to catch up on. “The European Parliament and the European Commission are already ensuring that their positions in negotiations are publicly available, unlike the Council.” (read more)
+++Debate on Monday+++
On 28 September Jorgo Riss, Greenpeace Europe, and Vicky Marissen, PACT European Affairs will discuss “Trilogues and transparent law-making” at the invitation of the EU Ombudswoman.
From 10 am livestream from Brussels
Follow the debate on Twitter with the hashtag #trilogues
+++ More on this topic +++
- EM Germany’s political demands on transparency through ordinary legislative procedure and better regulation
- At the end of May, the EU Ombudswoman launched an investigation into transparent legislation processes and trilogues and addressed a letter to the presidents of the participating institutions (European Parliament, European Council and European Commission). In it she asks for clarification on twelve questions and to access to files by 30 September. The spokeswoman for the EU Ombudswoman, Gundi Gadesmann told EM Germany that results are not expected until the autumn.
- Description of the ordinary legislative procedure on the website of the European Parliament, also as a diagram
- On 19 May, the European Commission adopted the EU agenda on better regulation. It aims to boost “openness and transparency in the EU decision-making process, improve the quality of new laws through better impact assessments of draft legislation and amendments, and promote constant and consistent review of existing EU laws, so that EU policies achieve their objectives in the most effective and efficient way”.