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Transparency and openness in European institutions

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 13548 | 25 June 2014

Mr Jim DOBBIN, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Ferdinando AIELLO, Italy, SOC ; Ms Ingrid ANTIČEVIĆ MARINOVIĆ, Croatia, SOC ; Mr Michael CONNARTY, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Manlio DI STEFANO, Italy, NR ; Mr Claudio FAZZONE, Italy, EPP/CD ; Ms Ute FINCKH-KRÄMER, Germany, SOC ; Mr Francesco Maria GIRO, Italy, EPP/CD ; Mr Antti KAIKKONEN, Finland, ALDE ; Mr Miroslav KREJČA, Czech Republic, EPP/CD ; Ms Guguli MAGRADZE, Georgia, SOC ; Ms Melita MULIĆ, Croatia, SOC ; Mr Luis Alberto ORELLANA, Italy, ALDE ; Ms Sandra OSBORNE, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Vincenzo SANTANGELO, Italy, NR ; Mr Kimmo SASI, Finland, EPP/CD ; Mr Senad ŠEPIĆ, Bosnia and Herzegovina, EPP/CD ; Mr Jim SHERIDAN, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Oleksandr SHEVCHENKO, Ukraine, NR ; Ms Maria Edera SPADONI, Italy, NR ; Mr Egidijus VAREIKIS, Lithuania, EPP/CD ; Dame Angela WATKINSON, United Kingdom, EDG ; Mr Morten WOLD, Norway, EDG

Corruption, abuse, special favours and hidden influences thrive when there is a lack of transparency in institutions and society. For example, recent scandals in financial markets, conflicts of interest and corruption in the drug and food industries show the need for better systems than currently exist.

Transparency International’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer report found:

  • Bribery is widespread;
  • public institutions entrusted to protect people suffer the worst levels of bribery;
  • governments are not thought to be doing enough to hold the corrupt to account;
  • the democratic pillars of societies are viewed as the most corrupt.
An October 2013 report from Corporate Europe on the influence of vested interests in the food industry concluded “Over half of the 209 scientists sitting on the [EFSA] agency’s panels have direct or indirect ties with the industries they are meant to regulate” and proposed measures to be implemented. The Transparency International survey also found that in a significant number of European countries, between 55 and 70% of people surveyed thought that government was run by a few big interests.

If people are to trust and have confidence in their politicians and civil servants then there must be robust procedures and systems in place.

The Parliamentary Assembly should look into this issue in depth and draw up a report addressing issues such as the following:

  • all research into a product or service is made available including when it is not favourable;
  • there are strict rules to prevent a ‘revolving door’ policy between civil servants and industries they are meant to regulate;
  • conflicts of interest are always carefully scrutinized and prohibited where they occur;
  • the Assembly should study the measures that the European Commission and other expert bodies have issued.