The Euclid Network, which supports voluntary sector leaders across Europe, has welcomed proposals by the European Commission to make lobbying more transparent, but has called for greater clarification on how the plans will affect charities.
After a period of consultation on the European Transparency Initiative, the commission has recommended a voluntary register of interests for all lobbyists.
However, the network is calling for the commission to provide greater clarification because, although NGOs are specifically mentioned with regard to the register of interests, the proposed code of conduct does not include a specific category for third sector organisations.
The network has asked what kind of sanctions would be applied in the event of incorrect registration or breach of the code.
The commission also said the register would become a way to select and award organisations with special access and funding. But Filippo Addarii, director of the network, said the plans to introduce incentives remain unclear.
“Lobbyists must register their funding sources and their aims and objectives, which will mean that rogue agencies and the ‘fake civil society’ are weeded out,” he said. “These steps towards accountability and openness will build trust among third sector organisations.
“However, if the commission does not make clear what the sanctions and incentives are, how can we sign up? For this to work, obvious sticks and carrots are needed.”
The consultation period closed on Friday, and the commission aims to have the new code ratified by June 2008.