EU abandons restrictions on the lobbying of MEPs

The European Parliament has ditched new rules that had the effect of denying many UK charities the chance to lobby MEPs.

Since April, access to the European Parliament has been limited to organisations with a permanent base in Brussels, following a change to internal rules by EU officials. But after a campaign by members of the NCVO's Eurogroup network and lobbying by civil society organisation Act4Europe, the restrictions have been lifted.

The Eurogroup argued that charities had been put at a disadvantage compared with private sector companies that could afford to employ Brussels-based political consultants to carry out lobbying activities.

Nolan Quigley, the NCVO's European and international officer, said: "We are delighted the EU Parliament has decided to abandon this rule, which penalised voluntary sector organisations. UK-based voluntary sector campaigners are making their voices heard on a wide range of issues on which the Parliament has voting powers. This shows that campaigning at EU level can produce results."

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