Over three years ago, the European Parliament – by an overwhelming majority – called on the Commission to present legislation that would improve the openness, efficiency and independence of the EU administration. Since the Commission has so far failed to act on this demand, members of the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee, led by Greens/EFA MEP Heidi Hautala, have taken it into their own hands to draft a regulation.
If adopted, the regulation on open, efficient and independent EU administration would make it easier for citizens and businesses to interact with the EU institutions by providing them with effective, foreseeable and accessible procedures that are clear and coherent. The Parliament expects the Commission to consider the proposal and come forward with a legislative proposal in its work programme for the year 2017.
“Currently, every EU institution plus the 48 agencies have their own administrative rules, so it is no wonder that the EU is sometimes seen as an overly bureaucratic and complex institution. This regulation would put a stop to the endless transfer of citizens from one institution to another, and would strengthen the rule of law and citizens’ legal protection”, MEP Heidi Hautala emphasises.
To enhance transparency and equal treatment of citizens and companies, the regulation would oblige EU officials to give clear and understandable arguments for their decisions, to enact time-lines for handling the issues, and to make sure relevant witnesses and experts to cases are heard.
Crucially, the regulation would oblige all officials to abstain from participating in any procedure if they have a personal interest that could impair their impartiality. This includes direct or indirect family or financial interests, and would go a long way to curbing cases of conflicts of interest within the EU administration.
Prevention of conflicts of interest also extends to outside experts the EU institutions often rely upon during the decision-making process. This has raised much controversy in recent years, particularly due to accusations of conflicts of interest, opacity and lack of balance.
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