Transparency is a key-element of democracy which the European Union does not really seem to care about. It makes politics understandable for those who are affected by it. It gains trust between the politicians as represenatatives and the citizens. It prevents undemocratic decision-making as in few powerful lobbyists who secretely influence political decisions for more than 450 million people. In the past years the EU seemed to have ambitions to become more transparent and established a lobby resgister, but this has large issues: It is not mandatory for everyone and those who want to have privileges, which makes it mandatory for them to register, can easily circumvent this. As one of my interview partners Nico Semsrott said “It´s a typical poltical compromise. The progressives, want to have rules and want them checked and teh conservatives don´t want anything. So the compromise would be, what we actually have, some rules but nobody checks whether they are in force.” This makes transparency a rather missing element in EU politics.
While being in the “capital of the EU” in Brussels, I talked to a member of the European parliament, who volunatarily is very transparent, and an employee of “transparency international”, who tries to influence European politics to become more transparent, about the EU´s issues on transparency in the context of lobbying and political influences. You can listen to the interviews in this podcast here: