The European Parliament’s recent vote in favour of reforming the EU lobby register shows a sincere approach to improving legislative transparency, a reform badly needed after a string of high profile scandals. The decision sees the merging of the European Parliament and European Commission’s separate lobby registers, and provides a golden opportunity to reform the EU’s lax lobbying oversight procedures. Most importantly, European citizens should finally gain a better understanding of this opaque industry’s influence on the laws emerging from Brussels.
The new Hungarian Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers has successfully shifted attention to Eastern Europe. However, so far, the focus has been for all the wrong reasons. After just two weeks at the helm, Hungary has set the Presidency on a very different course to its Belgian predecessor, clashed horns with EU heavy-weights France and Germany and rolled out a ‘welcome mat’ (a series of ‘carpet maps’ in the Council of the European Union building) that harps back to the Hungarian empire.