Recent days have seen a wave of criticism against the new Commission’s transparency initiative.
EU Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, has recently demanded improvements in the Commission’s practice of consulting Expert Groups.
Nearly a year and a half after its drafting, on 9 October 2014, the Council declassified and disclose the Commission’s negotiating mandate for the free trade talks with the United States better known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
The disclosure comes after much public controversy that accompanied the various rounds of talks that have taken place up until now, in spite of the document being leaked at an early stage. Various MEPs, the European Ombudsman, and outgoing Commissioner for trade De Gucht criticised the Council for keeping it under the fold. In its annual transparency report, the EP renewed its pledge to do all in its power to “ensure that future trade negotiations, and in particular the on-going negotiations with the US […] were more transparent and open for stakeholder involvement” (p. 12). The decision to disclose the document at long last has been met with praise by various actors.
The European institutions must provide more openness concerning their decision making and transfers of civil servants to the private sector, European Ombudsman O’Reilly stated at the presentation of her annual report for 2013. [In Dutch, translation here]