Categories
Legal reform Practice

EU Ombudsman puts pressure on the Commission to improve transparency of expert groups

EU Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, has recently demanded improvements in the Commission’s practice of consulting Expert Groups. Among other things, the Ombudsman has demanded legally binding rules to improve transparency and a balanced composition of the Commission expert groups. This recent initiative is part of the Ombudsman’s ongoing investigation into the systemic issues of the Commission’s practice in this area, which was opened in May 2014. It also adds to the transparency demands already expressed by the European Parliament last year.

The key demands put forward by the Ombudsman are:

  • The adoption of a legally binding horizontal framework for expert groups modeled upon the framework used by Directorate General’s AGRI for civil dialogue groups
  • The publication of a call for applications for every expert group
  • Stronger links and consistency with the EU Transparency Register
  • The revision of the Commission’s conflict of interest policy to avoid potential conflict of interest of experts who are appointed in their personal capacity
  • The provision of better and more timely information about the expert groups

If realized, this would be an interesting new development on the way to concretizing the concept of good administration in the EU. It remains to be seen, however, whether the Commission will be willing to abandon its until present “soft” rule-making approach regarding the consultation of expert groups. Among ACELG researchers Dr. Joana Mendes has been advocating the hardening of rules on participation in Commission rule-making.

This contribution previously appeared on the ACELG blog.

 

Categories
Research

Open Government in the EU group researcher guest editor of special transparency issue IRAS

Dr. Albert Meijer of the Open Government in the EU research team has edited the latest edition of the International Review of Administrative Sciences which goes by the title: “Government transparency: creating clarity in a confusing conceptual debate”.

The IRAS special issue is the fruit of a symposium on government transparency that was held at the Utrecht School of Governance in November 2010. It contains various articles by leading transparency researchers such as David Heald (Aberdeen, Scotland), Alasdair Roberts (Suffolk, USA), and Eric Welch (Chicago), but also holds contributions from an active community of transparency researchers at the Utrecht School of Governance.

The special issue approaches transparency research from various angles such as through a conceptual meta-analysis (Meijer, Curtin, Hillebrandt), experimental results (Grimmelikhuijsen), participative government (Welch), public expenditure (Heald), and parliamentary oversight (Brandsma). It can be viewed here, or through your institution’s online library.

Categories
Research

Public Matters: Government Transparency

This year, the Utrecht School of Governance (USG) celebrates its tenth anniversary. As part of the festive programme which has been taking place throughout 2010, the USG will hold a conference synthesising past interests and achievements of the department, while also looking into future fields of research. All of this will take place on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 November of this year, under the suitable and multi-interpretable name of “Public Matters”.

The Open Government in the EU project will also be represented at this conference, organising a workshop on “Government Transparency”.  At this workshop, the ongoing transparency research at Utrecht University and other Dutch universities will be presented. Moreover, three renowned international academics in the field of transparency research have been invited to present papers on their recent research work in this field.