April 3, 2008
It’s often claimed the EU is democratic because MEPs are elected and Council members are national representatives.
However, insiders know that there are numerous other participants in the law-making process, and some are not as visible as others.
There are lobbyists, who sometimes conceal the fact that they’re working on behalf of interest groups and businesses. There are expert groups, with members who are also seeking to promote their own interests. And there are comitology groups.
It has been persuasively claimed that these groups are so closely involved in the law-making process that they sometimes even have a say in the final wording of laws.
But who are they, and what gives them the legitimacy to do this? These questions are usually unanswered. They’re not elected, and the Commission usually refuses to identify them.
Time after time, studies show that successful states are transparent states. Closed states, by contrast, suffer problems – they’re less democratic, they suffer economically, and they are less innovative and fair.
The EU’s policy and law-making system is that of a closed state. It’s no coincidence that economic performance is poor compared to the USA.
Europe should open up its opaque system. It’s currently planning a register of lobbyists, but this will be incomplete. The expert groups are still anonymous. Comitology is poorly reported, and it’s impossible to tell how law has been influenced by vested interests.
Open Europe up!Author : EMI