European Ombudsman recommends measures for transparency and balanced representation inEuropean Commission expert groups27 January 2015
The European Ombudsman has launched an own-initiative inquiry concerning the composition of European Commission expert groups. On 27 January 2015 the Ombudsman has addressed a letter to the Commission President informing him of the findings of the inquiry and the results of the conducted public consultation on the issue.
According to the European Ombudsman the goal of achieving a balanced composition of Commission expert groups is a complex and challenging task. Nevertheless, the key role played by these groups in contributing to the development of EU legislation and policy makes clear that every effort should be made so that the public can scrutinise and trust their work.
The Ombudsman recommends that framework for Commission expert groups is made legally bindingby adopting a Commission decision on the horizontal rules governing expert groups. The balanced representation of all relevant interests should be a mandatory requirement. The Commission should publish a call for applications for every expert group.
Furthermore, given that registration in the Transparency Register is already a prerequisite for membership of certain Commission expert groups, and given also that it is expected that a mandatory Transparency Register will be introduced in the near future, the Commission should use the Transparency Register’s categorisation to categorise members in Commission expert groups.Moreover, in light of the working methods of the new Commission and the anticipated mandatory Transparency Register, the Commission’s horizontal rules for expert groups should require registration in the Transparency Register for appointment to expert groups.
The Commission is invited to provide its reflections on the recommendations of the European Ombudsman by 30 April 2015.
The full text of the letter can be accessed here: