Yana Toom: “A more transparent European Council is crucial for accountability”
Today, Members of the European Parliament strongly called for a more transparent European Council. Almost two years ago, the European Ombudsman opened an inquiry on the transparency of the Council and concluded that the current practice in the Council constitute maladministration, especially when it comes to the failure of the Council to register the positions of the Member States.
Co-Rapporteur MEP Yana Toom said today: “This is problematic for the European Parliament but also for the media, and even for national Parliaments which are sometimes informed too late about decisions taken in the Council, if at all. Moreover, it makes it easier for some Member States to blame ‘Brussels’ for decisions they might actually have carried on Council level.”
“The role of the institutions has changed over time. The Council and the Parliament are co-legislators now; therefore, their practices should be conducted in a similar way. The Parliament has become more transparent. All Committee meetings are open, all reports, minutes and amendments are available. The positions of Members are clear. It is therefore only a logical step that the same applies to the Council.”
The Council never replied to the Ombudsman’s conclusions and recommendations on how to improve its legislative process. It is against this backdrop that MEPs have expressed today their support for the European Ombudsman and have called on the Council to finally take on her recommendations.
Yana Toom: “It clearly says in the treaties that decisions should be taken as close to the citizens as possible. This means that all institutions have the obligation to be open and transparent. This is crucial for accountability, particularly in times of increasing populism. Our house stands with the European Ombudsman and for a transparent democratic process.”
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