On September 9, 2020, the Irish Standards in Public Office Commission hosted the third annual meeting of the European Lobbying Registrars’ Network. The meeting was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic but another one might happen in Scotland next year if the health situation improves.
Representatives of the Catalan, French, Irish, Lithuanian, Scottish registers, and of the joint secretariat of the European Union Transparency Register shared their approach to the crisis and discussed the impact the COVID-19 had on their lobbying regulation mission. Some members noted an increase in lobbying activity towards public officials during this period as well as the use of several online communication channels. Some have suspended controls and postponed the deadlines for declaring lobbying activities, but experiences were mixed on the compliance rate observed so far.
The Network also welcomed two new members, Finland and Slovenia. Finland, on one hand, is currently preparing a draft law on a lobbying transparency register, which is expected to enter into force in 2023. Slovenia, on the other hand, already has an anti-corruption law including lobbying transparency measures but which might be improved in the fall.
Finally, the meeting was an opportunity to discuss the change of secretariat of the Network. In April 2021, after three years at the head of the Network, Ireland will hand over this responsibility to France. The High Authority welcomes such a role and warmly thanks the members for their trust.