European Parliament supports SP proposal to freeze budget for expert groups

29 September 2014

European Parliament supports SP proposal to freeze budget for expert groups

The European Parliament Budget Committee today lent its support to the SP proposal to freeze part of the moneys for the nine hundred expert groups, the European Commission’s advisory bodies. Explaining the motive behind the proposal, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said, ‘For years now, during informal negotiations with the Commission, I’ve tried to get these expert groups to be more evenly balanced. We’ve made absolutely no progress on this, but the Commission has created the impression amongst social organisations that this dialogue would be ended after the elections. Today the European Parliament has let it be known that this isn’t acceptable. I believe that in a few weeks the plenary meeting of the EP will confirm this decision. Then the Commission will have nowhere to hide.’

The European Parliament has frozen the moneys for these advisory bodies before, in 2011. At the time that helped to set in motion the informal negotiations. ‘Precisely because I had then brought together a network of like-minded MEPs who wanted to conduct this informal dialogue with the Commission, we succeeded, in exchange for the freeing up of the moneys, in having a serious discussion about reducing the influence of major corporations in the expert groups. The like-minded group of MEPs is much bigger in the new Parliament and my proposal to give it an official status within the EP has been well-received. So we are also ready to discuss with the Commission how consumer organisations, environmental groups, trade unions and bodies representing small- and medium-sized businesses can be given better access to the expert groups. The chances that the Commission will bring forward more even-handed proposals have grown, because these advisory bodies are often in on the ground floor when it comes to new laws.’

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