Diplomats in the Italian Permanent Representation to the EU will meet lobbyists only if they’re enrolled in the EU’s transparency register.
Italy’s PermRep will also publish the agenda of the meetings with the stakeholders on its website, as part of the new transparency plan adopted on a voluntary basis.
Similar measures have so far only been taken by Germany, Romania, the Netherlands, Croatia and Finland, while it remains a standard procedure for the rotating EU presidencies.
“Italy has chosen transparency in its relations with the lobbies – an important political choice,” Italian Ambassador Maurizio Massari said at the launch event of the initiative.
Italy’s Foreign Affairs undersecretary, Manlio Di Stefano, said it is the first step in the drive for greater transparency in decisions taken at the European Council.
He also added that there is a need to guarantee access to documents during the EU summits to ensure that the position of each member state is known by EU citizens.
Italy-based nonprofit civic start-up The Good Lobby was behind the initiative. Its director Alberto Alemanno said transparency is not an end in itself but a tool for citizens to know more about what happens in the EU institutions and get involved.
“As in tango, it takes two to lobby and we’ve been regulating only one dancer so far,” said Alemanno, hinting at the fact that even institutions have to do their parts in granting more transparency.