Details of MEPs’ attendance in parliamentary meetings will be published on the European Parliament’s website, it emerged yesterday (22 January), marking the first major development since the adoption of new guidelines on access to documents last week.
Accepting a request from Italian MEP Marco Cappato (ALDE), the Parliament’s Bureau has agreed to put online “all data” regarding attendance of MEPs in plenary and committee meetings.
The Bureau’s decision represents the first stage of the Parliament’s response to last week’s adoption of a report calling on the EU assembly to make details of MEPs’ activities at work available on its website (EURACTIV 15/01/09).
In a reply to Cappato dated 13 January, European Parliament Vice-President Diana Wallis (ALDE) – responsible for transparency issues – wrote that “information already available separately concerning members’ attendance in plenary and committee meetings should be published in collated form on the Internet site of the European Parliament before the 2009 European elections”.
Towards a ‘new era of openness’?
Hailing the development, Cappato recalled that previous attempts to publish such records had been refused, and expressed hope that yesterday’s move was an “indication of a new era of openness that will also be extended to cover information related to use of public funds such as expenses and financial interests”.
The Bureau’s decision should allow the Parliament to “implement the plenary decision to make available through search criteria on [its] website more and easily accessible information on MEPs’ activities and attendance in absolute as well as relative terms,” the ALDE member said.
The extra data should be online in time for this summer’s elections to the EU assembly in June.