Transparency Deutschland and VCI call for a transparent representation of interests
Germany needs new legislation for a transparent representation of interests ++ A mandatory transparency register and a code of conduct for lobbyists are essential ++ A legislative footprint needs to document the interests that influence the development of new legislation ++ The role of a lobbying commissioner should be introduced.
Joint Press Release by:
Berlin, 17 April 2018 – In a joint key issues paper (Eckpunktepapier) the anti-corruption organisation Transparency Deutschland and the German chemical industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) are advocating a transparent representation of interests: German Parliament (Bundestag) and the federal government are called upon to launch an “interest representation act” in the current legislative period. Transparency Deutschland and the VCI urge to equally disclose the influence of all actors on the legislative process. It should be shown which lobbying organisations are involved in the preparation of new law and which interests are taken into account or not in their weighing by German Parliament and the federal government.
Transparency register and code of conduct
The cornerstones of a transparent interest representation include, inter alia, a comprehensive and mandatory lobbying register for all players. This register must be complemented by a binding code of conduct. Edda Müller, chair of Transparency Deutschland, states: “Clear and fair rules are needed for lobbyism. The new federal government and parliament should counteract the impression that just a small number of interests, together with those in government power, determine the fate of people in Germany.” VCI director-general Utz Tillmann emphasizes: “We are speaking for new legislation that brings about a transparent interest representation – as we are convinced that transparency and plausibility are ensured only if clear-cut rules apply for all.”
According to both organisations, the transparency register should provide information about the fields of activity of registered interest groups and give details on the amounts and origin of funds deployed for interest representation. Furthermore, the transparency register should be managed and published in an easily legible form on the website of German Parliament. With their entry in the transparency register, the interest representatives accept the code of conduct including relevant sanctions.
Legislative footprint and online consultation
In order to bring about transparency on influence exerted in the early phase of the legislative procedure, such influence should be documented in the cabinet bill: expressed in a “legislative footprint”. Also, the rationale of draft legislation should state which interests were heard in the preparation of new law and whether and to what extent they are reflected in the law text.
Moreover, Transparency Deutschland and the VCI recommend online consultation as an additional standard feature in the hearing of interests. They see this approach, which has already brought good results at EU level, as a sound solution in the era of digitalisation. Evidently, the European model should be adapted to the situation in Germany.
The role of lobbying commissioner should be introduced
Transparency Deutschland and the VCI propose to appoint a “lobbying commissioner” (Lobbybeauftrager) who should become active at her/his own initiative in a neutral and non-partisan role. These should be her/his main functions: monitoring the implementation of the interest representation act, managing the lobbying register, elaborating proposals for sanctions, submitting a lobbying report in regular intervals.
However, Transparency Deutschland and the VCI take different stances on the appointment for this position: Transparency Deutschland suggests to newly create the role of a lobbying commissioner in the interest representation act, empowering the commissioner to exercise a control function over both German Parliament and the federal government, regarding the implementation of the interest representation act – while the VCI would like the federal president to fill this role, i.e. the federal president is impartial, represents German Parliament (Bundestag) vis-à-vis the federal government and the chamber of parliament representing the federal states (Bundesrat) and presides over the Bundestag administration.
Concerning the administrative aspects of implementation, Transparency Deutsch-land and the VCI share the view that an office for interest representation issues should be set up at the Bundestag administration, in order to support the lobbying commissioner’s work.
You will find the Key Issue Paper for a Transparent Representation of Interests ("Eckpunktepapier"; in German language) as a PDF file in the download section at the top of this page. Also available the download section are the statements of Utz Tillmann and Edda Müller (both in German language).
Transparency International Deutschland e.V. works nationwide for an effective and sustainable fight against and the reduction of corruption.
Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI)
The VCI represents the politico-economic interests of around 1,700 German chemical companies and German subsidiaries of foreign businesses. For this purpose, the VCI is in contact with politicians, public authorities, other industries, science and media. The VCI stands for more than 90 percent of the chemical industry in Germany. In 2017 the German chemical industry realised sales of ca. 196 billion euros and employed over 453,000 staff.
Transparency International Deutschland e.V.
Professor Dr. Edda Müller, Chair
Dr. Anna-Maija Mertens, Managing Director
Phone: 030 - 54 98 98 0
VCI – Verband der Chemischen Industrie e.V. (VCI)
VCI Press Department
Phone: 069 - 25 56 14 96