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#Ombudsman Burgers moeten meer weten over het advies van deskundigengroepen aan de Commissie

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Emily O REILLYThe European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, welcomed the progress made so far during her inquiry but has asked the European Commission further to improve the transparency of its 800 plus expert groups by publishing comprehensive minutes of their meetings.

de Ombudsman geopend een strategisch onderzoek naar de samenstelling van deskundigengroepen in mei 2014. Op basis van de resultaten van een daaropvolgende openbare raadpleging deed zij een reeks eerste voorstellen aan de Commissie. De vandaag gepubliceerde aanbevelingen zijn bedoeld om de resterende transparantieproblemen aan te pakken als het gaat om publieke controle van deskundigengroepen.

The Ombudsman’s strategic inquiry concluded that the Commission should publish meeting agendas and background documents in advance, while minutes should normally include the positions expressed by group members and be published in a timely manner. This will enable citizens to see more clearly how expert advice feeds into EU policy-making. An expert group’s deliberations may be kept confidential but only if objectively justified.

Emily O’Reilly stated: “The European Commission is right to consult widely when it draws up proposals for policy and legislation, seeking the best possible expertise. Much progress has been made since we started our inquiry; however citizens have a right to know fully how expert advice feeds into EU decision-making. This entails knowing what input has been given and by whom, whether by national representatives, industry, civil society or others. Making this kind of information public will help ensure expert groups are viewed as legitimate.”

Terwijl de Commissie veel belangrijke en welkome zaken heeft aangekondigd stappen to improve the management of its expert groups during the course of this inquiry – such as making the selection procedure for expert group members more transparent and overhauling its conflict of interest policy – the Ombudsman has several suggestions to further build on this progress.

They include that the Commission draw up a definition of balance when it comes to expert group composition. This will ensure a rigorous internal approach to composing the groups as well as allow the public to see the reasoning behind the selection of a group’s members. She also suggests that individual experts make annual declarations of interests and that documents on expert groups’ – and their subgroups’ – work be published systematically and in a timely manner.

De Ombudsman heeft de Commissie gevraagd om vóór 30 april 2016 uit te leggen hoe zij van plan is haar aanbevelingen op te volgen.

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