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Citizens need to know more about expert groups’ advice to Commission

Institutional news -

The European Ombudsman welcomed the progress made since May 2014 during her inquiry regarding the composition of expert groups but has asked the European Commission further to improve the transparency of its 800 plus expert groups by publishing comprehensive minutes of their meetings. 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 (…); 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.”

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