(14 May 2014) – The European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, has opened an investigation on her own initiative into the composition and transparency of the Commission’s expert groups.
As a first step, she is asking interested persons and organisations for feedback on how balanced the representation of relevant areas of expertise and interest is in different groups, how transparent the groups are and how well the application procedures work.
Emily O’Reilly explained: “The Commission relies heavily on the advice of hundreds of expert groups to draw up legislation and policy, covering areas from tax and banking services, to road safety and pharmaceuticals. It is of utmost importance for these groups to be balanced and to work as transparently as possible so that the public can trust and scrutinise their work.”
The Commission (DG AGRI) is currently setting up 14 “civil dialogue groups” which will serve as advisory bodies for the common agricultural policy. More than a third of the EU’s budget goes into this crucial policy area. The Ombudsman has therefore opened a specific investigation into the composition of these groups to guarantee a balanced representation of the wide range of economic and non-economic interest groups.