The place of the lobbys in the National Assembly again in debate

A project to reform the Palais Bourbon's internal regulations wants to reinforce the control of "representatives of interests".

By Manon Rescan Posted today at 18:30

Time to Reading 3 min.

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Lobbying and conflict of interest issues are coming up twice this week in the House of Commons. As part of the project to reform the rules of procedure of the National Assembly, first. The text, which begins Wednesday, May 15 in committee, includes a section on ethics that completes the implementation of the law of moralisation of public life, adopted more than a year and a half ago, and that of the Sapin 2 law, adopted in 2016.

The draft resolution formalises, inter alia, optional mechanisms for the prevention of conflicts of interest. When MPs consider themselves in such a situation, they can either make an oral declaration of interest or even choose to "deport", that is, not to participate in discussions. The reform of the regulation establishes the existence of a public register registering these steps.

"The text goes even further: it proposes that elected officials refrain from seeking the post of rapporteur of a law in case of risk of conflict of interest and that oral statements of interest appear on the record of the proceedings", notes Elsa Foucraut of Transparency International, who salutes "A good signal".

Read also Emmanuel Macron's half-hearted commitments on the "moralization of public life"

The reform proposal also reinforces the role of the Assembly's ethics officer, a position currently held by Professor of Public Law Agnès Roblot-Troizier. The enrichment of the legislation in this area has broadened the scope of this function since 2016. At the beginning of the five-year period, its resources were strengthened. In his first report published in January, Mme Roblot-Troizier asked that they be further amplified in view of the magnitude of the task. The reform of the regulation thus recalls that it is also responsible for monitoring compliance with the code of conduct for lobbyists set by the Sapin 2 law.

"A real step forward"

The issue of lobbying will be on the agenda of a two-day conference which will be held in the Assembly from Wednesday. MoDem MP Sylvain Waserman – who is also the rapporteur for the draft regulation reform – is in the process of initiating another report on the subject. On Wednesday, he organizes a "citizen digital workshop" on lobbying. Everyone can, from a link posted on its website, participate in exchanges and enrich future regulations in this area.

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