03 July 2018
BLOOM requests access to Trilogue documents
03 July 2018
Since March 2018, several ‘Trilogue’ meetings on the Technical Measures Regulation have taken place in complete institutional opacity (see ‘To go further’). As a result, it is hard for NGOs and the civil society to follow these negotiations.
An important table, the 4-column document, summarizes the current state of the negotiations and describes the Commission’s proposal, the Parliament’s orientation, the amendments that might have been suggested by the Council internal bodies and, if existing, suggested draft compromises. A recent ruling by the European Court of Justice stated that this 4-column document should be made public on demand, given that Trilogue negotiations constitute a “decisive stage in the legislative process, which entails exemplary adherence to the public’s right to access that work“.
Building on this important ruling, BLOOM requested on 7 June 2018 access to the 4-column documents of the ongoing codecision procedure on the Technical Measures Regulation. This access request was addressed to both the European Parliament and the Council, and was made before the suspension of the negotiations by the Parliament on 21 June 2018.
This document, if made available, would represent a unique opportunity to understand the negotiation process, bottlenecks, and the state of the discussions on the electric fishing dossier. The deadline for replying to our request expired 15 working days later, on 28 June 2018, but both the European Parliament and the Council extended this time-limit by another 15 working days, i.e. respectively on 19 and 20 July 2018. The Parliament explained that “the external and internal consultation process for the relevant documents and the fact that the detailed analysis of all legal aspects linked to the possible disclosure of the relevant documents are still ongoing“.
To go further
Negotiations on the fate of electric fishing — as part of the Technical Measures Regulation to implement the objectives set forth by the Common Fisheries Policy — started on 19 March 2018. These negotiations, known as ‘Trilogue’ take place between the Council of the EU (the 28 EU fisheries ministers), the European Parliament, and the European Commission through the ordinary legislative ‘codecision’ procedure. Trilogues consist of informal meetings taking place behind closed doors. Such closed-door negotiations play now a key role in the European legislative process.
The European Parliament is represented by a formal rapporteur on the text, in this case the Spanish European People’s Party (EPP) Gabriel Mato, as well as one ‘shadow rapporteur’ from each other political group:
- Renata Briano (S&D, Italy),
- Peter Van Dalen (ECR, The Netherlands),
- Nils Torvalds (ALDE, Finland),
- Liadh Ní Riada (GUE/NGL, Ireland),
- Rosa D’Amato (EFDD, Italy), and
- Marco Affronte (Greens/EFA, Italy).