On 30th May 2016, the European Commission officially adopted the Decision “Establishing horizontal rules on the creation and operation of Commission expert groups” that modifies the last Decision, which was adopted in 2005.

The document is binding on all Commission departments and provides a single set of rules and principles aimed at increasing transparency, avoiding conflict of interest and ensuring a balanced representation of interests.
An expert group is a consultative body set up by the Commission or its departments when they need specialist advice from outside experts in order to prepare legislative proposals and policy initiatives or delegated acts or to implement EU legislation, programmes and policies.
A group can consist of individuals appointed in a personal capacity or to represent a State or a common interest shared by stakeholder organisations or organisations in the broad sense of the word (companies, associations, trade unions, universities).
These groups do not take any official decision but they may formulate opinions or recommendations that could be taken in consideration by the Commission during the legislative process. Nowadays there are more than 800 expert groups working in different fields of interest.

The main innovations of the Decisions:
- It becomes mandatory for Commission departments to select all members through public calls for applications;
- All possible efforts will be made to ensure balanced representation;
- The groups have to make available relevant documents;
- Improving of conflict of interest management;
- It becomes mandatory for experts to be registered in the Transparency Register;
- A better organisation of the Expert Group Register in order to bring more clarity and transparency.

Register of Commission expert groups


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