Oettinger has a transparency problem

In November of last year, the European Commission loudly trumpeted a new-found commitment to transparency. In a press release, it said that from now on, all meetings between Commissioners, their team members (the “cabinet”) and interest representatives would be made public. I was always curious how well this promise would hold up in practice.

Not very well, it seems now. The meeting pages for the EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Günther Oettinger, look rather deserted. If the pages are to be believed, Oettinger last met anyone on February 20, while his cabinet members at least interacted with lobbyists until March 25.

Given that Oettinger appears to be alive and well, I am curious about what’s going on here. As a first step, I have informally contacted the Commission and requested that the pages be updated. If I don’t get a reply within the advertised three business days, I will file a request for access to documents.

Here’s my mail to the Commission:

Dear Madam, Sir,

on November 25, 2014, the Commission issued a press release [http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-2131_en.htm] announcing that all meetings by Commissioners and their cabinets would be made public on the Commission’s website.

It appears that in the case of Commissioner Oettinger, the EC has fallen behind somewhat on this commitment.

On the relevant web page, the latest meeting listed for Commissioner Oettinger took place on Feb. 20, 2015. The latest meeting listed for members of his cabinet was on March 25.

You will agree that this state of affairs is not satisfactory with regards to transparency. I would like to request that you provide me – and ideally my fellow citizens – with comprehensive information on the meetings held by Commissioner Oettinger after February 20, 2015, and those held by his cabinet members after March 25, 2015.

While I would be happy to receive this information by email, I would much prefer if the relevant web pages were simply updated to reflect the most recent meetings.

Thank you for your assistance.

With kind regards,
Karsten Gerloff