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European Commission’s drafting feedback tool a win for transparency

By Miriam Siers on 15-Jul-2016

The launch of the European Commission’s new public feedback tool is a much-needed step forward for transparency in the EU law-making process.

The tool, available here, was launched on 30 June and gives the public access to draft delegated and implementing acts. The public can also lodge feedback via the tool for four weeks after these acts are published on the site.

Previously, the commission’s draft documents have not been available to the public or the press until they are approved by the comitology process and passed into law. The only way for news outlets such as ICIS to see these draft documents, and therefore report on what options were being considered, was to rely on information leaks or journalist sources within the law-making process.

The news is also particularly relevant for the gas and electricity markets as new network codes go through the commission’s drafting process.

Most immediately, the network code on transmission tariffs for gas and the network code on incremental capacity in gas transmission systems are available on the website. The tariffs network code in particular has been the source of much controversy during the years of its creation. The European Commission in December last year revealed that it would be drafting its own network code on tariffs, after the law-making bodies involved in the process could not agree on a common draft to recommend to the commission.

The fact the commission’s draft network code is now available to the public to scrutinise via this website is a major milestone in the process.

No doubt the site will be a valuable source of information to the public and to the media as the various electricity codes also go through the commission’s drafting stages.