At the mid-way point of a week of trade talks between the EU and US, big business lobby groups are continuing to gain privileged access to negotiators.
Friends of the Earth Europe has learned today that the EU and US chief negotiators, as well as their respective negotiating teams, will attend a private reception in Brussels this evening hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce and attended by major European business lobby groups such as BusinessEurope. 
Friends of the Earth Europe has today criticized the close public ties between the European Commission and big business, as senior EU representatives were out in force for a conference of lobby group BusinessEurope.
EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso gave the opening speech at the BusinessEurope 'Industry Matters' event dedicated to industrial policy, energy and trade. Commissioners de Gucht, Tajani and Oettinger are also giving keynote speeches at the event.
Transparency campaigners cannot find a single area of "good progress" made by the review group to improve the EU's lobby register, according to a scorecard published today by The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU), which includes Friends of the Earth Europe. The scorecard assesses the outcome of the recent EU Transparency Register review process against ALTER-EU's own recommendations for reform. The assessment has been made after receiving leaked copies of the final outcome of the review process.
The second round of negotiations between the EU and the US on a transatlantic trade deal closed in Brussels today with the detailed content of the talks still being kept out of the public domain.
The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation in the EU, ALTER-EU  today handed-over a petition signed by more than 10,000 people urging Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to stand up for full transparency over lobby practices in the EU .
The delay to trade talks between the EU and US, which were due to start in Brussels today, must be used to address the risks a deal represents to people and the environment, says Friends of the Earth Europe.
The negotiations were put on hold on Friday evening when it was announced that the US delegation would not be travelling to Europe due to the current shutdown of parts of the US administration.
The new code of conduct for Members of the European Parliament is failing to prevent potential conflicts of interest in a number of specific cases, finds a new report released today. 
The European Commission has been found guilty of maladministration following a complaint by Friends of the Earth Europe in relation to the entries of oil companies Shell and BP in the European Union's lobby register. 
Over the next months, the European Commission and Parliament will review their voluntary joint Transparency Register that entered into force June 2011. The register continues to have a large number of shortcomings, due to its voluntary nature. Hundreds of companies, consultancies and law firms involved in EU lobbying remain unregistered.
Transparency about the free trips and hospitality MEPs receive could be a step closer if new ethics proposals are properly enforced.
A group of MEPs looking at the European Parliament's code of conduct has proposed ways to improve its implementation. The document, which has been made available online  today by Transparency International-EU, includes provisions and guidelines for the monitoring of gifts and invitations to events organised and financed by third parties which MEPs receive. The proposal will come into force as of July 1, 2013.