: Last Tuesday week, MEPs overwhelmingly voted in favour of public disclosure of the real owners of companies, trusts, and other businesses operating in the EU, aiming to curtail money laundering. How? Here's our step-by-step guide to European law-making.
There’s an old saying that the legislative process is a lot like making sausages – it’s confusing, messy, and you don’t really want to know how it’s done.
The European institutions in Brussels, the butcher shop in this case, decide how laws are drafted, changed, and combined to reach a final outcome. My colleagues and I followed this process, as European and national legislators debated revisions to European anti-money laundering rules.
In order for those negotiations to be successful, a majority of European governments need to be supportive of public registers for beneficial ownership. The UK and France have openly petitioned for public registers in the past, but other influential member states, like Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden, have argued for more ‘flexible’ approaches for member states to achieve beneficial ownership transparency. Given Germany’s voting cloud in Council, an agreement on the basis of the European Parliament’s proposal without a change in its government’s position seems difficult to achieve.
The big question that therefore remains is whether the sausage that the European Parliament has prepared will turn out to be a Berliner Currywurst too.
The big solution would be to "eat your own dog food". That is, for the civil society gathering the EU citizens to write themselves the law, and to let EU Parliament to vote it (or not), but without changing any word in the text.
This is what the Agile Democracy's principles aim for.