On February 17, the House of Representatives voted in favour of a long overdue bill regulating lobbying which will bring people one step closer to policymaking. In 2023, when the bill will come into effect, transparent lobbying will become the means by which social groups and socially responsible businesses will be able to communicate and influence decision-making actors in a more structured and transparent way.
Under the bill, meetings between state officials and lobbying actors will have to be made public along with information on what was discussed. State officials will only be allowed to meet with lobbyists within the lobbying register which will also enter into force next year. Anyone who fails to comply or violates the rules mapped out in the bill, will be subject to fines and jail time.
Lobbying is a critical and integral part of the democratic process which, for many years, remained in the shadows and was mostly happening behind closed doors in order to serve personal interests. This bill will establish what lobbying was supposed to be: a way for different interests to be voiced in an open-communication environment so that decision- making is shaped to serve people in the best way possible.
What this means: people’s fundamental right to be heard will be restored by establishing transparent communication channels between citizens and the government. Corruption will be battled effectively, and Cyprus will become one of the first countries within the European Union to recognise the importance of lobbying and the detrimental effect it can have if performed deceitfully.