The Lithuanian parliament on Thursday postponed the adoption of a new law on lobbying activities after the Foreign Ministry said that the version of the legislation proposed by the Seimas Committee on State Administration and Local Authorities was not in line with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's recommendations for transparency in lobbying, the head of the committee said.
The Lithuanian parliament
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

"The item was removed from the agenda following the Foreign Ministry's comments that the amendments approved by the committee ran counter to the OECD recommendations," Povilas Urbsys told BNS.

"The recommendation is that the provisions of this law should apply to non-governmental organizations. The committee's position is that NGOs should not be equated with lobbying organizations, because they (NGOs) represent the public interest at the non-governmental level," he said.

According to the chairman, the committee will ask the Foreign Ministry to provide information as to how lobbying activities are regulated in OECD member countries and if the non-governmental sector falls within the scope of lobbying regulation.

The OECD Council recommends that countries should clearly define the terms 'lobbying' and 'lobbyist' in their lobbying legislation and that rules and guidelines "should primarily target those who receive compensation for carrying out lobbying activities," but "definition of lobbying activities should also be considered more broadly and inclusively to provide a level playing field for interest groups, whether business or not-for- profit entities, which aim to influence public decisions".

Under the new law on lobbying activities, which the parliament had planned to pass on Thursday, lobbyists would also have to be registered by associations aiming to influence legislation. However, unlike in an earlier version of the document, the non-governmental sector is not subjected to the regulation.

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