New STT head proposes overhauling lobbying regulation in Lithuania
Žydrūnas Bartkus, the new head of Lithuania's Special Investigation Service (STT), suggests overhauling the way lobbying is regulated in Lithuania. In his words, the country needs a special procedure for businessmen with specific interests to act only through lobbyists.
"We need to think this way. We should take all the latest lobbying cases, including the high-profile cases, and try to imagine how to regulate processes for businesses with specific interests regarding one or another law to be able to contact politicians only through lobbyists. And then we can also tighten lobbying activities, make lobbyists more transparent and register and declare their activity etc. I don’t say a businessman cannot communicate with a politician. They can. But if a businessman has an interest, they have to go through a lobbyist," Bartkus said in an interview with BNS Lithuania.
In his words, the existing regulation of lobbying activity does not produce wanted results even after the amendments to the law.
"We are talking about lobbyism and sometimes we hear statements that we finally have an amended Law on Lobbying Activities. We don’t' agree with that as the law does not change the situation in that area. We also hear proposals that the situation would change fundamentally if nongovernmental organization would be attributed to lobbyists. And I say that would not change the practical situation either," Bartkus says.
The Law on Lobbying Activities was last time amended in response to recommendations from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
There are now 65 registered lobbyists in Lithuania, figures from the Chief Official Ethics Commission show.