Access without accountability

Lobbying of MEPs has increased since the the European Parliament gained new legislative powers with the adoption of the EU Lisbon Treaty

 

Over 15,000 professional lobbyists operate in Brussels, a large majority representing business interests. Yet ethics and transparency rules around lobbying are virtually non-existent. Beyond the problem of business spending ever increasing amounts to influence the political process, the European Commission has developed a tradition of awarding privileged access to corporate interests. The enormous influence of corporate lobbyists undermines democracy and all too frequently results in postponing, weakening or blocking urgently needed progress in EU social, environmental and consumer protections.

Greenpeace is an active member of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU), a coalition of over 160 civil society groups, trade unions, academics and public affairs firms campaigning for a minimum of:

EU lobbying disclosure legislation, which must include:
-A mandatory system of electronic registration and reporting for all lobbyists with a significant annual lobbying budget. The reports must be made available in a fully accessible database;

-Enforceable ethics rules for lobbyists, for instance prohibiting employment of officials or their relatives for lobbying purposes.

An improved code of conduct for European Commission officials, including:
-Recording of formal and informal meetings between Commission officials and lobbyists and logging of correspondence, to be made available in a fully searchable online database;

-An extended ‘cooling off’ period before Commissioners and senior officials can start working for lobby groups or lobbying advisory firms;

-The European Commission should encourage the other EU institutions, particularly the European Parliament and the European Council, to develop similar rules.

The Commission must terminate privileged access and undue influence granted to corporate lobbyists, for instance:

-Joint taskforces in which corporate interests are represented while public interest NGOs are not, such as Cars 21 which consists of Commission officials, CEOs and lobbyists from the automobile industry, but no environmental NGOs;

-The privileged status accorded to business lobby groups like the European Services Forum and the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue.

The latest updates

 

EU expresses strong support for Greenpeace activists and journalists detained...

Press release | October 23, 2013 at 18:55

UPDATED 8pm CET, including mention of new charges - Brussels/Strasbourg – The European Union has added its weight to the growing number of voices from around the world who have expressed their concern over the fate of twenty-eight Greenpeace...

EU presidency and Commission to raise case of Greenpeace activists and journalists...

Press release | October 23, 2013 at 13:00

WHAT: The European Commission and the Lithuanian EU presidency will make a statement in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this (Wednesday) afternoon about the case of twenty-eight Greenpeace International activists and two freelance...

Car efficiency vote stalls, again

Press release | October 4, 2013 at 15:55

Brussels – Germany has once again managed to postpone a deal on lowering the climate impact of Europe’s cars, in a move that Greenpeace says endangers the progress already made in tackling carbon dioxide emissions from passenger cars in Europe.

Reaction to Oettinger comment on nuclear state aid reported in Süddeutsche Zeitung

Press release | September 19, 2013 at 10:46

Brussels – German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung has reported statements by European energy commissioner Günther Oettinger suggesting to EU nuclear regulators earlier this year that state aid rules should be changed to allow public financing of...

German manoeuvring succeeds in blocking deal on EU car CO2 standards

Press release | June 27, 2013 at 15:41

Brussels - The German government has succeeded in delaying the approval of an EU agreement on CO2 emission standards for cars reached on Monday. Following the personal intervention of German chancellor Angela Merkel late on Wednesday night, a...

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