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

 

MEPs bend but do not break under car lobby pressure

Press release | April 24, 2013 at 15:03

Brussels, 24 April 2013 – Members of the European Parliament’s environment committee have voted in favour of long-term targets to improve car fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions by 2025. But MEPs also voted to weaken the EU’s 2020 target...

Green paper kicks-off boxing match on Europe’s energy future

Press release | March 27, 2013 at 11:12

Brussels – Greenpeace welcomes the Commission’s decision to start defining Europe’s energy choices and climate action past 2020. However, given the Commission’s low objectives [1] regarding concrete numbers, Greenpeace urges EU governments to...

DR Congo logging

Press release | March 4, 2013 at 11:25

The Democratic Republic of Congo's logging sector is in a state of “organised chaos” according to a new report from Greenpeace Africa, threatening to cut off trading with the European Union (EU), the world’s largest timber market. A new...

EU deal could discourage oil drilling in Arctic waters

Press release | February 21, 2013 at 14:44

Brussels, 21 February 2013 – Greenpeace has welcomed a preliminary agreement between the European Parliament and the Council over an EU law on oil and gas offshore drilling. If confirmed, the law could limit or even prevent oil drilling under...

EU Ombudsman launches investigation into Commission’s alleged failure to curb...

Press release | February 14, 2013 at 10:30

Brussels - The European Ombudsman has launched an investigation into the European Commission's alleged failure to prevent conflicts of interest among staff as a result of the revolving door - where EU staff take up jobs with lobby firms and...

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