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


Greenpeace comment on the release of the Irish EU presidency programme

Press release | January 9, 2013 at 15:15

The Irish government has released the detailed programme at the start of its six-month presidency of the European Union.

Irish government unveils ‘trio’ EU presidency programme

Press release | December 11, 2012 at 15:45

Brussels – Today the Irish government laid out plans for its presidency of the Council of the European Union, which is due to begin on 1 January 2013. Statements today by Irish Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) and foreign minister Eamon Gilmore...

Campaigners file Ombudsman complaint on European Commission’s failure to curb...

Press release | October 16, 2012 at 11:25

Brussels/Cologne/London - Lobby transparency campaigners have filed a complaint with the EU Ombudsman, raising concerns about the European Commission's failure to deal with the problem of Commission staff going through the ’revolving door‘ to...

EU wins Nobel Peace Prize

Press release | October 12, 2012 at 13:30

Brussels - Commenting on news that the European Union has today won the Nobel Peace Prize, Greenpeace EU director Jorgo Riss said:

Laws to fast-track major energy projects win support in Parliament committee

Press release | September 18, 2012 at 14:30

Draft EU legislation to speed up major energy infrastructure projects was voted through the European Parliament’s lead committee today.

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