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

 

Q&A - renewables mythbuster

Publication | January 21, 2014 at 8:30

On 22 January, the European Commission will release a package of proposals on climate and energy policy for the EU. Among the proposals, the Commission is expected to table targets for the EU to cut carbon emissions and to increase the share of...

MEP Arctic 30 Solidarity Statement

Publication | October 23, 2013 at 12:09

The European Parliament has called the charges against the Arctic 30 "disproportionate." It called on the Council and the European Commission to "take action to ensure the release of the detainees". Over one hundred MEPs from 21 countries and...

Green10 letter on Innovation in EU

Publication | October 17, 2013 at 15:22

A letter from the Green 10 to Mr Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and Mr Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

Briefing: Commission debate on State aid to nuclear

Publication | October 8, 2013 at 12:32

“The Commission should not issue guidelines for state aid to the nuclear sector; subsidising new nuclear plants creates unjustifiable market distortions and environmental risks. Furthermore, DG Competition lacks the experience and the knowledge...

Report: Silent Killers

Publication | June 11, 2013 at 20:24

A Greenpeace International report on the health effects of coal power

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