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 Parliament rejects opportunity to clarify legal status of CETA

Press release | November 23, 2016 at 13:00

Brussels - The European Parliament has rejected a resolution to refer the controversial investment protection system under an EU-Canada trade deal to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

EU report shows it’s time to rethink trade deals that drive industrial farming

Press release | November 15, 2016 at 15:19

Brussels, 15 November 2016 – The EU should rethink international trade deals that drive industrial farming, said Greenpeace, following an EU report on the negative impacts of several trade agreements on European farmers [1].

EU and Canada sign doomed CETA trade deal

Press release | October 30, 2016 at 10:39

Brussels - The EU and Canada will today sign a controversial trade and investment protection agreement that could soon be consigned to the dustbin of history, warned Greenpeace.

Belgian agreement to trigger ECJ ruling on legality of CETA

Press release | October 27, 2016 at 16:30

Brussels – After ten days of frantic negotiations, Belgium is set to reach an internal political agreement on CETA, a controversial trade and investment protection deal between the EU and Canada. The Belgian agreement will now require the...

Controversial EU-Canada trade deal hangs by a thread

Press release | October 21, 2016 at 13:30

Brussels – The ratification of CETA, a controversial EU-Canada trade deal, has been thrown into disarray after EU heads of state and government could not agree to endorse it at a summit in Brussels.

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