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

 

Bratušek links energy union portfolio to climate policy but struggles to impress

Press release | October 6, 2014 at 17:25

Brussels – As parliamentary hearings for the Juncker Commission enter their second week, Commissioner-designate Alenka Bratušek, aspiring vice-president for the energy union, was in the dock this afternoon. In her opening statement she outlined...

Cañete appointment undermined by conflict of interests and poor track record

Press release | October 1, 2014 at 20:29

Brussels – Commenting on today’s European Parliament hearing of candidate commissioner for climate and energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, Greenpeace EU director Jorgo Riss said: “Cañete clearly worked hard to present himself as the right man for the...

Commissioner Hearings 2014: Andriukaitis voices commitment to protect Europeans’...

Press release | September 30, 2014 at 12:32

Brussels - Commenting on today’s hearing of commissioner candidate for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, Marco Contiero, Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director said: “This wasn’t a bad performance. He showed his commitment to...

Environment and fisheries candidate Vella fails to convince

Press release | September 29, 2014 at 16:24

Brussels --- The first of the commissioners’ hearings scheduled over the next two weeks, Karmenu Vella’s performance today raised concerns about the ability of president Juncker’s Commission to play its institutional role of safeguarding...

Juncker makes controversial choices for Commission environment and energy portfolios

Press release | September 10, 2014 at 13:44

Brussels - Commenting on the choice of candidates for the new Commission led by incoming president Jean-Claude Juncker, Greenpeace EU managing director Mahi Sideridou said:

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