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

 

New EU state aid rules a blow for UK nuclear energy plan – Greenpeace

Press release | April 9, 2014 at 12:39

Brussels – New rules on state aid adopted today by the European Commission will make it harder for the UK and other governments to subsidise nuclear energy projects like the new reactors at Hinkley Point, said Greenpeace.

Germany seizes Congolese wood in strongest EU action yet against illegal timber trade

Press release | November 27, 2013 at 11:00

Brussels/Berlin/Kinshasa – German authorities have seized two batches of illegal timber from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The seizure is the strongest case of enforcement of an EU law banning the trade in illegally sourced timber which...

EU seals bad deal to limit climate impact of cars

Press release | November 26, 2013 at 18:31

Brussels – Negotiators from the European Parliament, the Lithuanian EU presidency and the European Commission agreed today to further dilute the EU’s carbon emission standards for cars, after Germany managed to derail a previous compromise...

EU expresses strong support for Greenpeace activists and journalists detained...

Press release | October 23, 2013 at 18:55

UPDATED 8pm CET, including mention of new charges - Brussels/Strasbourg – The European Union has added its weight to the growing number of voices from around the world who have expressed their concern over the fate of twenty-eight Greenpeace...

EU presidency and Commission to raise issue of Greenpeace activists and journalists...

Press release | October 23, 2013 at 13:00

WHAT: The European Commission and the Lithuanian EU presidency will make a statement in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this (Wednesday) afternoon about the case of twenty-eight Greenpeace International activists and two freelance...

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