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 court ruling on Singapore trade deal is victory for democracy

Press release | May 16, 2017 at 11:48

The European Court of Justice ruled today that the European Commission cannot conclude trade deals without the approval of EU national parliaments, when they contain investment dispute systems that supersede national courts.

Commission should stimulate public debate about trade after damning ECJ ruling,...

Press release | May 11, 2017 at 10:55

Brussels – The European Commission should foster public debate about alternatives to uncontrolled trade, following a damning ruling by the General Court of the EU on Wednesday, said Greenpeace.

EU at 60: Rome activists demand greener Europe

Press release | March 23, 2017 at 11:30

Rome/Brussels – As European leaders prepare to celebrate the foundation of the European Union in Rome 60 years ago, Greenpeace activists kicked off three days of public demonstrations and events by displaying a giant 100m2 banner from a piazza...

Activists keep justice afloat as CETA threatens to sink democracy

Press release | February 15, 2017 at 8:46

Strasbourg/Brussels – Eleven activists kept a sinking statue of lady justice afloat in the icy waters surrounding the European Parliament in Strasbourg, ahead of a crucial vote on a controversial EU-Canada trade and investment protection deal.

Commission revises EU decision-making rules in move to avoid blame

Press release | February 14, 2017 at 18:22

Brussels – Today the European Commission presented a proposal to revise the decision-making rules under the so-called “comitology” procedure that is used, among other things, for approvals of products such as pesticides and GMOs. The proposal...

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