April 16th 2014International trade
At the end of March, the European Commission launched a public consultation over its plan to enshrine far-reaching rights for foreign investors in the EU-US trade deal currently being negotiated. In the face of fierce opposition to these investor super-rights, the Commission is trying to convince the public that these do not endanger democracy and public policy. See through the sweet-talk with Corporate Europe Observatory’s guide to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).
Despite a manifest presence of “the financial lobby” in the EU decision-making, until now there has been no comprehensive survey of its size and power in the EU. A new report by CEO, ÖGB Europabüro and AK EUROPA is intended to fill that void. The findings are stunning. In total the financial industry spends more than €120 million per year on lobbying in Brussels and employs more than 1700 lobbyists.
In the run-up to the European elections in late May, many members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will be considering their future careers. If experiences from the end of the previous parliamentary term in 2009 are any indication, many will be approached by lobby firms and industry groups hoping to entice them through the revolving door: the route from the European Parliament to Brussels' for-profit lobby circles is a well-trodden path.
March 19th 2014Climate and energy
They meet at birthday parties, over breakfast meetings, during cocktail receptions; so just how close are Europe’s dirtiest industries to senior politicians and regulators? And what influence is this lobbying having on the EU’s official climate change policy? These are the kind of questions we need to be asking as leaders from the 28 EU member states try to reach agreement on Europe’s climate targets for 2030. This scrutiny is particularly urgent because – as this privileged access might imply – these industries appear to have been extremely successful at watering down EU climate and energy legislation. Read the new briefing by CEO and Friends of the Earth Europe.
A discreet but important lobbying battle is currently being fought in Brussels over the labelling of nano ingredients in food products. A European Commission text would completely betray a 2011 regulation by only labelling new additives. The Parliament is attempting to block their text which waters down the label requirements, while the food additives industry is lobbying to stop the Parliament; the vote is 12 March.