Since the economic crisis hit Europe, international investors have begun suing EU countries struggling under austerity and recession for a loss of expected profits, using international trade and investment agreements. This is revealed by a new report released today by the Transnational Institute and Corporate Europe Observatory. The investors – and the lawyers involved – are scavenging for profits amidst crisis-hit nations, providing a salutary warning of the potential high costs of the proposed trade deal between the US and the EU, which start its fourth round of negotiations today in Brussels.
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.
European commissioners have been reminded by ALTER-EU coalition of the need to avoid conflicts of interest which undermine public trust in EU policy-making, as they near the end of their term in office.
March 7th 2014Agribusiness
With the end of this Parliament's term approaching – EU elections will take place in May this year – it seems that agrichemical corporations and their allies are using the few remaining voting opportunities left to have a couple of usefully-worded resolutions voted upon by this Parliament, which they know well and which has generally been rather supportive to their positions.
A trade deal between the EU and the US risks opening the backdoor for the expansion of fracking in Europe and the US, reveals a new report by Corporate Europe Observatory and other groups. As part of the deal currently being negotiated, energy companies could be allowed to take governments to private international tribunals if they attempt to regulate or ban fracking and the dangerous exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels. Campaigners are urging the EU not to include such rights in trade deals.
ICT companies, led by US digital giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, have been waging a ‘lobbying war’ to weaken the EU’s proposal for a new data protection directive, according to a documentary recently broadcast on Flemish public TV. The documentary exposed how Belgian MEP Louis Michel (who was the EU’s Commissioner for development from 2004 to 2009) submitted 229 amendments, of which over 100 were heavily inspired by corporate lobbyists. In the spotlight of the cameras, Michel felt obliged to withdraw over 80 of ‘his’ amendments before the vote.
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Open letter calling for rules to protect the integrity of climate policy-making from vested corporate interests
Over 75 organisations from across global civil society released a letter this morning calling on the United Nations and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to implement new rules to safeguard the global climate talks from the undue influence of the fossil fuel industry.
One of the last hot topics in the European Parliament before the 2014 elections is a new set of rules on seeds marketing. This text is extremely important for all players in the food chain: seed savers, farmers and the seed industry of course, but also environmentalists, consumers and the agro-industry at large. The European Parliament has appointed a rapporteur on the issue, Italian MEP Sergio Silvestris (EPP) who is now co-hosting a dinner event with the European Seed Association (ESA), the seed industry's lobby group in Brussels.
COP19, which followed the horror of typhoon Yolanda devastating the Philippines, is ignoring the crucial questions – how are we going to leave fossils fuel in the ground? How do we ensure a just transition? How do we make sure the North pays its climate debt to the South? The UNFCCC was meant to be the forum to discuss all this and find way forwards. However, lack of political will and the capitulation to corporate pressure is preventing this from happening.
Corporate Europe Observatory
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) is a research and campaign group working to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making.