Agribusiness lobbying in Brussels involves biotech, food, animal feed, agrofuel and pesticide producers targeting decision makers to weaken regulations or to get subsidies.
CEO’s work on agribusiness lobbying has focused on stopping the EU’s 10% agrofuel target, exposing lobbying by the food industry to weaken food labeling, and by the animal feed industry to weaken GMO rules, questioning the industry bias of EU food safety agency EFSA, and highlighting how private industry-NGO initiatives like the Round Table on Responsible Soy provide a greenwashing opportunity for the GMO industry. We have also filed a complaint with the European Ombudsman about the industry-dominated European Biofuels Technology Platform (EBFTP), which advises the European Commission on how to spend millions of research funding to further develop agrofuels.
The story of the Pioneer GM maize crop has culminated in the biggest controversy on genetic modification (GM) issues in years. On Tuesday 11 February a record number of 19 EU countries declared themselves to be opposed to Pioneer's GM maize being authorised for cultivation in the EU. This included the Netherlands, Romania and Ireland, all of whom were expected to either vote in favour or abstain just before the vote. Only five countries said they were in favour (among them the UK, Spain and Sweden) and the rest abstained.
On Friday 24 January, a group on agricultural groups and NGOs sent an open letter to DG Agriculture and Rural Affairs Commissioner, Dacian Cioloş, regarding the proposed reforms to the DG's advisory groups and the threat posed to them by the agribusiness lobby.
Compared to other DGs, AGRI was traditionally a particularly bad offender. Of the 30 advisory groups created by a 2004 Decision, which AGRI has promised to reform, 80 per cent of the members come from large farming organisations and the food industry (e.g. supermarkets, commodity traders etc.). Only 29 out of 943 places have gone to small-scale or organic farming interests, 38 to consumer groups and 36 to environmental groups, while COPA-COGECA, protecting the interests of Europe's industrial farming, has 442 seats.
Very soon, the ministers of all EU countries will decide whether Pioneer's GM maize (technical name 1507) will be allowed to be grown in Europe. We are calling on you to take action now!
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.