Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Commission sued for privileged access

Today, Corporate Europe Observatory launched a legal action, suing the EU’s executive in the EU General Court for withholding documents related to the EU’s free trade talks with India. The Commission is accused of discriminating in favour of corporate lobby groups and of violating the EU’s transparency rules.

The case concerns 17 documents including meeting reports, emails and a letter, which the Commission’s trade department (DG Trade) sent to industry associations including BusinessEurope and the Confederation of the European Food and Drink Industry (CIAA). While these corporate lobby groups received full versions of the documents, the Commission only released censored versions to Corporate Europe Observatory, arguing that full disclosure would undermine the EU’s international relations. The censored sections relate to allegedly sensitive information about priorities and strategies in the ongoing trade talks with Indiaincluding issues such as tariff cuts, services, investment and government procurement liberalisation and health standards.

What is at stake is whether the Commission can continue its practice of granting big business privileged access to its trade policy-making process by sharing information that is withheld from the public. This practice not only hampers well-informed and meaningful public participation in EU trade policy-making, it also leads toa trade policy that, while catering for big business needs, is harmful to people and the environment in the EU and the world.

Read the full article and one of the censored documents here:

 

Dangerous attacks against regulations protecting the public interest & the environment would not be prevented by the Commission’s investment protection proposals for future trade agreements.

Despite growing concerns among the European public, the new EU proposal on regulatory cooperation in TTIP does nothing to address the upcoming democratic threats.

The ''Trade Secrets Protection'' Directive due to be voted on by MEPs on April 14 would give companies new legal ammunition to prosecute journalists and news organisations publishing their documents and information.

45 groups denounce Commission proposal on regulatory cooperation

Story

A telling mistake

Ms Barbara Gallani, who will become EFSA's Director for Communications from 1 May was up until late March 2016 working for the largest lobby group for the food and drink industry in the UK, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

Corporate Europe Observatory is looking for an experienced campaigner to join our team and strengthen our work on exposing and challenging corporate lobbying capture of EU decision-making. Please respond before Wednesday May 18th 2016. The position is based in Brussels, in our office in the Mundo-B building in Brussels. Starting date July 1st 2016 (a later start date can be discussed).

You would be part of the 'lobbyocracy' team within CEO, covering issues including the corporate capture of advisory groups, lobbying secrecy, etc.

Splits occur within European Commission, as European Parliament, Ombudsman and NGOs increase the pressure for implementing UN rules for contacts with tobacco industry lobbyists.

The European Commission has shelved a legal opinion confirming that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) produced through gene-editing and other new techniques fall under EU GMO law, following pressure from the US government. A series of internal Commission documents obtained under freedom of information rules reveal intense lobbying by US representatives for the EU to disregard its GMO rules, which require safety testing and labelling.

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