Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Hunger brokers

The Commission recently put forward a proposal to curb the lethal volatility in food prices by addressing speculation. But preparations of new legislation have been dominated by the financial lobby, and they've had an impact. Effective measures seem far away.

Before taking office in early 2010, the Single Market Commissioner Michel Barnier told a cross interrogation in the European Parliament that in order to stop the 'scandalous speculation in agricultural commodities, 'we as responsible politicians have to regulate derivatives very carefully. Despite this, when the Commission presented its proposal in October 2011 for a review of the “Markets in Financial-Instruments Directive” (MiFID) the level of ambition was significantly lower than US law, and will not, as it stands, do much to address the lethal volatility of agricultural commodity prices.

Why are ambitions so low? A look at the way the proposal was prepared provides some indications. It reveals a long standing problem at the Commission: that regulatory reform is mainly dealt with through interactions with the financial sector. A tradition that is always exploited effectively by the financial lobby that commands tremendous resources.

Attached files: 
Murky channels for corporate influence in the European Parliament.
Civil society groups denounce the Commission's plan for a Capital Markets Union. No lesson has been learnt from the financial crisis, they say.
The investment bank Goldman Sachs has revised its registration in the EU's lobby transparency register and has substantially increased its declared lobby spend from the 2013 figure of less than €50,000 to €700,000-€799,999 for 2014. This compounds Corporate Europe Observatory's view that Goldman Sachs' original registration was not a full reflection of its EU lobbying activity. Yet despite this under-reporting, for five months the register secretariat took little action and Goldman Sachs was able to secure at least four meetings with top Commission officials.
LobbyControl, CEO and Friends of the Earth Europe have made a formal complaint to the EU lobby register about the entry of Goldman Sachs which the NGOs consider signficantly under-reports its lobby spend.

As environment and energy ministers prepare to meet in Paris for the COP 21 climate change talks, CEO takes a look at how the revolving door ensures that the EU institutions remain close to Big Energy.

Join AITEC, ATTAC France, Corporate Europe Observatory, l'Observatoire des Multinationales and the Transnational Institute for a guided 'lobby tour' of Paris's climate criminals, with a special focus on the ongoing UN climate talks in the French capital, COP21.

Conflicts of interest in the field of energy and climate policy are being ignored by EU institutions allowing some of the world’s biggest polluters to potentially benefit from the know-how and contact books of top Brussels insiders, according to a new report.


The Corporate Cookbook

You would be forgiven for believing that the corporate world has had a change of heart and is now sticking to a strictly climate-friendly diet. Embracing low-carbon natural gas, a global carbon price, ‘net-zero emissions by the end of the century’ or ‘climate-smart agriculture’ are top of the menu. But peel back the PR and you reveal a business-as-usual recipe guaranteed to cook the planet.

Capturing COP21 - Corporate influence and the UN climate summit in Paris

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