Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Open letter to DG AGRI Commissioner Cioloș

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The position of Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission is problematic, concentrating too much influence in one person and undermining other Commission research and assessment processes. We ask Mr Juncker, the new President of the European Commission, to scrap the position.
The recent investigation into the European Commission's influential advisory groups announced by the European Ombudsman is very good news. This could provide the impetus to ensure that when the Commission comes to review the rules next year, it is the public interest rather than corporate interests that are at the heart of EU decision making.
Secretive lobbying, excessive corporate influence on EU decision-making and other concerns about the role of lobbying in Brussels have become a major theme in the European Parliament election debates in Austria, Denmark and Germany and – to a lesser extent – Spain, Italy and other European countries. In this first of a series of blogs we zoom in on the debates in Denmark and Austria.
There would be a public outcry if advisors to our national politicians or civil servants were recently convicted for illegal activity on the very topic they were advising on. Yet a new report by MEP Martin Ehrenhauser* shows how corporations that have been found guilty of or are under investigation for serious ethical, financial or environmental misconduct are actively advising the Commission.
There has never been a more important time to ensure that the EU's top decision-makers are free from possible conflicts of interest.
Scientific advice should be transparent, objective and independent, and there should be more science and more diverse expertise available to the European Commission’s President, a coalition of 28 international and national NGOs wrote in a letter addressed to President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker today (1).
A few observations on the debate sparked by our open letter on the position of Chief Scientific Advisor to the President of the European Commission, and on the need for proper scientific advice to EU legislators.
The position of Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission is problematic, concentrating too much influence in one person and undermining other Commission research and assessment processes. We ask Mr Juncker, the new President of the European Commission, to scrap the position.

Corporate Europe Forum