Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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.

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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: 
 
The new European Parliament is only weeks old and already three ex-MEPs from perhaps its most important committee have taken a spin in the revolving door to join the private sector. It's clear that the code of conduct for MEPs needs urgent reform.
A leaked document shows the EU Commission is spearheading a campaign for the interests of the financial sector at the negotiations with the US on a free trade and investment agreement (TTIP).
According to a leaked document, the EU is bent on using the TTIP negotiations with the US to get an agreement on financial regulation that, according to this analysis by Kenneth Haar of CEO and Myriam Vander Stichele of The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) will weaken reform and control of the financial sector.
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.
The new European Parliament is only weeks old and already three ex-MEPs from perhaps its most important committee have taken a spin in the revolving door to join the private sector. It's clear that the code of conduct for MEPs needs urgent reform.
CEO submission to the European Ombudsman Consultation on the composition of Commission expert groups
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.

Corporate Europe Forum