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: 
 
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 financial industry spends more than €120 million per year on lobbying in Brussels and employs more than 1.700 lobbyists to influence EU policy-making, according to a study published today

There has never been a more important time to ensure that the EU's top decision-makers are free from possible conflicts of interest.
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.
David Cameron's nomination of a revolving door ex-lobbyist, Jonathan Hopkin Hill, as EU commissioner is bad news for Jean-Claude Juncker's newly-stated commitment to lobby transparency.
Do you wonder which businesses are pushing most for the proposed EU-US trade deal TTIP? Or where they come from? And who has most access to EU negotiators? CEO’s at-a-glance info-graphics shine a light on the corporate lobby behind the TTIP talks.

Corporate Europe Forum