Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Commission gives a warm welcome to unregistered lobbyists: Dalli not alone in ignoring transparency

  • Dansk
  • Nederlands
  • English
  • Suomi
  • Français
  • Deutsch
  • Ελληνικά
  • Italiano
  • Bokmål
  • Polski
  • Portuguese
  • Română
  • Slovenščina
  • Español
  • Svenska

Ex-Commissioner John Dalli knowingly met with lobbyists who were not registered in the European Commission and European Parliament’s Transparency Register. Lobbyists who choose to hide from the public who they're lobbying for, on what subject, or how much money they’re spending to influence public policy. Lobbyists who work in the shadows. Shocking? Yes, but it is a very common practice in the Commission to meet with unregistered lobbyists, a sure-fire indicator that despite what it says, the Commission is not really concerned about lobby transparency.

Dalli, defending the role of Maltese acquaintances acting as middlemen between himself and international organisations, admitted that they are not usually registered. But do other Commissioners meet with unregistered interest representatives?

Consider, for example, European Commission Vice-President, and Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Olli Rehn. 62% of the meetings that the Commissioner responsible for macroeconomic stability had between January 2011 to February 2012, were with unregistered bodies, including three meetings with unregistered global banking giant Goldman Sachs. Of the 34 organisations that Rehn reports having met, the overwhelming majority – 22 (65%) – were not registered in the Transparency Register.*

The Commission is convinced that there is no room for improvement in the transparency of its processes. At the dawn of Dalligate, a Commission spokesperson said “of course there are – following very clear practices and rules - contacts between stakeholders and Commissioners, that is normal practice”. And yet it is evident that these ‘very clear practices and rules’ do not include guidelines for Commissioners to refuse meeting unregistered lobbyists.

The inevitable conclusion is that whilst the Commission maintains that the events around the Dalli case (which, they say, is closed) show that the EU's anti-corruption system works”, the very opposite appears to be true. Dalligate is more than just a scandal about one Commissioner, one lobbyist and one tobacco company. Dalligate is a symptom of a wider problem.

 

* This is based on a list of Commissioner Rehn’s meetings between January 2011 and February 2012, released to CEO by the Commission in September 2012 . The organisations met by Rehn were then cross-referenced with the organisations listed in the Transparency Register (accessed 30 October 2012). It should be noted that there is some ambiguity as to what were meetings (which the content of this list is entitled), as in one place the Commission uses the label “Meeting or Received Letter”.

Dalli, defending the role of Maltese acquaintances acting as middlemen between himself and international organisations, admitted that they are not usually registered. But do other Commissioners meet with unregistered interest representatives?Consider, for example, European Commission Vice-President, and Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Olli Rehn. 62% of the meetings that the Commissioner responsible for macroeconomic stability had between January 2011 to February 2012, were with unregistered bodies, including three meetings with unregistered global banking giant Goldman Sachs. Of the 34 organisations that Rehn reports having met, the overwhelming majority – 22 (65%) – were not registered in the Transparency Register.*The Commission is convinced that there is no room for improvement in the transparency of its processes. At the dawn of Dalligate, a Commission spokesperson said “of course there are – following very clear practices and rules - contacts between stakeholders and Commissioners, that is normal practice”. And yet it is evident that these ‘very clear practices and rules’ do not include guidelines for Commissioners to refuse meeting unregistered lobbyists.The inevitable conclusion is that whilst the Commission maintains that the events around the Dalli case (which, they say, is closed) “show that the EU's anti-corruption system works”, the very opposite appears to be true. Dalligate is more than just a scandal about one Commissioner, one lobbyist and one tobacco company. Dalligate is a symptom of a wider problem. * This is based on a list of Commissioner Rehn’s meetings between January 2011 and February 2012, released to CEO by the Commission in September 2012 . The organisations met by Rehn were then cross-referenced with the organisations listed in the Transparency Register (accessed 30 October 2012). It should be noted that there is some ambiguity as to what were meetings (which the content of this list is entitled), as in one place the Commission uses the label “Meeting or Received Letter”.
 

Comments

Power corrupts, and as everyone knows, absolute power corrupts absolutely. The way things are going in Europe the European Commission is getting more powerful every day. No wonder that commissioners are delectable titbits for lobbyists.

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Polluters in Peru blog

Comment

Les affaires au secret

Va-t-on assister à l'apparition d'un label « secrets des affaires » pour les entreprises, comparable au « secret défense » des états ? Ce dernier leur permet de s'opposer à la publication de certaines informations jugées trop sensibles, et de poursuivre en justice ceux qui se risqueraient à les publier sans son autorisation. L'utilisation possible de tels outils contre des lanceurs d'alerte, journalistes, syndicalistes... fait craindre une régression importante.
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.
A new leaked proposal from the transatlantic trade treaty negotiations (TTIP) shows the European Commission seemingly unstoppable in its drive to constrain regulations to protect the public interest – including potentially those made by regional authorities.
New research published today by ALTER-EU shows that too many major lobby organisations are not listed in the lobby transparency register despite being active in EU lobbying.
This short video about "regulatory cooperation" under TTIP, explains why it represents a threat to democracy.
Comment

Les affaires au secret

Va-t-on assister à l'apparition d'un label « secrets des affaires » pour les entreprises, comparable au « secret défense » des états ? Ce dernier leur permet de s'opposer à la publication de certaines informations jugées trop sensibles, et de poursuivre en justice ceux qui se risqueraient à les publier sans son autorisation. L'utilisation possible de tels outils contre des lanceurs d'alerte, journalistes, syndicalistes... fait craindre une régression importante.
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.
"The proposal fulfils the ambitions of some of the biggest business lobby groups" - CEO's Kenneth Haar

Alternative Trade Mandate

Corporate Europe Forum