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.

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
While large energy companies are quick to spend heavily on lavish conferences, they are much less forthcoming when it comes to transparency of their lobby activities. This article looks at some of the most important energy companies lobbying the EU and tracks their disclosures in the EU’s voluntary lobby transparency register in 2013 and 2014.
Group aims to closely follow the developments on Better Regulation and the initiatives and actions from the Commission, Parliament and Member States in this area.
After many months of suspense, the European Commission annouced today that it was going to create a new "High Level Advisory Group of Eminent scientists" to replace the now defunct Chief Scientific Advisor to the President of the European Commission. Little is known yet about the proposal, but here are some comments.
CEO undertook a survey to try and establish which law firms and lobby consultancies were willing to be transparent about their lobbying on TTIP.
While large energy companies are quick to spend heavily on lavish conferences, they are much less forthcoming when it comes to transparency of their lobby activities. This article looks at some of the most important energy companies lobbying the EU and tracks their disclosures in the EU’s voluntary lobby transparency register in 2013 and 2014.
An investigation led by research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and journalist Stéphane Horel exposes corporate lobby groups mobilising to stop the EU taking action on hormone (endocrine) disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The report sheds light on how corporations and their lobby groups have used numerous tactics from the corporate lobbying playbook: scaremongering, evidence-discrediting, and delaying tactics as well as the ongoing TTIP negotiations as a leverage.
Group aims to closely follow the developments on Better Regulation and the initiatives and actions from the Commission, Parliament and Member States in this area.
Corporate Europe Observatory and Friends of the Earth Europe have today written to the Secretary General of the European Commission, Catherine Day, to complain about the industry domination of the European Science and Technology Network on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Extraction.

Alternative Trade Mandate

Corporate Europe Forum