Brussels is at the centre of EU decision-making and as such attracts thousands of lobbyists, promoting the interests of big business. Easily outnumbering and outspending public interest groups, corporate lobbyists are also given privileged access by the European institutions. The emerging lobbycracy results in flawed policies that put commercial interests above those of people and the environment and undermines the very basis of democracy.
CEO has reported a lot about Dalligate, the tobacco cash-for-influence lobby scandal that led to the downfall, in mysterious and contested circumstances, of former health Commissioner John Dalli. One of the reasons Dalligate is such a juicy affair is that it starkly illustrates the problems with voluntary lobby transparency and with inadequate management of the conflicts of interest that arise from the revolving-door – public officials becoming big business lobbyists, and vice versa.
It seems like the Commission does not want the public to know about the recent progress it has made in stopping big business dominating its 'expert groups'. It has produced an update but won't make it public. However, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), on behalf of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU), has obtained a copy of the Commission's latest efforts. In short, the Commission has fallen well short of the promises of reform it made to Parliament.
The EU Ombudsman has launched an investigation into the European Commission's secrecy around 'Dalligate', the tobacco lobbying scandal that led to the forced resignation of health Commissioner John Dalli.
Corporate Europe Observatory
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) is a research and campaign group working to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making.