Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

The Brussels Business – Who Runs the European Union?

The Brussels Business - Who Runs the European Union? - which puts the spotlight on the power of the lobbying industry in Brussels - is to have its Belgian Premiere at the Millenium Documentary Film Festival in Brussels on Thursday 19 April 2012. Corporate Europe Observatory was approached by the filmmakers at the start of their project and our early work features prominently in the film, which tells the story of how industry lobby groups heavily influenced the EU's development from the 1980s onwards.

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Since that time, the presence of industry lobbyists in Brussels has grown – as has their influence and the corporate agenda is clearly visible in the EU's policies – including in its response to the crisis. This year, CEO celebrates its 15th birthday – and in May this year we will be marking the event with a conference that highlights the corporate influence on the current crises facing the European Union.

Here’s how the film-makers introduce “The Brus$els Business” movie:

“In the early 1990s two young men come across the huge influence of lobbying on the EU decision-making in Brussels. One starts to investigate and fight it and becomes the EU’s leading lobby-watchdog, the other becomes a high profile lobbyist for 40 multinational companies.

The film dives into the shadowy world of lobbying, the secretive networks of power and big business influence on EU-policy-making in Brussels. It tells the non-official version of the European Integration since the 1980s, the story of the neoliberal take-over in European politics.

At a time when Europe is facing a deep crisis that can bring the world economy to collapse this film tries to answer one question millions of people ask themselves: Who runs the European Union?”

You can find more information about the “The Brus$els Business” on the website and more information about the Millenium Documentary Film Festival here.

The movie will enter cinemas in other countries over the coming months, while the TV version will be showed on ARTE, Belgian, German and Austria TV in the autumn. 

Further reading

“The Brus$els Business” features a number of important cases of industry influence over the last 15-20 years which Corporate Europe Observatory has researched and documented. Here’s a selection of recommended reading:

Since that time, the presence of industry lobbyists in Brussels has grown – as has their influence and the corporate agenda is clearly visible in the EU's policies – including in its response to the crisis. This year, CEO celebrates its 15th birthday – and in May this year we will be marking the event with a conference that highlights the corporate influence on the current crises facing the European Union.Here’s how the film-makers introduce “The Brus$els Business” movie:“In the early 1990s two young men come across the huge influence of lobbying on the EU decision-making in Brussels. One starts to investigate and fight it and becomes the EU’s leading lobby-watchdog, the other becomes a high profile lobbyist for 40 multinational companies.The film dives into the shadowy world of lobbying, the secretive networks of power and big business influence on EU-policy-making in Brussels. It tells the non-official version of the European Integration since the 1980s, the story of the neoliberal take-over in European politics.At a time when Europe is facing a deep crisis that can bring the world economy to collapse this film tries to answer one question millions of people ask themselves: Who runs the European Union?”You can find more information about the “The Brus$els Business” on the website and more information about the Millenium Documentary Film Festival here.The movie will enter cinemas in other countries over the coming months, while the TV version will be showed on ARTE, Belgian, German and Austria TV in the autumn. Further reading“The Brus$els Business” features a number of important cases of industry influence over the last 15-20 years which Corporate Europe Observatory has researched and documented. Here’s a selection of recommended reading:Europe, Inc – Regional and Global Restructuring and the Rise of Corporate Power", 2000, Pluto Press, London. Three chapters can be read on line:Writing the Script: The European Roundtable of IndustrialistsPolishing the EMU: The Association for the Monetary Union of EuropeDoing Business in Amsterdam: The ERT, UNICE and the Treaty of Amsterdam“MAIGALOMANIA! Citizens and the Environment Sacrificed to Corporate Investment Agenda”, report on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), February 1998.“WTO Millennium Bug: TNC Control Over Global Trade Politics”, report about the proposed Millennium Round of negotiations in the World Trade Organisation, July 1999.“Would you bank on them?”, report about industry capture of the high-level EU advisory group on the financial crisis, February 2009
 
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.
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.
There has never been a more important time to ensure that the EU's top decision-makers are free from possible conflicts of interest.
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.
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.

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