Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

The Brussels Business – Who Runs the European Union?

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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.

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
 

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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.
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
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.

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