Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Lobbying for governments in Brussels

Lobbying for governments in Brussels: a lucrative business still under the radarThis report presents 15 recent examples of governments using lobby consultancies to influence the EU institutions, including Belarus, Botswana, Ethiopia, Jersey, Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka. They all have hired “public affairs” firms in Brussels to try and boost their diplomacy work. Their motives differ, but include polishing their image, gaining political support, securing EU funding or preferential trade treatment, and blocking new EU regulations.Fifteen examples of national governments using lobbyists to make their case in Brussels.
Lobbying for governments in Brussels: a lucrative business still under the radar
This report from Corporate Europe Observatory presents 15 recent examples of governments using lobby consultancies to influence the EU institutions, including Belarus, Botswana, Ethiopia, Jersey, Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka. They all have hired “public affairs” firms in Brussels to try and boost their diplomacy work. Their motives differ, but include polishing their image, gaining political support, securing EU funding or preferential trade treatment, and blocking new EU regulations. This report is probably the most comprehensive overview yet of this little-known part of Brussels lobbying, yet these examples are only the tip of the iceberg. Secrecy among both embassies and consultancies keeps much of this phenomenon out of public sight. Some of the consultancies are lobbying on behalf of governments which are directly or indirectly responsible for serious human rights violations. For instance Bell Pottinger has since 2005 lobbied the EU institutions on behalf of Sri Lanka, whose government is accused of systematic human rights violations. The consultancies lobbying for governments such as Belarus, Botswana, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan, appears not to screen the ethics of their clients. This makes the claims in the codes of conduct of lobbyists associations SEAP and EPACA of operating to the “highest ethical standards” seem rather hollow. Read the full report here:
 

CEO presents some first reflections on the UK's vote for Brexit.

Think tanks work all around the institutions of the European Union but how they work and who they work with is often less clear. Our new report offers a closer look at these supposedly impartial hubs of expertise and highlights how the think-tank status has become a convenient vehicle for corporate lobbying activities.

The European Commission proposal on scientific criteria defining endocrine disruptors (EDCs) is the latest dangerous outgrowth of a highly toxic debate. The chemical lobby, supported by certain Commission factions (notably DG SANTE and the Secretary-General) and some member states (UK and Germany), has put significant obstacles in the way of effective public health and environment regulation.

In the run up to the UK referendum on EU membership on 23 June, Corporate Europe Observatory has tabled a series of freedom of information requests to find out how UK finance lobbies have been influencing the referendum negotiations and the Capital Markets Union. But the Brexit-Bremain referendum seems to be a freedom of information black hole.

A few weeks after the May coup against Dilma Rousseff by conservative parties backed by the country's largest corporations, Brazil's “interim” government, led by Michel Temer, signed an emergency loan to the State of Rio de Janeiro to help finance infrastructure for the 2016 Olympics. The bailout was conditional to selling off the State's public water supply and sanitation company, the Companhia Estadual de Águas e Esgotos (Cedae). 

When we interviewed City Councillor and chair of Rio’s Special Committee on the Water Crisis Renato Cinco, in December 2015, he was already warning against such privatisation threats and provided important background information on the water situation in Rio.

José Manuel Barroso's move to Goldman Sachs has catapulted the EU’s revolving door problem onto the political agenda. It is symbolic of the excessive corporate influence at the highest levels of the EU.

Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth and LobbyControl today wrote to Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, calling on him to investigate Angelika Nieber MEP over a possible conflict of interest.

CEO presents some first reflections on the UK's vote for Brexit.

 
 
 
 
 
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The corporate lobby tour