Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Lobbying for governments in Brussels

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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:
 
"There is de facto a systemic collusion between the Commission and business circles"
The way in which the Commission has appointed the head of its “in-house think-tank” has demonstrated its woefully inadequate conflict of interest assessment for new appointments, says Corporate Europe Observatory. The conflict of interest assessment applied to the former chief of the Lisbon Council, Ann Mettler as head of the new European Political Strategy Center (EPSC) does not appear to have explored her close cooperation with some of the biggest corporate players in the digital and technology market. In CEO's view, this casts serious doubts on the independence of the advice that is to be given to President Juncker and his college of commissioners.
In response to the criticism of the controversial investor rights in TTIP, a number of law firms recently founded a think tank designed to protect the current investment arbitration system: The European Federation for Investment Law and Arbitration (EFILA).
Regulatory cooperation could become the graveyard of public interest lawmaking.
"There is de facto a systemic collusion between the Commission and business circles"
The way in which the Commission has appointed the head of its “in-house think-tank” has demonstrated its woefully inadequate conflict of interest assessment for new appointments, says Corporate Europe Observatory. The conflict of interest assessment applied to the former chief of the Lisbon Council, Ann Mettler as head of the new European Political Strategy Center (EPSC) does not appear to have explored her close cooperation with some of the biggest corporate players in the digital and technology market. In CEO's view, this casts serious doubts on the independence of the advice that is to be given to President Juncker and his college of commissioners.
Civil society organisations denounce European Commission’s leaked proposal
On 17 April, Via Campesina, the D190-20 Alliance and Corporate Europe Observatory held a lobby tour around the Brussels European quarter, highlighting the corporate lobbies who are pushing an aggressive agenda around TTIP (the EU-US trade deal currently being negotiated). There was a particular emphasis on the impacts TTIP will have, if passed, for farmers' livelihoods, food standards, and for the way food is produced in the EU. The next negotiation round will take place on 20 April, this time in New York.

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