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Take a virtual tour of the EU lobby world

Who influences decision-making in the European Union? And how? Welcome to the complex and often shady realm of corporate lobbying, which you can now tour from the comfort of your sofa. Or while queuing for frites. Or even on the go in Brussels, following the virtual route on foot!

Hosted by Counter Balance and based on Corporate Europe Observatory’s latest edition of the Brussels Lobby Planet guide, the new virtual lobby tour takes you straight to the heart of the ‘Brussels bubble’, which is home not only to the main EU institutions but also to a lobbying industry worth far beyond 1 billion euro a year.

Here, an estimated 25,000 lobbyists vie for the attention of politicians, try to undermine their opponents and push the interests of their - mostly corporate - employers.

Big business has the greatest financial firepower in the ‘Brussels bubble’, as well as the most staff and controversially high, privileged access to EU politicians and officials. All too often this means public interest policy-making loses out to policies prioritising private profits, as civil society groups find themselves with much smaller budgets, fewer staff and significantly less access to decision makers.

To keep the corporate lobbies in check, greater lobbying transparency and stricter rules are as important as public scrutiny. The new virtual lobby tour helps to inform people, raises awareness of corporate EU lobby actors, their tactics and targets, provides many examples and a dedicated section on the gas lobby.

Take the tour here now!

And for a complete guide on the world of lobbying in Brussels, get our Lobby Planet.

More about the civil society campaign for a better Transparency Register: www.alter-eu.org

 

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Stop ISDS campaign 2019

This year provides a rare opportunity to end some of the most outrageous rights enjoyed by big business: the investor-state dispute settlement system or ISDS. Under ISDS corporations and the rich have sued governments for billions of euros – for anything from introducing health warnings on cigarettes to banning dirty oil drilling. Campaigners and social movements are uniting in 2019 to put an end to this parallel justice system for big business.

Whenever a government passes a law which could potentially affect profits, the ISDS system enables companies to hit back with lawsuits for damages - often worth billions of euros. Under the ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) system, corporations have already sued countries for anything from introducing health warnings on cigarettes to placing a moratorium on fracking.

Coal garnered much media attention, thanks to the Polish Government and US President Trump’s support. But it was the gas industry that really stunk up the conference, its influence seeping into all corners of the negotiating halls. Luckily activists and communities were present to call industry out and demand real solutions.

Lobbying around the EU Copyright Directive has been intense: big-budget tech platforms led by Google as well as tech industry trade associations on one side, historically important collecting societies, the creative industries and publishers on the other. The interests and opinions of citizens have become sidelined in the resulting turmoil.

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