Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Commission sued for privileged access

Today, Corporate Europe Observatory launched a legal action, suing the EU’s executive in the EU General Court for withholding documents related to the EU’s free trade talks with India. The Commission is accused of discriminating in favour of corporate lobby groups and of violating the EU’s transparency rules.

The case concerns 17 documents including meeting reports, emails and a letter, which the Commission’s trade department (DG Trade) sent to industry associations including BusinessEurope and the Confederation of the European Food and Drink Industry (CIAA). While these corporate lobby groups received full versions of the documents, the Commission only released censored versions to Corporate Europe Observatory, arguing that full disclosure would undermine the EU’s international relations. The censored sections relate to allegedly sensitive information about priorities and strategies in the ongoing trade talks with Indiaincluding issues such as tariff cuts, services, investment and government procurement liberalisation and health standards.

What is at stake is whether the Commission can continue its practice of granting big business privileged access to its trade policy-making process by sharing information that is withheld from the public. This practice not only hampers well-informed and meaningful public participation in EU trade policy-making, it also leads toa trade policy that, while catering for big business needs, is harmful to people and the environment in the EU and the world.

Read the full article and one of the censored documents here:

 
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CETA is a sweeping trade deal restricting public policy options in areas as diverse as intellectual property rights, government procurement, food safety, financial regulation, the temporary movement of workers, domestic regulation and public services, to name just a few of the topics explored in this analysis.
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Ahead of the Commission's proposal for a new ‘mandatory’ lobby transparency register, CEO takes a look at the summary of the public consultation on the subject: civil society's call for better transparency systems faces the spin of corporate lobby groups and trade associations, which appear to promote transparency values but recommend limited implementation, loopholes and toothless management.

CEO's reaction to the the Bahamas leaks, which revealed ex-EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes' offshore links.

 
 
 
 
 
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