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:

 

Over 450 public interest groups from across Europe and Canada today published an open letter urging legislators to vote against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). They joined forces to defend people and planet against the threats posed by the EU-Canada agreement.

Report

The great CETA swindle

The EU-Canada trade deal CETA continues to draw heavy criticism. Behind the PR attempts to sell it as a progressive agreement - including recent declarations designed to reassure critics and gain support for its ratification - CETA remains what it always has been: an attack on democracy, workers, and the environment. It would be a major mistake to ratify it.

There are many potential winners of the awards for the worst lobbyist on TTIP, probably the most corporate dominated trade negotiations in history.

Business lobby groups are pushing hard for investor-state dispute settlement in TTIP and similar trade deals. If successful, this would expand the ability of corporations to sue governments in response to policies that allegedly limit their profits. Especially laws to protect human health and the environment would be on the line.

In the last years, controversies around the financialisation of nature and the concept of natural capital have fuelled divisions within civil society.

Over 450 public interest groups from across Europe and Canada today published an open letter urging legislators to vote against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). They joined forces to defend people and planet against the threats posed by the EU-Canada agreement.

8 November 2016 saw the annual lobby fest between the Commission and BusinessEurope. Lasting for over seven hours, attracting four commissioners and the secretary-general, as well as 26 major corporate interests (who between them spend over €31,789,000 a year on EU lobbying), this is exclusive, privileged access at its most extreme.

New analysis of lobby meetings shows that EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and his colleague Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President for the Energy Union, have overwhelmingly met corporate lobbyists, rather than public interest groups.

The corporate lobby tour