European ombudsman opens case into fossil-fueled EU advisory group
Following a complaint from Corporate Europe Observatory and Food and Water Action Europe, the European Ombudsman has announced an inquiry into the European Commission's creation of the EU Energy Platform Advisory Group during the energy crisis response.
This inquiry is welcomed by CEO, who raised concerns about the group’s formation in October 2022 due to the extremely influential position it gave fossil fuel company members to steer Europe’s energy crisis response.
By launching the EU Energy Platform Advisory Group, the EU granted the fossil fuel lobby the driver's seat over Europe’s energy policies after the invasion of Ukraine and prolonged its dependency on fossil fuels at the expense of millions feeling the hit of a growing cost-of-living crisis. In fact, the Industry Advisory Group advised on many important energy crisis measures, including long-term oil and gas contracts and RepowerEU.
Martha Myers, Climate researcher and campaigner, Corporate Europe Observatory, welcomes the inquiry:
“It is excellent news that the European Ombudsman will investigate the creation of this fossil-fueled advisory group.
At a time when the European Commission should have been holding oil and gas companies accountable for fueling and profiteering from the energy crisis, instead, this ‘expert’ group put them in the driving seat to lead the EU’s response.
This represents a conflict of interest on a colossal scale. This group must be scrapped if we are to break Europe’s fossil fuel addiction, address energy poverty and limit further climate chaos.”
EU’s failure to protect people from corporate greed has fueled discontent across civil society. Responding to undue fossil fuel company influence in EU decision-making, over 100,000 signing a petition to kick big polluters out of politics, and 100 civil society & trade unions raised concern this October.
The inquiry will investigate how the Commission decided on the composition of the EU Energy Platform Advisory Group, and explore the choice to restrict group membership to companies - which is at odds with Commission rules on balanced representation in expert groups.
In early 2024, this influence will be investigated further during a European Parliamentary public hearing coordinated by the petitions committee at the request of the Fossil Free Politics coalition.