Infographic titled: "Amazon's lobby expenses in Brussels". The image shows the date 2013, a little pile of coins representing 450.000 euros and an arrow pointing at a much higher pile of coins which represents 2.750.000 euros - the lobby spending for 2022. The image features the logo of CEO, SOMO and LobbyControl.

New research shows Amazon amping up EU lobbying

Brussels, 24 November 2023 - Amazon's operations in the EU have been incredibly lucrative for the company, at the expense of workers, small businesses, shoppers, and communities. On the occasion of a day of international strikes and actions organised by the Make Amazon Pay campaign, Corporate Europe Observatory, LobbyControl, and SOMO launched a new Amazon profile, uncovering the changing lobbying tactics adopted by Amazon. 


By looking at the company’s lobby declarations at the EU level, the publication reveal that in response to growing criticism, the company has increased its EU and national-level lobbying: 

  • The company spent €2,75 million lobbying the EU institutions in 2022: it’s the 14th biggest EU lobby spender for a single company;
  • Amazon spent a combined €3.6 million on lobbying in its two biggest EU markets, Germany and France; 
  • Amazon has vastly increased the number of lobby firms working on its behalf. In 2022 its 13 lobby firms accounted for a remarkable 77% of its total lobbying budget. Amazon has also ramped up its network of third parties, funding over 60 business associations, 15 think tanks and forums, and 1 NGO. Disclosure is incomplete as at least 2 think tanks funded by Amazon are not declared;
  • Moreover, to influence EU competition policy and merger decisions, Amazon is a client of key economic consultancies in Brussels, such as Charles River Associations and Compass Lexecon. Amazon also funds a key competition school, the Toulouse School of Economics (TSE);
  • The company is also investing more on branding and countering its negative image. In France it launched a public relations plan named ‘Ratatouille’ to improve the image of the company and the impact of its operations. In Germany and Austria, Amazon ran a TV advert worth €19 million, portraying itself as sustainable and a good employer.

Amazon appears acutely aware of the need for shoring up a good public image. Lobbying, building a network of third parties that echo its message and promoting a more positive brand via public relations campaigns are key parts of the company’s strategy to protect its power.

CEO, SOMO, and LobbyControl will file a complaint with the EU Transparency Secretariat to ensure that Amazon completes its lobby disclosure and clarifies its lobbying budget, which appears to be an under-estimate.

Bram Vranken, Corporate Europe Observatory researcher and campaigner, says:

 “As Amazon’s problematic business model is under pressure, the company has massively increased its lobby firepower. It has heavily invested in building a lobby echo chamber by funding think tanks and industry associations and hiring economic consultancies and lobby firms.

The mix of market and lobby power is a toxic mix for the democratic process. And we should make sure Amazon won’t derail attempts to hold it accountable for its abusive practices.”

Margarida Silva, SOMO researcher, adds: “There is an intimate connection between Amazon’s market power and its lobby power. The bigger Amazon gets, the more revenue it accrues which it can then divert into paying for expensive lobby and public relations campaigns. 

The workers, small businesses and communities impacted by Amazon’s power are unlikely to ever be able to spend the same amount of resources to influence political processes. This is a democratic problem.”

Max Bank, LobbyControl campaigner, concludes: “Amazon has massively extended its lobby network in Europe. The company has particularly increased its affiliations with think tanks and invested into public relations campaigns. It also has the capacity to influence the member state level. It is worrying to see the tech monopoly further increasing its lobby firepower in the EU.”


For more information, contact:

Bram Vranken, Corporate Europe Observatory researcher and campaigner:

Margarida Silva, SOMO researcher:

Max Bank, LobbyControl campaigner:

Notes to editor:

On November 24, 2023, Black Friday and through the weekend and Monday, Amazon will face strikes and protests in over 30 countries around the world in a massive day of action coordinated by the Make Amazon Pay campaign, a coalition of over 80 unions, civil society organisations, environmentalists and tax watchdogs.

  • In November 2023 LobbyControl published a legal opinion showing how the German competition authority can break up Amazon.
  • In June 2023, SOMO has published a report on Amazon’s monopoly power over third-party sellers in its marketplace in Europe.
  • CEO and LobbyControl have documented how economic consultancies are spamming DG Competition on behalf of their Big Tech clients.

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