How vulnerable are the EU institutions to undue corporate influence, and what gaps exist in EU lobbying and ethics rules?
In a long standing lobbying battle on new EU regulation of hedge funds and equity funds, one of the defining moments was in May this year, when the European Parliament was to vote on its position. Shortly before the big day, MEPs received a letter signed by hundreds of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) begging them to work for a weak position of the parliament to ensure easy access for innovative SMEs to venture capital.
In this interview with Corporate Europe Observatory, MEP Carl Schlyter, member of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), reflects on one of the biggest lobbying battles in Brussels in recent years on food labelling regulation.
On the second day of the EU's Green Week, an action group took the stage during a session of the 2-day policy summit titled ‘Pricing the earth: How business can protect and profit from biodiversity’. The 'summit' was organised by Friends of Europe, a corporate-sponsored think tank. The activists spread a red banner reading ‘Green Week is as green as this banner’ and one listing the companies behind Friends of Europe, including BP, Dow, Areva and Coca Cola.
The US investment bank Goldman Sachs is earning a reputation as public enemy no. 1 in the financial world. At the same time the firm is one of the Commission’s favourites when it comes to asking for advice on regulating financial markets . It is high time for the Commission to close the door on Goldman Sachs, this article concludes.
This report from Corporate Europe Observatory presents 15 recent examples of governments using lobby consultancies to influence the EU institutions, including Belarus, Botswana, Ethiopia, Jersey, Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka. They all have hired “public affairs” firms in Brussels to try and boost their diplomacy work. Their motives differ, but include polishing their image, gaining political support, securing EU funding or preferential trade treatment, and blocking new EU regulations.
The new ALTER-EU report 'A captive Commission - the role of the financial industry in shaping EU regulation' can be found at: http://www.alter-eu.org/en/system/files/publications/CaptiveCommission.pdf Brussels, November 5, 2009 - The vast majority of financial ‘experts’ advising the European Commission represent the banks and investors responsible for the global economic crisis, according to a new report published today by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER EU) .
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