How vulnerable are the EU institutions to undue corporate influence, and what gaps exist in EU lobbying and ethics rules?
The Lisbon Treaty, introduced in 2009, substantially increased the Parliament’s legislative power, making MEPs even more attractive to consultancy firms. The Parliament can now accept, amend or reject the content of European legislation that affects every European – making its decision makers worth knowing.
Its new powers mean that greater scrutiny, transparency and accountability are required to minimize any potential conflict of interest and corruption.
Giving the European Commission a central and dominant role in EU economic governance, without proper democratic control neither at the European nor at the national level, would be a dream-come-true for industry hardliners BusinessEurope, but a disaster for Europe.
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.
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