Over 1,100 candidate MEPs pledge to stand-up for citizens and democracy against excessive lobbying influence
PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY ALTER-EU
More than 1100 MEP candidates have pledged to “stand-up for citizens and democracy against the excessive lobbying influence of banks and big business”. 1 The 1100+ candidates are from parties across the political spectrum and from all 28 EU member states. The countries where most candidates have pledged are currently Germany (250+), Austria (150), Spain (100), Sweden (82), France (75), the UK (73), Finland (70), Belgium (65) and Italy (51). 2
The Politics for People campaign is run by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU), together with a broad coalition of civil society organisations from across Europe (including active partners across 19 EU member states)3
Max Bank, a campaigner with LobbyControl speaking on behalf of the Politics for People campaign said: “The large number of candidates supporting the Politics for People campaign reflects a growing concern about the role of industry lobbying in EU decision-making and the weak and poorly enforced transparency and ethics rules around lobbying. We hope the next European Parliament will be full of MEPs who will take serious action to stand-up for the interests of people, not corporate lobbyists”.
Earlier this month The Guardian newspaper and other media outlets across the EU reported on the problematic role of industry lobbying on EU law-making on roaming fees, energy policy, tobacco regulation, data privacy rules and consumer protection.
A recent report issued by the ALTER-EU coalition concludes that the Barroso-II Commission has failed to make meaningful progress on key issues such as lobby transparency, revolving doors, advisory groups and access to documents.
Meanwhile, a detailed briefing released last week by three civil society groups (who are also members of Politics for People), collates cases of potential conflicts of interest and breaches of ethics rules by former MEPs. These include one MEP who failed to disclose stock options worth several million euros, four who maintain side-jobs with large corporations and lobby groups, and one who submitted over 200 amendments handed to him by industry lobby groups. The lack of enforcement of the European Parliament's ethics rules leaves the integrity and the credibility of the parliament at risk.
- 1. The centrepiece of the campaign is an interactive website www.politicsforpeople.eu which any EU citizen can use to directly contact their European candidates and invite them to sign the pledge. The website features case studies explaining how excessive industry lobbying influence impacts upon the daily lives of ordinary EU citizens, as well as information about how MEPs can stand-up to it. There is also a YouTube channel with several campaign videos, including by MEPs.
- 2. On each country page on the Politics for People website, below the list of candidates, there are infographics showing the total number of candidates who have pledged and their party allegiance.
- 3. You can find a full list of participating groups here: http://politicsforpeople.eu/en/about-us/