Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Corporate EUtopia - how new economic governance measures challenge democracy

The year 2011 may mark a watershed in the history of the European Union. Using the pretext of the “euro crisis”, the European Commission and the Council have put forward proposals to give the EU new powers to deal with core welfare issues, including social benefits and wages, under a new technocratic procedure – hard (if not impossible) to track, let alone influence by those who stand to lose out.

The proposals embody a corporate social and economic agenda which, if enacted, will constitute a “silent revolution” imposed from above, with no real democratic debate or popular participation.The proposed changes – which involve a series of proposed rules on ‘economic governance’ – have been welcomed by the EU’s key big business lobby groups, which see some of their traditional key lobby demands reflected in the changes.  There is an urgent need for a democratic debate throughout the EU, in particular on alternatives to the austere neoliberal model of ‘economic governance’ that is now being pushed by the Commission and the Council. And it will require a broad-based social struggle to make the alternatives a reality.

A lot has happened since this article was written in January. Though the basic analysis still holds, the update from late April 2011 that can be downloaded below, might be useful.

The full article in English or French and the update can be downloaded here:


LEt’s kick Big Oil and Gas out of EU and UN climate policy. sign the petition now!

CEO presents some first reflections on the UK's vote for Brexit.

The current struggle in France over labour law reforms is not just between the Government and trade unions – a European battle is waged. The attacks on social rights stem in no small part from the web of EU-rules dubbed 'economic governance', invented to impose austerity policies on member states.

This summer Greece's financial authorities fined 20 hedge funds for speculating against the Greek economy. Now, the main global lobby group for hedge funds is trying to tweak the EU's rules so they can have a free play in the future.

Civil society groups denounce the Commission's plan for a Capital Markets Union. No lesson has been learnt from the financial crisis, they say.
As world leaders prepare for COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco, this November, the oil and gas industry retains a firm grip on the UN climate talks and climate policy in general. It’s time to break free and reclaim power over climate policy.
The EU-Canada trade deal CETA continues to draw heavy criticism. Behind the PR attempts to sell it as a progressive agreement - including a recent declaration hammered out by Brussels and Ottawa - CETA remains what it always has been: an attack on democracy, workers, and the environment.
Corporations like Monsanto have limitless resources to buy political power through lobbying. This short guide, published at the occasion of the International Monsanto Tribunal in The Hague, exposes some of Monsanto’s key lobbying strategies and tools, illustrated with examples from different parts of the world.
How the agribusiness lobby has weakened the new EU air quality directive with serious consequences for health. An article written by Vincent Harmsen en Berna van Vilsteren and translated by Iris Maher.
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The corporate lobby tour