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This week marks the first round of negotiations for a far-reaching transatlantic trade deal. In the face of growing opposition to plans for expanded corporate powers in the proposed pact, the European Commission is trying to dispel concerns with propaganda. See through the rosy PR with Corporate Europe Observatory’s guide to investor-state dispute settlement.
 
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A far-reaching trade deal between the US and EU is to be negotiated, yet the European Commission has drawn a smokescreen over who is setting the agenda for its negotiating position. Amid concerns about the deal's social and environmental impacts, as well as what it will mean for democratic policy-making, Corporate Europe Observatory tried to find out what will be on the treaty table.
 
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The Parliamentary Question (PQ) was signed by Nessa Childers (S&D), Sven Giegold and Bas Eickhout (Greens), Sylvie Goulard (ALDE) and Monica Macovei (EPP).
 
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As the European Commission closes the application process for its new Tax Good Governance Platform in the midst of more scandalous news of offshore tax avoidance and evasion, it needs to learn from past mistakes and not allow the Platform to become a lobby tool of the financial industry.
 
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Not long after November's demonstration, EFSA took the initiative to organise a meeting in Brussels with the signatory organisations and the European Commission, in order to discuss the demands. This presented an interesting development in our dialogue with the EU institutions, which to date had seen then generally dismissing the very idea that there could be a problem in the EU food safety system. The meeting took place on 30 January.

However, while an unexpected dialogue may have been opened, problems with our food system and the way EFSA regulates it have far from disappeared:

 
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The European Commission promised MEPs in September 2012 that it would rebalance its advisory 'expert groups', putting an end to the dominance of big business interests. DG Enterprise even set a date: 31 January 2013. However, a short investigation by ALTER-EU shows the Commission has missed its deadline, and in some cases groups have become even more industry dominated. it's now down to MEPs to ensure the Commission produces more than empty promises.
 
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ALTER-EU presented its new report on the dominance of corporate lobbyists in DG Enterprise's expert groups at a packed event in the Residence Palace, Brussels, organised in partnership with the Austrian Trade Union Federation and the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour. Dennis de Jong MEP and Lluís Prats representing DG Enterprise, both speaking on the panel, said the Commission had sent a paper to the MEPs just a few hours earlier recognising 'industry over-representation' in 17 expert groups. We say action is still needed.
 
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The programme focuses on the sugar industry lobby, and the EFSA nutrition panel. This panel wrote in an opinion that there is no proven link between sugar and obesity. Something also claimed by the sugar industry.  

 
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Today groups have written to the European Parliament in anticipation of the vote on 10 May in plenary session on the EFSA 2010 budget. A letter signed by Corporate Europe Observatory, Earth Open Source, Testbiotech and Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) introduces a new briefing, focusing on the problematic links between EFSA panel members and the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), an industry lobby group.
 
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Once again, the issue of food labelling is on the table in the European Parliament, and is at the core of heated debate. EU Food Policy (issue 56 of 15 April 2011), reports that MEPs are furious about the food industry's lobbying attempts. Breaking all etiquette rules, leaflets were placed on MEPs desks urging them to vote agains certain amendments to the Food Information proposal. MEPs across the political spectrum have denounced the aggressive industry lobbying. The Environment Committee of the European Parliament is due to vote on the issue on Tuesday 19 April.

 
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A far-reaching trade deal between the US and EU is to be negotiated, yet the European Commission has drawn a smokescreen over who is setting the agenda for its negotiating position. Amid concerns about the deal's social and environmental impacts, as well as what it will mean for democratic policy-making, Corporate Europe Observatory tried to find out what will be on the treaty table.
The Parliamentary Question (PQ) was signed by Nessa Childers (S&D), Sven Giegold and Bas Eickhout (Greens), Sylvie Goulard (ALDE) and Monica Macovei (EPP).
As the European Commission closes the application process for its new Tax Good Governance Platform in the midst of more scandalous news of offshore tax avoidance and evasion, it needs to learn from past mistakes and not allow the Platform to become a lobby tool of the financial industry.
The European Commission promised MEPs in September 2012 that it would rebalance its advisory 'expert groups', putting an end to the dominance of big business interests. DG Enterprise even set a date: 31 January 2013. However, a short investigation by ALTER-EU shows the Commission has missed its deadline, and in some cases groups have become even more industry dominated. it's now down to MEPs to ensure the Commission produces more than empty promises.

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