Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

  • Dansk
  • NL
  • EN
  • FI
  • FR
  • DE
  • EL
  • IT
  • NO
  • PL
  • PT
  • RO
  • SL
  • ES
  • SV

Commission gives a warm welcome to unregistered lobbyists: Dalli not alone in ignoring transparency

Ex-Commissioner John Dalli knowingly met with lobbyists who were not registered in the European Commission and European Parliament’s Transparency Register. Lobbyists who choose to hide from the public who they're lobbying for, on what subject, or how much money they’re spending to influence public policy. Lobbyists who work in the shadows. Shocking? Yes, but it is a very common practice in the Commission to meet with unregistered lobbyists, a sure-fire indicator that despite what it says, the Commission is not really concerned about lobby transparency.

Dalli, defending the role of Maltese acquaintances acting as middlemen between himself and international organisations, admitted that they are not usually registered. But do other Commissioners meet with unregistered interest representatives?

Consider, for example, European Commission Vice-President, and Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Olli Rehn. 62% of the meetings that the Commissioner responsible for macroeconomic stability had between January 2011 to February 2012, were with unregistered bodies, including three meetings with unregistered global banking giant Goldman Sachs. Of the 34 organisations that Rehn reports having met, the overwhelming majority – 22 (65%) – were not registered in the Transparency Register.*

The Commission is convinced that there is no room for improvement in the transparency of its processes. At the dawn of Dalligate, a Commission spokesperson said “of course there are – following very clear practices and rules - contacts between stakeholders and Commissioners, that is normal practice”. And yet it is evident that these ‘very clear practices and rules’ do not include guidelines for Commissioners to refuse meeting unregistered lobbyists.

The inevitable conclusion is that whilst the Commission maintains that the events around the Dalli case (which, they say, is closed) show that the EU's anti-corruption system works”, the very opposite appears to be true. Dalligate is more than just a scandal about one Commissioner, one lobbyist and one tobacco company. Dalligate is a symptom of a wider problem.

* This is based on a list of Commissioner Rehn’s meetings between January 2011 and February 2012, released to CEO by the Commission in September 2012 . The organisations met by Rehn were then cross-referenced with the organisations listed in the Transparency Register (accessed 30 October 2012). It should be noted that there is some ambiguity as to what were meetings (which the content of this list is entitled), as in one place the Commission uses the label “Meeting or Received Letter”.

Dalli, defending the role of Maltese acquaintances acting as middlemen between himself and international organisations, admitted that they are not usually registered. But do other Commissioners meet with unregistered interest representatives?Consider, for example, European Commission Vice-President, and Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Olli Rehn. 62% of the meetings that the Commissioner responsible for macroeconomic stability had between January 2011 to February 2012, were with unregistered bodies, including three meetings with unregistered global banking giant Goldman Sachs. Of the 34 organisations that Rehn reports having met, the overwhelming majority – 22 (65%) – were not registered in the Transparency Register.*The Commission is convinced that there is no room for improvement in the transparency of its processes. At the dawn of Dalligate, a Commission spokesperson said “of course there are – following very clear practices and rules - contacts between stakeholders and Commissioners, that is normal practice”. And yet it is evident that these ‘very clear practices and rules’ do not include guidelines for Commissioners to refuse meeting unregistered lobbyists.The inevitable conclusion is that whilst the Commission maintains that the events around the Dalli case (which, they say, is closed) “show that the EU's anti-corruption system works”, the very opposite appears to be true. Dalligate is more than just a scandal about one Commissioner, one lobbyist and one tobacco company. Dalligate is a symptom of a wider problem.* This is based on a list of Commissioner Rehn’s meetings between January 2011 and February 2012, released to CEO by the Commission in September 2012 . The organisations met by Rehn were then cross-referenced with the organisations listed in the Transparency Register (accessed 30 October 2012). It should be noted that there is some ambiguity as to what were meetings (which the content of this list is entitled), as in one place the Commission uses the label “Meeting or Received Letter”.
 

Comments

Power corrupts, and as everyone knows, absolute power corrupts absolutely. The way things are going in Europe the European Commission is getting more powerful every day. No wonder that commissioners are delectable titbits for lobbyists.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

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

8 November 2016 saw the annual lobby fest between the Commission and BusinessEurope. Lasting for over seven hours, attracting four commissioners and the secretary-general, as well as 26 major corporate interests (who between them spend over €31,789,000 a year on EU lobbying), this is exclusive, privileged access at its most extreme.

After winning the Democracy for Sale Award as the worst corporate lobby actor on TTIP, the pesticide industry’s EU lobby group European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) announced they would transfer money to co-organiser Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO). CEO has so far not been able to register this transaction, but will of course return the money to ECPA if it ever arrives, as we never accept corporate funding.

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.
There are many potential winners of the awards for the worst lobbyist on TTIP, probably the most corporate dominated trade negotiations in history.

In the last years, controversies around the financialisation of nature and the concept of natural capital have fuelled divisions within civil society.

Over 450 public interest groups from across Europe and Canada today published an open letter urging legislators to vote against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). They joined forces to defend people and planet against the threats posed by the EU-Canada agreement.

8 November 2016 saw the annual lobby fest between the Commission and BusinessEurope. Lasting for over seven hours, attracting four commissioners and the secretary-general, as well as 26 major corporate interests (who between them spend over €31,789,000 a year on EU lobbying), this is exclusive, privileged access at its most extreme.

New analysis of lobby meetings shows that EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and his colleague Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President for the Energy Union, have overwhelmingly met corporate lobbyists, rather than public interest groups.

 
 
 
 
 
-- placeholder --
 
 
 

The corporate lobby tour