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

Lobbying warfare

Lobbying Warfare - the arms industry's role in building a military Europe maps out the key players in the defence and security lobby in Brussels, and highlights how the industry's close alliance with EU decision makers has contributed to the expansion of the EU's defence and security structures, and to the overall militarisation of EU foreign policy.

The activities of arms lobbyists rarely appear in the media, and when they do, it is often in connection with bribery, dubious export deals and corrupt government officials.

While the public image of arms lobbyists is generally defined by such scandals, there is a more mundane side to their activities which is no less disturbing. This is not only true at a national level, where arms companies have always had close ties with governments and defence departments, but also at the European level.

The arms industry has become an integral player in the European Union (EU), where military issues have become increasingly important. All the major arms companies have offices in Brussels, acting through a vast network of think tanks, clubs and informal circles, and their industry association is frequently consulted by EU officials.

Though arms industry lobbyists have long been active in Brussels due to the presence of NATO, the transformation of the EU into a powerful player in foreign, defence and security policies – in part due to successful lobbying by the arms industry – has increased the city’s attraction for lobbyists.

The companies’ activities, as far as they are covered in this report, are not illegal. Nevertheless, they give rise to serious questions about the EU policy-making process, with decisions made by a small elite of policy-makers and industry representatives, effectively hidden from public scrutiny. This system, which lacks transparency and public accountability, sits uncomfortably with the common understanding of how legitimate democratic decision making should work.

This close alliance between policy makers and industry has also contributed to a worrying expansion of the EU’s defence and security structures in terms of decision-making powers, staff and organisational capabilities, and to the overall militarisation of its foreign policy.

This report investigates the crucial role of big arms-producing corporations like EADS, Thales and BAE Systems in this process and exposes their symbiotic relationship with EU decision-makers. A relationship that serves as the foundation for the emerging military/security-industrial complex in Europe.

Also available in Dutch.

Attached files: 
The activities of arms lobbyists rarely appear in the media, and when they do, it is often in connection with bribery, dubious export deals and corrupt government officials.While the public image of arms lobbyists is generally defined by such scandals, there is a more mundane side to their activities which is no less disturbing. This is not only true at a national level, where arms companies have always had close ties with governments and defence departments, but also at the European level.The arms industry has become an integral player in the European Union (EU), where military issues have become increasingly important. All the major arms companies have offices in Brussels, acting through a vast network of think tanks, clubs and informal circles, and their industry association is frequently consulted by EU officials.Though arms industry lobbyists have long been active in Brussels due to the presence of NATO, the transformation of the EU into a powerful player in foreign, defence and security policies – in part due to successful lobbying by the arms industry – has increased the city’s attraction for lobbyists.The companies’ activities, as far as they are covered in this report, are not illegal. Nevertheless, they give rise to serious questions about the EU policy-making process, with decisions made by a small elite of policy-makers and industry representatives, effectively hidden from public scrutiny. This system, which lacks transparency and public accountability, sits uncomfortably with the common understanding of how legitimate democratic decision making should work.This close alliance between policy makers and industry has also contributed to a worrying expansion of the EU’s defence and security structures in terms of decision-making powers, staff and organisational capabilities, and to the overall militarisation of its foreign policy.This report investigates the crucial role of big arms-producing corporations like EADS, Thales and BAE Systems in this process and exposes their symbiotic relationship with EU decision-makers. A relationship that serves as the foundation for the emerging military/security-industrial complex in Europe.Also available in Dutch.
 

Ahead of the Commission's proposal for a new ‘mandatory’ lobby transparency register, CEO takes a look at the summary of the public consultation on the subject: civil society's call for better transparency systems faces the spin of corporate lobby groups and trade associations, which appear to promote transparency values but recommend limited implementation, loopholes and toothless management.

CEO's reaction to the the Bahamas leaks, which revealed ex-EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes' offshore links.

The European Commission's upcoming regulation proposal for acrylamide, a dangerous contaminant formed in many starchy foods when cooked at high temperatures, relies on codes of best practices developed by food industry lobby groups.

The Juncker Commission last week informed the European Ombudsman that it would refer Barroso’s appointment as chairman of Goldman Sachs to its Ad hoc Ethical Committee. But what is the Ad hoc Ethical Committee, who sits on it and what is it likely to say?

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) told CEO today, and publicly announced on their website, that they would disclose most of the raw data of studies on glyphosate used in the EU's toxicity assessment of glyphosate.
In an attempt to fix its public image, Dieselgate-shaken Volkswagen names former EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard as member of its new ‘Sustainability Council’. Although the role is unpaid, it is highly questionable whether Volkswagen is actually committed to making up for its previous foul play.
The Commission proposal for 'mandatory' transparency register is a disappointment. Its measures will do little to help journalists, civil society and citizens scrutinise the corporate lobbies trying to manipulate EU policies in their favour.
Corporate Europe Observatory is looking for an experienced, creative and dynamic outreach and mobilisation organiser to strengthen our visibility as well as public engagement with CEO's work in countries across Europe. The 13-month contract will run from 1 December 2016 to 31 December 2017.
 
 
 
 
 
-- placeholder --
 
 
 

The corporate lobby tour