Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Europe's resource grab – Vested interests at work in the European Parliament

On 30 June, the European Parliament’s industry, energy and research committee (ITRE) is due to vote on the EU’s Raw Materials Initiative, establishing guidelines for Europe's future policy on natural resource use. The Parliament’s report could effectively give the green light to mining in protected European nature reserves as well as a resource grab in Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Arctic.

The vote follows fierce calls from a number of MEPs with close links to industry for European big business to be allowed to exploit other countries’ raw materials without any restrictions – via trade, development and even military policies. MEPs have also tried to block strong language in the report on the need to stop corporate abuse in the extraction sector and to reduce Europe’s over-consumption of raw materials.

Several of the MEPs pushing this aggressive agenda are from the European People’s Party (EPP) and have close links to industry sectors which have a vested interest in the raw materials debate (Bendt Bendtsen – Denmark; Herbert Reul and Daniel Caspary – Germany).

Others such as Paul Rübig MEP (EPP, Austria) seem to have clear conflicts of interests. Rübig profits from companies which depend heavily on the access to cheap raw materials. He also has close connections with industry lobby groups which have tried to shape the EU’s Raw Materials Initiative. Nonetheless, Rübig is one of the lead persons in the debate in Parliament and has set up a cross-party group of MEPs, the European Raw Materials Group, which will follow the issue, working closely with a parallel industry group.

Another MEP who appears to have a distinct conflict of interest is Elmar Brok (EPP, Germany) who has argued for military backing for the EU's resource policy. Brok is employed by media giant Bertelsmann, the parent group of Arvato Services Technical Information, which sells IT services to clients in the military sector.

Following the Parliament’s cash for influence scandal earlier this year, when three MEPs were caught accepting cash in return for amending laws, MEPs lobbying links have been under close scrutiny. A parliamentary working group, chaired by the President of the Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, was established to develop a code of conduct for MEPs and is scheduled to conclude its deliberations this week. The findings of this report underline the importance of tackling the issue of conflicts of interest in the Parliament. In particular, it is vital that the new code of conduct for MEPs bans all second jobs that involve lobbying or which require an MEP to act in another's interests ie. by being a board member of a company. There also needs to be regulation of all cross-party groups, including MEP-industry forums.

Read the full report:

Attached files: 
The vote follows fierce calls from a number of MEPs with close links to industry for European big business to be allowed to exploit other countries’ raw materials without any restrictions – via trade, development and even military policies. MEPs have also tried to block strong language in the report on the need to stop corporate abuse in the extraction sector and to reduce Europe’s over-consumption of raw materials.Several of the MEPs pushing this aggressive agenda are from the European People’s Party (EPP) and have close links to industry sectors which have a vested interest in the raw materials debate (Bendt Bendtsen – Denmark; Herbert Reul and Daniel Caspary – Germany).Others such as Paul Rübig MEP (EPP, Austria) seem to have clear conflicts of interests. Rübig profits from companies which depend heavily on the access to cheap raw materials. He also has close connections with industry lobby groups which have tried to shape the EU’s Raw Materials Initiative. Nonetheless, Rübig is one of the lead persons in the debate in Parliament and has set up a cross-party group of MEPs, the European Raw Materials Group, which will follow the issue, working closely with a parallel industry group.Another MEP who appears to have a distinct conflict of interest is Elmar Brok (EPP, Germany) who has argued for military backing for the EU's resource policy. Brok is employed by media giant Bertelsmann, the parent group of Arvato Services Technical Information, which sells IT services to clients in the military sector.Following the Parliament’s cash for influence scandal earlier this year, when three MEPs were caught accepting cash in return for amending laws, MEPs lobbying links have been under close scrutiny. A parliamentary working group, chaired by the President of the Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, was established to develop a code of conduct for MEPs and is scheduled to conclude its deliberations this week. The findings of this report underline the importance of tackling the issue of conflicts of interest in the Parliament. In particular, it is vital that the new code of conduct for MEPs bans all second jobs that involve lobbying or which require an MEP to act in another's interests ie. by being a board member of a company. There also needs to be regulation of all cross-party groups, including MEP-industry forums.Read the full report:
 

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

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.

As the final days of COP22 approach, Corporate Europe Observatory, Corporate Accountability International, 350.org and AITEC have published further evidence of the close relationship between policy makers and Big Polluters in the EU. The central findings of the analysis are presented in three infographics.

As the investigation into the Dieselgate affair deepens both in VW’s home country Germany as well as at EU-level, the European Commission’s role in the scandal comes into focus. Corporate Europe Observatory recently obtained leaked documents which reveal the illegal attempt of the Commission’s enterprise department (DG Enterprise) to delay enforcement of EU emissions standards for diesel cars in a bid to help industry save money.

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.

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.

 
 
 
 
 
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The corporate lobby tour