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The European Commission directorate-general at the heart of the 'cash for influence' claims by UK MP Jack Straw (TAXUD - taxation and customs union), has now released to Corporate Europe Observatory information showing its lobby contacts in 2013 with the now disgraced ex-minister. The documents illustrate how Straw tried to use his influential name and impressive CV to help open lobby doors. They also expose the loopholes in EU lobby rules.

Learn about the role corporate lobbies have in EU decision-making, how they manage to get what they want and how their activities affect citizens all over Europe.

The ESM, the euro area’s permanent bailout fund set up in 2012, is an international organization that operates behind closed doors, far from public scrutiny. The institution at the heart of EU loans to debt-ridden member states is doing its best to stave off any national influence over the conditions attached to its loans. In addition it is working closely with private consultancies, which appear to have conflicts of interest. However, the ESM is immune to democracy; we have no right to know what it is up to.
There is a major controversy running in the Czech Republic right now over who will become the country's candidate for the next European Commission. One of two candidates who have a chance is Pavel Telička. Telička is also the lead candidate for the European Parliament elections for the ANO Movement, the party of billionaire business tycoon Andrej Babis (often referred to as the Czech Berlusconi). Telička's candidacy has been criticised by other parties because he is a lobbyist. The country's Prime Minister Sobotka (of the social democratic ČSSD) has warned “this could be perceived as a strong conflict of interest”.

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The lobbying around the EU Copyright Directive has been intense: big-budget tech platforms under Google's leadership as well as tech trade associations on one side, historically important collecting societies, the creative industries and publishers on the other. The interests and opinions of citizens have become sidelined in the resulting turmoil.

Czech journalist and Corporate Europe Observatory board member Jakub Patočka explains what the rise of oligarchs and the demise of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe have to do with EU funding.

A seemingly innocent concept, the “innovation priniciple” has been invented by some of the dirtiest industries in Europe. They have carefully and strategically inserted it into the EU system, where it could have a significant impact on the shaping of new EU legislation or policies, and those under revision.

Climate change and biodiversity losses loom large on the list of global environmental concerns. Both UN processes for adressing these issues – the UNFCCC for climate change and the UN CBD for biodiversity – are closely followed by corporate lobbyists. Now the UN Biodiversity Convention finally features conflict of interest rules – a step still not matched by the UNFCCC.