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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.
Today, as governments meet in Geneva to negotiate a proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), Corporate Europe Observatory, together with 340 other organizations representing hundreds of millions of people from nearly every country, called on governments to abandon the talks. Among the endorsers were 42 major international and regional networks, such as Public Services International (PSI), UNI Global Union, the European Federation of Public Services Unions (EPSU), the IndustriALL Global Union, the International Union of Food and Allied Workers (IUF) and the European Attac network.

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The plastics industry mounted a significant lobby campaign to influence the European Commission’s recent Plastics Strategy. Industry is now seeking to unpick or undermine key elements of the strategy through lacklustre or non-existing voluntary commitments, or outright opposition. With the Commission likely to publish its proposal to tackle single-use plastic products any day, will it adopt an ambitious approach towards binding regulations on industry?

Following the Cambridge Analytica affair and the massive leak of 87 million people’s data revealed earlier this year, Facebook is facing unprecedented scrutiny of its business model. Regulators must stop treating the social media giant as a trusted partner and better protecting EU citizens' digital rights.

In May 2017, the global biotech and seed industry lobby groups landed in Budapest for their annual congress. They launched a joint campaign with one key goal: to get governments worldwide to adopt a zero-regulation approach to new genetic modification (GM) techniques, often termed gene-editing techniques. The seed industry magazine SeedWorld stated that the timing of this international campaign is critical “as policymakers and governments around the world discuss plant breeding innovations, and if and how they should be regulated”.

Thanks to bottom-up pressure the European Union stepped back from supporting Trump and his big polluters’ agenda, but fell short of backing calls for a conflict of interest policy at the UN climate talks.