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Stop ISDS campaign 2019

The UK government will shortly bring new EU rules on industrial espionage into law. But civil society is concerned that these new rules risk creating a chilling effect on future corporate whistle-blowers and those who report their stories.

91 per cent of meetings held by UK trade ministers (10/2016 - 06/2017) and 70 per cent of meetings held by UK Brexit ministers have been with business, too often big business, interests. This corporate bias in ministerial access is part of an ongoing trend.

In the run up to the UK referendum on EU membership on 23 June, Corporate Europe Observatory has tabled a series of freedom of information requests to find out how UK finance lobbies have been influencing the referendum negotiations and the Capital Markets Union. But the Brexit-Bremain referendum seems to be a freedom of information black hole.

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.

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New information shows the chilling scope of proposed EU rules on services (the ‘Bolkestein Directive’) that would give the Commission advance veto power over decisions taken by parliaments and city councils on a vast range of services, including everything from childcare, to energy, to water, and even sex work.

New documents increase concerns over the controversial reform to the Services Notification Procedure (“Bolkestein Directive”), which could radically expand EU Commission powers over national and municipal services regulation: 55 files obtained via access to documents requests show the heavy influence of big business lobbies over the proposal.

Member states play a hugely important role in EU decision-making, but too often they act as middlemen for corporate interests. This new report combines case studies, original research, and analysis to illustrate the depth of the problem - and what you can do about it.

There can be few more controversial clients for a lobbying consultancy than the regime of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. No surprises, then, that a Brussels-based lobbying firm has been less than forthcoming about its role. Corporate Europe Observatory lifts the lid on the company lobbying on behalf of this repressive regime.