Representatives of large companies have a dominant influence on decisions by EU governments and ministers. This is the conclusion of the report “Captured states: when EU governments are a channel for corporate interests” published today by Corporate Europe Observatory. The non-governmental organisation analysed the meetings with lobbyists of the permanent representations of Ireland, the Netherlands and Romania. The Permanent Representation of Germany and other member states do not provide any transparency about their lobby meetings. In addition, special lobby forums give large corporations privileged access to representatives of national governments.
Last Thursday (31 January), the European Parliament adopted for the first time binding rules for greater lobby transparency. The Council is the only one of the 3 EU-institutions to have no binding lobby rules at all. Next week (13 February) the EU institutions will again negotiate for a stronger EU transparency register for lobbyists. The Council is only prepared to adopt weak, voluntary rules. Only every 13 years, around the Council Presidency, should the head of a Permanent Representation avoid meetings with lobbyists not listed in the transparency register. The German and other governments had actively prevented stronger rules in the Council.
Sven Giegold, the European Parliament’s rapporteur for transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions, comments:
“Lobbying must finally become transparent in all EU institutions. The representatives of EU governments in Brussels are unbearably less transparent than MEPs and EU Commissioners. The governments in the Council must no longer undermine the transparency rules in Parliament and the EU Commission. With industry lobbyists as frequent visitors of EU government representatives, the common good is at a disadvantage. Large companies must not misuse government representatives as lobbyists for their special interests. Transparency is needed to contain the dominance of the financially strongest interests. The Council must finally allow its own rules for lobby transparency. The German and other blocking governments must allow citizens to know who their representatives meet in Brussels and publicly list the lobby meetings of the Permanent Representation. The lobby transparency of the German embassy to the EU should follow the good example of the Dutch, Irish and Romanian representations. Transparent decisions are good for the common good, good for more confidence in EU policy and the best remedy against populism”.
Link to the study: “Captured states: when EU governments are a channel for corporate interests”: