Tuesday

25th Sep 2018

EU expert groups dominated by corporate interest, say NGOs

  • Pro-transparency NGOs and trade unions want the commission to introduce new rules on expert groups (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

Pro-transparency groups and trade unions are urging the European Commission to scale back corporate influence on policy-making decisions.

On Monday (1 September), four organisations said the commission’s so-called expert groups are dominated by industry, which can have “a damaging impact on EU decisions".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Expert groups offer advice and opinions to commission officials drafting up new policies but many are said to neglect or under-represent the views of civil society.

The ETUC, which represents trade unions across the EU, the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), UNI Global Union, and Corporate Europe Observatory, say new rules are needed to address the compositional imbalance of expert group, the secrecy of decision-making, and the application process to participate in expert groups.

“Business interests have an undue influence over public policy making through the unbalanced composition of expert groups,” note the organisations.

Similar concerns were raised by over the summer by the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly.

In May, O’Reilly announced she would launch an investigation into the transparency and composition of expert groups.

She said groups needed “to be balanced and to work as transparently as possible".

The ETUC notes that industry experts account for more than 50 percent of some groups.

The European Parliament in 2012 agreed to unfreeze the budget for expert groups on condition that no stakeholder would have a majority position.

Over a dozen new expert groups have been formed since the parliament released the budget but NGOs say corporate interest continue to dominate.

The commission, for its part, says expert groups give it expertise in a diverse range of areas.

It says it has agreed to seek expert contributions from elsewhere and has reviewed the composition of many groups.

But it also points out groups would lose their purpose if they accommodated quotas for various points of views as demanded by the NGOs.

“Many of the present members would likely no longer participate because they could not see any reason for participating in a political debate,” a commission spokesperson told this website last year.

EU parliament will not budge on office expenses

Hungarian centre-right MEP Livia Jaroka sticks to earlier decision: documents related to the minor reform of the expenses system, requested by EUobserver, should remain secret.

Sefcovic launches bid to be EU Commission president

Europe must have a robust foreign policy and nurture high-tech industries, Slovak EU commissioner Maros Sefcovic has said in his bid to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the next EU commission president.

News in Brief

  1. ECB's Draghi set to clarify role in secretive G30 group
  2. Half of EU states at risk of missing recycling target
  3. Commission refers Poland to EU top court over rule of law
  4. Open Society Foundation takes Hungary to court
  5. EU court asked to rule on halting Brexit
  6. EU threatens Switzerland on stock trading
  7. Italy's new basic wage restricted to Italians
  8. UK tycoon offers to create pro-Brexit party

Sefcovic launches bid to be EU Commission president

Europe must have a robust foreign policy and nurture high-tech industries, Slovak EU commissioner Maros Sefcovic has said in his bid to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the next EU commission president.

'Every group split' ahead of EU copyright vote

Political groups in the European Parliament are split about how to vote for a directive that would reform the EU's copyright regime - amid warnings that freedom of expression and creators' rights are at risk.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  2. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  3. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  4. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  5. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  6. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  7. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  8. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us