Friday

30th Oct 2020

Gas sector spends €100 million annually on lobbying EU

  • Gas lobbyists met with European Commission vice-president for energy union Maros Sefcovic (r) and climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete more than 460 times

The gas industry and its backers spent over €100 million in lobbying activities in Brussels in 2016, according to a new report by Corporate Europe Observatory, published on Tuesday (31 October).

The sector employs at least 1,000 lobbyists, and secured hundreds of meetings with the two EU commissioners with climate and energy in their portfolios.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Gas 'potentially has a bigger carbon footprint than oil and even coal' (Photo: Nord Stream)

According to the report, gas lobbyists met with European Commission vice-president for energy union Maros Sefcovic and climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete more than 460 times between November 2014 and August 2017 – on average three meetings a week.

"The EU has proven highly responsive to pressure from industry and member states, providing policies that give gas significant legislative, political, and financial support," said the report.

Corporate Europe Observatory is a Brussels-based civil society lobby group, with a focus on transparency and lobbying.

It said in its report that its estimates were probably on the low-end, because many companies and organisations lobbying on gas are not on the radar.

The EU's lobby register is not mandatory and contains self-reported data that is not independently double-checked.

"Without a legally-binding and fully-enforced transparency register that ensures accurate and detailed declarations of lobby spending and activities, it is impossible to be fully precise about the true firepower of the gas lobby," the report said.

The NGO also criticised the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSO-G), an organisation created by the EU in 2009.

It said that ENTSO-G representatives had tried to influence EU lawmaking through members of the European Parliament.

The organisation is also involved in the selection of so-called Projects of Common Interests, or PCIs.

Once categorised as PCI, an infrastructure project will receive easier treatment to get permits, and is eligible for EU funds.

Corporate Europe Observatory said that ENTSO-G is biased towards the gas industry.

The group also criticised the EU for going along with the gas lobby's narrative, which states that "gas is clean, gas is the natural partner of renewables, and gas offers a transition to a decarbonised world".

But while gas does emit less CO2 than coal or oil, the fossil fuel "potentially has a bigger carbon footprint than oil and even coal", the report said, because of methane leaks.

Methane is a greenhouse gas many times more dangerous than CO2 because it traps much more heat.

EU still giving gas projects 'fast-track' status

The European Commission published on Friday a list of projects of common interest, which receive preferential treatment. Environmental lobbyists accuse the Commission of trying to fool the public with number games.

News in Brief

  1. Polish government rows back on abortion ruling
  2. EU threatens legal action against Poland on rule of law
  3. 'Several dead' after earthquake hits Greece and Turkey
  4. Hungary faces EU court over asylum restrictions
  5. Polish PM urges end to abortion protests to 'protect elderly'
  6. EU to fund cross-border hospital transfers
  7. Some 140 migrants drown on way to Spanish islands
  8. EU central bank preparing new rescue measures

Rightwing MEPs bend to Saudi will after Khashoggi death

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed two years ago on 2 October. Since then, mainly centre-right, conservative and far-right MEPs have voted down any moves to restrict, limit or ban the sales of weapons to the Saudi regime.

EU parliament vows not to cave in to budget pressure

The parliament's majorty dismisses the German EU presidency's proposal on the rule of law conditionality, which has emerged as the main political obstacle to agree on the next long-term EU budget.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. Nice attack: EU urges world leaders to stop hate speech
  2. Europe is back in (partial) lockdown
  3. Gender equality still 60 years away, warns study
  4. I'm an 'election observer' - but what do we actually do?
  5. Deal in reach on linking EU funds to rule of law
  6. EU Commission's Covid-19 expert offers bleak outlook
  7. Belgium's collaboration with Sudan's secret service: my story
  8. What do ordinary Belarusians want from the EU?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us