Sunday

22nd Oct 2017

Industry lobbyists dominate EU commission meetings

  • Eighty percent of the some 7,800 organisations in the register have not declared any meetings (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The vast majority of meetings between lobbyists and senior EU commission staff are dominated by corporate interest.

Transparency International’s Brussels-based office on Wednesday (24 June) said three-quarters of the 4,318 meetings declared since December and June this year are with people from big companies like Google and lobby group BusinessEurope.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The insights are published on TI’s integrity platform and provide a detailed overview of who lobbied the most, on what issues, and with whom.

“There is a strong link between the amount of money you spend and the number of meetings you get,” said TI’s Daniel Freund in a statement.

Companies with big lobby budgets and with interest in energy, finance, and digital portfolios have much greater access when compared to civil society, he says.

Among them the top ten with the most declared meetings are Google and General Electric. Each spend some €3.5 million a year on lobbying.

BusinessEurope, which at 42 had the most meetings, spends around €4 million.

Exxon Mobil, Shell and Microsoft are also top spenders with around €4.5 to €5 million each. The European Chemical Industry Council spends over €10 million.

Along with BusinessEurope, Google, and General Electric, pressure groups like WWF and Greenpeace also rank in the top ten lobbyists who met with senior commission officials.

But unlike their corporate counterparts, their access is most often restricted to “large roundtable events with multiple participants.”

Meanwhile, only 18 percent of the declared meetings were held with NGOs, followed by 4 percent with think tanks, and two percent with local authorities.

Climate action and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Canete hosted the most lobbyist meetings, followed by the commission’s director-general of communications Robert Madelin, and then vice-president Frans Timmermans.

Out of the thousands of meetings held, some 487 dealt with climate energy, another 398 on jobs and growth, 366 on the digital economy, and 295 with financial markets.

The findings revealed that the commissioners in charge of jobs and growth (Jyrki Katainen), digital economy (Gunther Oettinger) and financial markets (Jonathan Hill), only met between 2 and 3 civil society lobbyists.

Legislative footprint

TI’s director in Brussels, Carl Dolan, says the commission’s transparency efforts need to broaden to include lower level officials like those working on the EU-US free trade negotiations.

The commission has been publishing meetings with lobby groups listed in the EU’s joint-transparency register since December. But the disclosure requirements only apply to one percent of the EU’s total staff like commissioners, cabinet, and director generals.

“Officials are lobbied at all levels and greater transparency is required to reassure the public about the integrity of EU policy-making,” said Dolan in a statement.

Eighty percent of the some 7,800 organisations in the register have not declared any meetings.

EU gives thumbs up to US data pact

Commission gives 'thumbs-up' to controversial Privacy Shield deal with US on data sharing after a year's operation - but notes room for improvement.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  3. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  4. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  6. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  10. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  11. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  12. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks